Once you start tacking dietaries onto recipes — paleo, gluten-free, vegan — the options (and flavors) tend to shrink. Avoid this entirely with a copy of Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking, from bloggers Dana and John Shultz. Packed with healthy, delicious spin-offs of your favorite dishes, this is one collection that will point you in the right direction.
These “meatballs” are jam-packed with Thai-inspired flavors and come in bite-size portions. Serve atop carrot noodles with peanut sauce for a hearty meal that’s bursting with flavor.
Notes: Cook quinoa in vegetable broth for extra flavor.
To freeze, arrange the uncooked meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm. Transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 1 month. To cook, place on a foil-lined baking sheet and spritz with oil to encourage browning. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until warmed through, in a 350-degree Fahrenheit (176-degree Celsius) oven, gently tossing/flipping at the halfway point to ensure even cooking.
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, thoroughly rinsed, drained and patted dry
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (see note)
- 1/4 cup organic brown sugar (or substitute coconut sugar)
- 2 tablespoons salted peanut butter
- 2-3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce (if gluten-free, use tamari)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup finely diced green onion
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- 3/4-1 cup roasted salted peanuts, crushed, plus more for coating and texture
For serving (optional)
- 6-8 whole carrots, peeled and ribboned or thinly sliced
- peanut sauce
- fresh cilantro, chopped
- lime juice
For the meatballs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Arrange the chickpeas on a foil- or parchment- lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 12-13 minutes to dehydrate, then set aside. Keep the oven at 350 degrees F (176 degrees C).
Add the baked chickpeas to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Mix/pulse on low to pulverize. Alternatively, mash with a fork.
Add the chickpea mixture and remaining ingredients to a medium bowl. Stir/mix to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Add more crushed peanuts if too wet (bread crumbs work well here, too). I found 1 cup to be the perfect amount. This will depend on how wet your quinoa and peanut butter are.
Scoop out amounts of dough slightly larger than 1 tablespoon. Gently roll into balls. Roll in additional crushed peanuts to coat.
Spray the foil-lined baking sheet used earlier with nonstick spray. Add the meatballs. Bake for 15 minutes, then gently turn/flip to ensure even cooking. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or to desired doneness. The longer the meatballs cook, the firmer they will get. Once they cool a little, they firm up even more.
While baking, prepare any additional serving items. To cook the carrots, bring a pot of water to a boil, add the ribboned carrots, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until just tender. Strain and set aside.
Serve the meatballs over carrot noodles with peanut sauce, chili garlic sauce, fresh cilantro, and lime juice.
Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, though best when fresh. Reheat in a 350-degree F oven until warmed through. See notes for freezing instructions.