Spanish chickpea balls

img_2886Difficulty:  Easy

Serves:  6 at home or 30 tastes in the kitchen

Fresh from the garden: coriander, garlic, lemon, parsley, silverbeet, tomato

Recipe source: Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation


  • metric measuring scales,
  • cups and spoons
  • non-slip mat
  • cook’s knife
  • chopping board
  • zester
  • bowls – 1 large, 1 small
  • fork
  • mortar and pestle
  • food processor
  • mixing spoon
  • large saucepan
  • 2 large frying pans
  • tongs
  • kitchen paper
  • serving platters

  • 720 g cooked chickpeas
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • zest of a lemon
  • 3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 small handful of parsley
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 tomatoes or 1 cup passata
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1½ cups Vegetable Stock
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 silverbeet leaves
  • 1 small handful of coriander
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
What to do

  • Set out your equipment and ingredients.

Make the chickpea balls

  • Dry roast the cumin seeds in a small frying pan until fragrant then tip into the mortar.  Dry roast the coriander seeds in a small frying pan until fragrant then tip into the mortar. Finely grind the spices with the pestle.
  • Peel and finely chop the garlic.
  • Zest the yellow rind from the lemon using a zester.
  • Finely chop the parsley and set aside.
  • Mince the chickpeas with the mortar and pestle or in the food processor until soft, but with chunks.
  • Put the minced chickpeas, garlic, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, spices, parsley and eggs into the large bowl. Combine them using your hands, gradually adding 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  • Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls and refrigerate them while making the sauce.

Make the sauce

  • Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
  • Finely chop the tomatoes, in using fresh.
  • Finely chop the silverbeet  and coriander leaves.
  • Add the olive oil and onion to the saucepan and cook over a medium—high heat for 2–3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and stock. Let the sauce simmer gently for 8–10 minutes.
  • Set up the two frying pans to cook the chickpea balls. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in each frying pan.
  • Cook the balls over a medium heat in two or three batches, tossing in the pan occasionally, until golden all over.
  • Add the chickpea balls and cayenne pepper to the sauce and allow to gently simmer for a further 5–10 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly and the flavour is rich and spicy.
  • Remove from heat and toss through silverbeet and herbs. Add a dollop of yoghurt to the sauce before serving on platters to share.
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