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Vegan Chickpea + Quinoa 'Meatballs' + Polenta

This Vegan Chickpea + Quinoa 'Meatballs' + Polenta recipe is truly something special. Loaded with savory, spicy and sweet flavors, these 'meatballs' made from veggies are moist, silky, and tender. This dish is the perfect meal for dinner for the family on any given day.
Course Main Course
Keyword chickpea, meatballs, quinoa, spicy, sweet, vegan, veggies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Author Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea


For Creamy Polenta:

  • 2 cups water OR organic veggie stock
  • 1 cup dry polenta grains
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (Use only a pinch of using veggie stock!)
  • 2 Tbsps vegan butter
  • 1 cup vegan 'cheese' shreds (I use So Delicious Shreds)

For 'Meatballs':

  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup vegan bread crumbs
  • flax 'egg' (See Notes)
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced small
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil, for cooking
  • diced parsley, for garnish
  • vegan parmesan, for garnish
  • Vegan Spicy BBQ sauce (See Notes)


  • Begin by cooking your polenta in a medium pot of boiling water OR veggie stock (for extra flavor), whisking continuously as it begins to boil. Add a pinch of sea salt and reduce heat to low and simmer (covering the pot with a lid) for 25-30 minutes, whisking every 10 minutes until fully cooked through and thickened. Once desired consistency is met, add vegan butter and vegan 'cheese' and whisk everything together until creamy and everything has melted. Remove from heat and set aside (still covered with lid).
  • Next, combine the quinoa, chickpeas, garlic cloves, nutritional yeast, flax 'egg', bread crumbs, smoked paprika, dried parsley, sea salt + black pepper in a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are processed and well combined. Now, form mixture into small to medium sized meatballs, rolling them up quickly with your hands to ensure that everything sticks together well. Repeat until all mixture is used.
  • Add 1 Tbsp of grapeseed oil to a skillet on medium-high heat and add meatballs to heat until a nice brown crust forms on the cooked side, turning them over until all sides are brown. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Carefully add the meatballs to baking sheet and cover each meatball with the Spicy BBQ sauce fully. Let 'meatballs' bake for 8-10 minutes or until sauce has become a glaze over them and it is no longer wet.
  • To assemble, add your cooked polenta to a bowl, then top with vegan 'meatballs' and garnish with parsley or vegan parmesan. Enjoy!
  • Bon Appetite!


Homemade Spicy BBQ Sauce: 15 oz. can of tomato sauce, 3/4 cups water, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsps sriracha sauce, 2 tsps ground mustard, 1/3 cup agave syrup, 2 Tbsps pure maple syrup, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes, and 1 tsp smoked paprika.
**Whip together: Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat and whisk together until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and let everything simmer for about 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Once thickened enough to desired consistency, remove from heat and let cool. Set aside until ready to use or store remainder in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.**
For Flax 'Egg': Combine 1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds + 3 Tbsps warm water and whisk until well combined. Let sit for 10 minutes.