Chickpea MeatballsClick to Play

Chickpea Meatballs

Mary Ann Esposito

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.

Serves 6


1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 small sweet red pepper, seeded 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
3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
Fine sea salt to taste

Canola Oil for Frying



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 o the bowl with the chickpeas. Add one egg and mix well. 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 2222 – Antipasto Favorites / Antipasti Favoriti.

item recipe is featured in Episode 2222 of Season 22.

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Leave a comment

  1. Georgia's avatar


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    When you mince the veggies in the food processor, there is a a great deal of liquid released. There should a step of squeezing the veggies in paper towels. Just squeezing against the side of the bowl released 2/3 cup of juice and the mixture was still too soft. I also made more of a pattie shape and dredged them in a little flour before the egg and breadcrumbs. Make sure to add enough salt and pepper. They are tasty and worth making.
  2. lucille's avatar


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    Georgia, thanks that is good to know, I am surprised that Maryann did not say anything about there being some liquid They really do look good, and I love chick peas
  3. LORI's avatar


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    has anyone tried to bake the chickpea meatballs?
  4. Lois's avatar


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    I'd like to make these meatballs without frying. Thought I try to bake them - - any suggestions on temp & duration? Any help would be appreciated. (due to health reason, my challenge is to cook Italian food without bread, pasta or frying!)........... any comments welcome.
  5. Dane Allen's avatar

    Dane Allen

    | Permalink
    I just tried this but I could not form balls since it was more like a batter , but I will not give up engineering a method to get mixture drier.. I put them in the hot oil in a pancake like form and tasty nonetheless, better tasting than meat
  6. Joanne's avatar


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    Perhaps some of the trouble with this batter was bc let the mixture wasn't rolled when chilled. The directions don't state to do this, but MaryAnn did say on the show that it should be cooled. It's good to do that with anything--meatballs, risotto balls for arancini, and this too. When cold, it holds together better that way. I don't see anything wrong with adding more breadcrumbs to the mixture too, not just to the outside. It looked like MaryAnn used more than a 14oz can of chick peas, so the directions might need to change it to TWO cans. These look good; my son is vegetarian and this might work for him!

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