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Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

Fans of spice, come and rejoice for this Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo, made with chickpeas, nuts, and quinoa!

Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

If you have ever had Jamaican curry, you know it’s spicy! Embrace the heat with my Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo, a tender vegan meatball mixture simmered in a sauce of hot peppers, veggie stock, garlic, and coconut milk. This is the meatiest vegan dish on Earth!

Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

New year, new vegan dishes!

I love making vegan meat alternatives. They are so simple to make at home! Instead of buying a frozen variety at the store, you can make it healthier in your own kitchen.

Meatballs are a flavorful and easy dish to make vegan. My Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo are made with chickpeas, quinoa, breadcrumbs, and pecans as a base. The sauce is a hot and spicy sauce consisting of scotch bonnet peppers, coconut milk, and tons of seasonings! You won’t want to miss out on this one!

Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

What is Jamaican Curry?

There is no singular recipe for Jamaican curry because all families have their own traditions. However, it is generally a mix of locally-found seasonings. You can find either store-bought mixes or you can season your curry on your own using a variety of flavorings.

Scotch bonnet peppers are found in many Jamaican dishes, so I had to include them in this sauce. They add a sweet-spicy kick, but watch out! These guys can get seriously spicy, especially for those with mild heat tolerance. However, the coconut milk in my curry cools down the dish just enough.

So yummy!

Why Do I Need to Burn the Curry?

Whenever using Jamaican curry powder, it’s important to burn the powder first to avoid digestive issues for some people because of it’s potency. In addition, the “burning” process releases better flavor + color.

 

Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

Ingredients in Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

For the Vegan Meatballs:

  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa 
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans 
  • 1/2 cup vegan breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • a teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt + black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, for cooking + 1 tablespoon

Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

For the Spicy Jamaican Curry Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (14 oz.) can full-fat coconut milk or cream
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-3 scotch bonnet peppers (You can also use habanero peppers)
  • 1-ounce ginger root, minced
  • 2 green onion stalks, lightly crushed or chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons organic vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon vegan soy sauce
  • 2½ tablespoons curry powder
  • 1-2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • a teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, optional

For the Orzo:

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 4 cups organic vegetable stock
  • 1 cup orzo
  • a teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

How to Make Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

To Make the Vegan Meatballs:

Start by adding onions and garlic cloves to a heated skillet (with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil) and sauté them until they are fragrant and translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside the skillet for later.

Add the cooked quinoa, pecans, and sautéed onions and garlic to a food processor and pulse for 1 minute or so. Add the chickpeas, nutritional yeast, olive oil, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, dried parsley, black pepper, sea salt, and bread crumbs, processing everything until it grounds into a thick mixture.

Using an ice cream scoop (or spoon), shape the mixture into individual balls (further rounding them with your hands). Repeat until all meatballs are created.

Reheat the previous skillet over medium-high heat (with all the bits left in it) and add additional olive oil if needed. Add meatballs to pan and sear until nicely golden on all sides.

To Burn the Curry Powder:

If using authentic Jamaican curry powder, it’s super important to first “burn” your powder. SEE NOTES FOR MORE.
 
In a large skillet (12-inch) over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and once fully heated, add curry powder. Stir curry powder in oil and let it sit until it becomes a dark brown and becomes fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

Cook the Meatballs in Curry Sauce:

Add the minced garlic, ginger, and bell peppers, sautéing until fragrant and golden. Add the allspice, salt, and black pepper, stirring until combined.

Pour in the coconut milk/cream, soy sauce, veggie stock, and hot sauce, stirring until combined. Let the mixture boil for a minute or so before adding the seared meatballs. Toss them in sauce, add in the scallion (green onion) and thyme sprigs and reduce heat to simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until sauce thickens and the meatballs are cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally.

Make the Orzo:

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water and veggie stock to a boil. Add the orzo and let it boil for 8-10 minutes or until the orzo slightly swells and is tender. Once done, drain, rinse, and season with salt + black pepper, to taste.

To serve, spoon the cooked orzo onto a plate and top with curry meatballs. Garnish with a bit of dried parsley and sprinkles of red pepper flakes, if desired.

Bon Appétit!

Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

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Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you make this Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo, tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea!

Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Serves: 4 servings
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Ingredients

VEGAN MEATBALLS:

  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (Cook according to packaging!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (See Notes!)
  • 1/2 cup vegan breadcrumbs (See Notes for Homemade!)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt + black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, for cooking + 1 Tbsp!

