Enjoying vegan “meatballs” is a thing! Bloggers and food writers are getting creative, rolling up savory little bites filled with beans, lentils, whole grains, and vegetables as an addictive alternative to meat-based balls. These Greek Veggie Balls are delicious as an appetizer at a party, served with pasta and a sauce, or showcased as the main event at your next meal.
For this recipe, I found my inspiration in the Greek culinary tradition of keftedes—fried meatballs often served with French fries and a salad or as part of a meze (appetizer) platter. I skipped the meat and replaced it with hearty black-eyed peas (I had the most amazing black-eyed pea dish in Greece which inspired this idea!), along with nut meal, flax seeds, and red onions. The tastes of the Mediterranean are highlighted in this dish with dates, sun-dried tomatoes, and Greek herbs. I paired these Greek Veggie Balls with a bright lemony tahini dip. Black-eyed peas are rich in protein and fiber, making an excellent protein alternative. Plus, the flax seeds and nut meal (also called nut flour) provide an extra dose of fiber and protein, along with healthy fats. This is the perfect way to do Meatless Monday, or fit in more plant-based meals during the week.
Serve these Greek Veggie Balls at your holiday table or party for a meatless alternative, or for a simple, rustic meal served with roasted potato wedges and a crisp salad. The veggie balls are also excellent heated up over the next few days. You can even make a big batch and freeze extras for easy meals on busy nights.
Follow along with me as I make this recipe for Chef AJ’s live cooking show in my own kitchen here.
In the container of a food processor, place red onion, garlic, dates, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, fennel seeds, oregano, black pepper, and salt (optional). Process until finely chopped.
Add flax seeds, breadcrumbs, nut flour, and lemon juice to food processor, and process until combined.
Add black-eyed peas to food processor, and process just a few seconds until the peas are mashed, but not pureed.
Remove mixture from food processor and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make Tahini Lemon Sauce by whisking together tahini with lemon juice, garlic, and black pepper. Add enough water to make a smooth sauce, according to your desired texture. (A thicker sauce is preferable served on the side with appetizer veggie balls, while a thinner sauce is preferable served on top of an entrée serving of veggie balls.) Sprinkle with smoked paprika.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Roll veggie balls into 24 golf-size balls with your hands, and place on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on top rack of the oven. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until veggie balls are cooked through and golden brown on surface.