Chickpeas are such a versatile food that I decided to make meatballs out of them! As you probably have guessed, they’re not true meatballs, but instead delicious, cheesy, garlicky, breadcrumb-tastic rolls of delight! Throw a few in with some whole-wheat lemon linguine and you’ve got yourself a healthy, tasty meal everyone in your family will love.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40-45 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Serving size: ⅔ cup pasta and 2-3 “meatballs”
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup plain bread crumbs
¼ cup fresh parsley (a small handful)
¼ cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
⅛ teaspoon cumin
juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
8 ounces whole-wheat linguine
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ large red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (5-ounce) container baby spinach
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350° F and lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, or a silicone baking mat.
Pulse the chickpeas in a food processor until just slightly coarse. Add the egg, bread crumbs, parsley, feta, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Pulse until combined, but not completely smooth.
Roll the chickpea mixture into 16 equal-sized heaping tablespoon “meatballs” and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden, 18-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the linguine according to package directions for al dente. Reserve ½ to 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil and onions. Cook the onions for 10-12 minutes, until well caramelized. Add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant.
Reduce the heat to low and add the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water, linguine and spinach. Toss gently with tongs until the spinach is wilted. Add more reserved pasta cooking water as needed to thin the sauce, if desired.
Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve ⅔ cup linguine with 2-3 meatballs each.
Per Serving: (⅔ cup pasta and 2-3 “meatballs”)
Calories from fat: 98
Saturated Fat: 2g
The nutrition content of recipes on Smart Nutrition.has been calculated by Registered Dietitian, Jessica Penner, of