Herby chickpea balls with tomato sauce

Vegetarians don’t need to miss out on pasta with meatballs, with this no-fuss meat-free version

  • Prep:15 mins
    Cook:20 mins
  • Serves 3
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 607
  • fat 19g
  • saturates 6g
  • carbs 85g
  • sugars 9g
  • fibre 6g
  • protein 30g
  • salt 2.15g


  • 2 slices white bread, crusts off and torn into pieces
  • 75g parmesan, or vegetarian alternative, 50g roughly chopped and 25g grated
  • 400g can chickpeas, drained
  • 3 garlic cloves, 2 roughly chopped and 1 crushed
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • small handful basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 560ml jar passata with onions and garlic
  • 200g spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle


  1. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Whizz the bread and roughly chopped Parmesan in a food processor to crumbs, then throw in the chickpeas, roughly chopped garlic, half the oregano, a few basil leaves and some seasoning. Pulse until the mixture starts to come together, then add just enough of the egg while the motor is running to bind together. Shape into 18 small balls. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet and cook in the oven for 15 mins, turning halfway.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large pan, fry the crushed garlic in the olive oil for 1 min. Then tip in the passata, remaining oregano and some seasoning and simmer until the chickpea balls are ready. Cook pasta following pack instructions.

  3. When the chickpea balls are cooked, serve over the pasta, with the tomato sauce and the rest of the basil on top. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.

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