Mom had her clever ways to disguise foods we did not like, including these “meatballs” made with chickpeas. Her reasoning was that chickpeas were just as full of protein as other more expensive foods. These are really fabulous on their own as a hot antipasto or served over a bed of cooked spinach for a filling but inexpensive light supper.
1 can chickpeas drained
1 small sweet red pepper, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 small zucchini, ends trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, scraped and chopped
1 leek (white part) cut into rings
1 clove garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons Filippo Berio olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
Fine sea salt to taste
Canola Oil for Frying
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for topping
Pulse the chickpeas in a food processor and transfer to a bowl. Set aside
Add the pepper, zucchini, carrot, leek and garlic to the food processor and pulse until the mixture looks minced.
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and stir in the minced vegetables; cook until softened. Cool about 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the chickpeas. Add the 1/2 cup grated cheese one egg and mix well. (If mixture seems dry, add an additional egg or some water or broth.)
With wet hands form 1 inch balls. Set aside.
Beat the remaining two eggs in a shallow bowl and place the bread crumbs in another shallow bowl.
Coat each ball in egg then in bread crumbs and place on a dish. When all the balls are coated, heat 4 cups of oil in a heavy duty pot or a deep fryer to 375°F.
Fry the balls a few at a time until golden brown and use a slotted spoon to transfer them to absorbent paper to drain. Serve warm.
This recipe is featured on show 2023 – Want Chickpeas?
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