SPICY JAMAICAN CURRY SAUCE:

  • 2 Tbsps Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (14 oz.) can full-fat coconut milk or cream
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-3 scotch bonnet peppers, minced (You can also use habanero peppers)
  • 1 ounce ginger root, minced (That's about 1-2 Tbsps)
  • 2 green onion stalks, lightly crushed or chopped
  • 3-4 Tbsps organic vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp vegan soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 Tbsps curry powder
  • 1-2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce, optional

ORZO:

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 4 cups organic vegetable stock
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Instructions

TO MAKE THE VEGAN MEATBALLS:

  • Start by adding onions and garlic cloves to a heated skillet (with 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil) and sautéing them until they are fragrant and translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside skillet for later.
  • Add the cooked quinoa, pecans, and sautéed onions and garlic to a food processor and pulse for 1 minute or so. Add the chickpeas, nutritional yeast, olive oil, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, dried parsley, black pepper, sea salt, and bread crumbs, processing everything until it grounds into a thick mixture.
  • Using an ice cream scoop (or spoon), shape mixture into individual balls (further rounding them with your hands). Repeat until all meatballs are created.
  • Reheat previous skillet over medium-high heat (with all the bits left in it) and add additional olive oil if needed. Add meatballs to pan and sear until nicely golden on all sides.

BURN THE CURRY POWDER:

  • If using authentic Jamaican curry powder, it's super important to first "burn" your powder. SEE NOTES FOR MORE. If not using Jamaican curry, simply skip this step!
  • In a large skillet (12-inch) over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and once fully heated, add curry powder. Stir curry powder in oil and let it sit until it becomes a dark brown and becomes fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

COOK MEATBALLS IN CURRY SAUCE:

  • Add the minced garlic, ginger, scotch bonnet peppers, and bell peppers, sautéing until fragrant and golden. Add the allspice, salt, and black pepper, stirring until combined.
  • Pour in the coconut milk/cream, soy sauce, veggie stock, and hot sauce, stirring until combined. Let the mixture boil for a minute or so before adding the seared meatball. Toss them in sauce, add in the scallion (green onion) and thyme sprigs and reduce heat to simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until sauce thickens and the meatballs are cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally.

MAKE THE ORZO:

  • In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water and veggie stock to a boil. Add the orzo and let it boil for 8-10 minutes or until orzo slightly swells and is tender. Once done, drain, rinse, and season with salt + black pepper, to taste.
  • To serve, spoon cooked orzo in a plate and top with curry meatballs. Garnish with a bit of dried parsley and sprinkles of red pepper flakes, if desired.
  • Bon Appétit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
  • NUTS: You can also use walnuts instead of pecans for the homemade vegan meatballs.
  • HOMEMADE BREADCRUMBS: To make your own breadcrumbs, simply grind 1-2 cups of cubed bread into a food processor until finely chopped. Place crumbs onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread out evenly. Bake for 5-6 minutes in the oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally. Once brown + crisp, remove from oven and let cool. Continue recipe steps and store remaining breadcrumbs in a tightly sealed container. 
  • MEATBALL TIP: Sometimes the meatballs might be soft and fall part, therefore, I always try adding additional breadcrumbs until the mixture feels more "dry" in texture and stiff-like when rolled into a ball. In addition, I love adding them to a baking sheet (lined with parchment) and baking them (after the initial searing in the pan) for 10-15 minutes in 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven to create a more sturdy meatball. Then follow the remaining recipe steps.
  • BURNING THE CURRY POWDER:When using Jamaican curry powder, it's important to burn the powder first to avoid digestive issues for some people because of it's potency. In addition, the "burning" process releases better flavor + color.

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Spicy Curry Vegan Meatballs + Orzo

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  1. This recipe was OUTSTANDING!!!! It was so good I found myself going “yum” while eating it. Running over to Amazon to check out your book!

    • Hi Erin! OMG—-I’m so thrilled to hear that you enjoyed this recipe! It’s definitely one of my faves! Thanks so much for your support! Xx

  2. Sauce is incredible. Meatballs also great but mine fell apart / became soft when cooked in sauce. Any tips for next time?

    • Hi Melanie! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe. Definitely one of my faves! Awwww, I’m so sorry about the meatballs—-I definitely recommend adding a bit more breadcrumbs if needed to make the mixture a bit more ‘dry’ feel and stiff like. Also, I love baking my meatballs after pan-frying to create a better crust and stiffness, which I’ll add in the notes for anyone else with this problem! 🙂