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Vegan Chickpea + Quinoa 'Meatballs' + Polenta

These Vegan Chickpea Meatballs made with quinoa, pecans and bbq sauce are delicious with creamy dairy-free polenta for a healthy weeknight dinner.
Course Main Course
Keyword chickpea, meatballs, quinoa, sweet, vegan, veggies
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea



  • 3 cups organic vegetable stock (You can also use water instead)
  • 1 cup organic polenta corn grits
  • 1 tsp finely-ground sea salt
  • 2 Tbsps vegan butter
  • 1 cup Dairy-free mozzarella style shreds (I love using So Delicious Dairy-Free)


  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (Cook according to packaging!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup vegan bread crumbs (See Notes for Homemade!)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 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!
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce, vegan-friendly (See Notes!)


  • Dried or fresh parsley leaves



  • Preheat the oven to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • 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. Remove each meatball and add them directly unto the baking sheet, spooning a generous amount of BBQ sauce atop each meatball. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until tender and BBQ sauce has been cooked unto meatballs. Remove from oven once done.


  • Bring 3 cups veggie stock and salt to a low boil in a large-size pot. Whisk in the polenta and cook 15-20 minutes until thickened. Stir in the butter and dairy-free mozzarella shreds until melted.
  • In serving bowls, spread the polenta into the bottoms of the bowls and top with meatballs and BBQ 'gravy' if desired. Sprinkle dried parsley (optional) atop meatballs and polenta and serve immediately.
  • Bon Appétit!


  • STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
  • HOMEMADE 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. DIRECTIONS: 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.
  • 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.