tomato basil beanballs


Chickpea balls are back, and wow are they good!

After I made Christin’s cookie dough balls and subsequently went crazy making all kinds of flavors, it was only natural I’d eventually go savory.

I think it was after using the fresh mint that I thought of my favorite, fresh basil. The thought snowballed into a basil tomato and onion ball, dipped into Jason’s marinara. Oh, mama.

tomato basil beanballs


vegan, gluten free, dairy free

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and peeled
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/2 red onion, diced

15-20 fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons flour (brown rice)
pinch sea salt

Rinse and peel chickpeas, add to food processor. Process alone until crumbly/creamy, add sun dried tomatoes, continue to blend. Add basil and onion, blend. Add olive oil and flour one tablespoon at a time, until dough is formed. Form into one inch balls and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. 

I served these as an appetizer / snack, with marinara dipping sauce. I have also served them over pasta with marinara, as a salad topper, and sneaked from the fridge very late at night.

I rarely say this, but you need to make these now.

As soon as I can finagle Jason’s marinara recipe, I will share it. Perhaps another guest post is in order?



  1. says

    Oh. My. Goll. I want these NOW.

    But…you may have instead just inspired a variation based on a flavor combo I’ve had stuck in my head for awhile now…

    PS. Guess what arrived last night and I am terrified to open?!?!?!

    • spabettie says

      squee! have you opened it yet?! today is a bad day for a phone call for me, or I’d be calling you RIGHT NOW to make you open it with me on the phone!! 😀

      I can’t wait to see what variation you have…

    • spabettie says

      thanks, Maryea! yes, I love a short ingredient list, and these have such great flavor you wouldn’t think it was that easy! :)

    • spabettie says

      haa – Heather I LOVE that you said this!! 😀 the first time I made these I told Jason we were having a meat ball sub for dinner. since he’s never seen me eat a meat ball, let alone handle whatever meat they would come from, he knew something was up. 😉

      and YES… these are so flippin good.

  2. says

    genius idea, seriously! First off, everything is cuter and yummier in ball form and on a stick, and secondly that ingredient combination is perfection. I bet a little cheese in there would also be delicious!

    • spabettie says

      I agree, Katie – so much fun to eat bite size food, and on a stick! :) the flavors – I think I have to say I like these better than all the cookie flavors I’ve made!

  3. Assistantdoc says

    Now my mind is reeling with all of the Bean ball possibilites! I need to make a batch of cookie balls right now to help me think…..Nom nom nom

    • spabettie says

      oh, girl I know it! I took a break from the chick pea balls, but these brought back the endless possibilities! 😀

  4. says

    Oh my gosh, I WILL be making these right now, your directive has been accepted! I even have all the ingredients on hand, it’s a sign!

    • spabettie says

      hi Anne, I hope you do try – they are one of my favorite things now! and yes, an endless supply of basil is another... 😀

    • spabettie says

      YAY – I hope you do… you will LOVE them. chiffonaded – you stack the basil leaves, roll them, then chop – they end up in these curly strips. you may not even need to do this, as everything goes into the food processor, but since I LOVE BASIL so much, I actually like to do this step… makes my kitchen smell so good. and my fingers. 😀

      cooking wiki?? I’ll take it! 😀

    • spabettie says

      heee! you sure can… the blog world is immune to ball jokes by now! 😉 these are such awesome flavor – and yep, the stats are good too… Jason keeps asking for them!

    • spabettie says

      thank you, Ari!! they are so SO good… I hope you try them. and yep, I know what you mean – when I first made the cookie balls months ago, I was hooked, and started coming up with all kinds of flavors! :)

  5. says

    oooooh, Kris! After almost 3 days of not being able to eat food with any spice or seasoning, I’m CRAVING marinara sauce with lots of basil! mmm. These puppies look delicious.

    • spabettie says

      they really are amazing, Dorry. one of those things I cannot adequately explain – Jason declared them one of the best things he’s ever eaten. 😀 hope you’re back to normal – that’s the worst. XO

    • spabettie says

      I love chickpeas… so versatile! these are one of our favorites right now… Jason keeps asking for them! 😀

  6. says

    Oh, mama……love the balls! Really, I have not made chickpea balls (I’m ashamed!)…but I will. Soon. And mine will most likely have basil in them :)

  7. says

    Does it sound bad if I tell you that you are the queen with balls? LOL Sorry … had to say it. 😉 Love all your bite-sized ball concoctions. I mean who can resist them? And you already know that you’ve hit on some very favorite ingredients of mine. :-) The marinara seals the deal!


    • spabettie says

      ha – you can call me anything, Shirley! 😀 chickpeas are so versatile, and once I start I just cannot stop! basil is my favorite, and dipping in marinara just completes it!

      happy weekend, Shirley!

    • spabettie says

      Mmm, fresh basil. I just brought some in and it’s sitting on my counter, the whole kitchen smells SO good. and YAY – glad you’re going to try these – let me know how you like them! 😀

    • spabettie says

      oh, yay! I hope you love them as much as we do (we’re having them again tonight!!) have a great weekend!

  8. says

    ohhhh yumm these lil bean balls look delish! like lil falafels on a stick, but BAKED and not fried, so much healthier! I love the idea of marinara dipping sauce, since traditionally it’s a cucumber yogurt dip. But tomatoes and bean balls sound OH SO YUMMY. Perfect party food too 😉

    • spabettie says

      I know – I felt the basil and tomato kinda took away from a traditional falafel, and the marinara too. an Italian falafel, perhaps! 😀 they were SO good, and we’re having them again tonight!

  9. says

    Did you use regular sun dried tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes packed in oil? I just made these had had some problems with the consistency at the dough ball phase. (Ended up using a ton more flour.)


    • spabettie says

      I used the ones in oil. the first time I made them, I patted them dry pretty good, but the second time I added them straight from the jar, so they were oily. sorry it didn’t work too well – did you process the beans by themselves first, before adding the rest of the ingredients? that makes a HUGE difference – one time I didn’t do that, and I ended up having to add so much more flour, and the dough was the consistency of refried beans.

      I hope they eventually turned out?

      • says

        I did! (Although I was a little lazy and didn’t shell the chickpeas. I usually only do that when I’m working a smooth hummus.)

        The taste was good (honestly, I could have stopped before the flour-oil part and just eaten it as a pizza hummus), but a little floury because of my work to make it more dough like. I’m going to give them another spin again later in the week and see what I maybe did wrong.

        • spabettie says

          peeling them or not shouldn’t make much of a difference, I don’t know? :( I was hoping that was it.) I hope it works better next time, glad you liked the flavor! and YES, I eat some of the dough every time… :)

        • spabettie says

          also, the time I did have to add more flour, I rolled them when they were VERY wet, they still held shape and I just cooked them a little longer, about another 5-7 minutes.

  10. says

    I think what I might try is letting the dough rest in the refrigerator for a bit like you do when making falafel. (And also maybe adding a little baking powder like falafel too, just so they’re not as dense.)

    I’ll let you know how they come out!

  11. Bryan says

    these are so unique, almost like a falafel, but Italian? another spabettie recipe I know I will love – you should have a DONATE button so I could pay you like buying a cookbook!

  12. Val says

    WE LOVE THESE!! made them three times now, really great recipe (and one I can make very quickly on a weeknight). kids love them too, easy to please when it is a food you can DIP! 😀

    • spabettie says

      hi Val!! so happy you like them, and the kids do too – we LOVE them here, and honestly, I love to dip too! 😉

  13. Raine says

    just wanted to tell you we love these! a new favorite around here, too, so flavorful, easy and versatile! they never make it to a salad wrap, though I do want to try that soon. cheers Kristina!

  14. says

    I am not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, but this seemed like something I could do so I gave it a shot for a pot luck tomorrow. What are they supposed to be like on the inside? The consistency of the dough seemed pretty good but after baking for 19 min, the insides were very wet still. I was hoping they’d “cook” more as they cooled off, but doesn’t seem like they are. They taste wonderful, even super moist (I did add one clove of garlic, warmed up in water in the microwave first). Definitely will be making them again.

    • spabettie says

      hi Sara! I just updated the baking time; since this first posting I know I have had batches cook longer, although I don’t think I’ve ever gone over 20 minutes?

      I have had batches result in different consistencies (although that is usually me forgetting to process beans alone first!) and I know the size are not always the same as I made them the first time. I don’t want to just say “ovens are different” – I will make these again soon and I will pay attention to how long they cook.

      sorry that happened, I hope you were able to salvage them? glad you liked the flavor, and adding garlic is a great idea! I will make again as soon as I can! thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it! – Kris

      • sara says

        I made them for a pot luck today, so I plan on eating them anyway LOL I figure, it’s not like it’s meat where it’ll make you sick undercooked. And I’ll probably throw them back into an oven to warm them up so maybe they’ll firm up a bit more. :)

        • spabettie says

          oh, good – I was going to say the same thing – nothing in them that will make anyone sick (I love to eat the dough…) and I was thinking a trip back to the oven would work? I hope it did and I hope they were a hit!

  15. Raj says

    thank you for updating; the recipe works much better and these continue to be a favorite flavor. what’s the next one? lol

    • spabettie says

      I take the time to do it, but it WILL still work without peeling – it just won’t be as smooth. since you are cooking them anyway (as opposed to eating it like hummus) it shouldn’t be too big of a deal. let me know how you like them! :)

  16. Pat says

    these were dinner tonight, I made spaghetti squash for pasta, with my homemade tomato sauce and these were great!! so easy, I will make again1!

  17. Hannah-lyz says

    It’s not often I do as I’m told.. but in this case I did! I have a batch cooking away in the oven right now ^-^ Although I tweaked it a little and added garlic, dried basic (I’m out of fresh! Need a garden so I can grow my own!) , a hearty pinch of chilli flakes, and a handful of chopped nuts for a little Crunch! Sneaked one just now… mmmm.. Thanks for the inspirtation! ♥

    • spabettie says

      you are welcome – SO happy you like them! this is really one of my favorite recipes – adding garlic is so good, and hmm, I will have to remember chili flakes next time too! :)

  18. Lynnea says

    we put these in spaghett sauce instead of meatballs. they sometimes fall apart in there, but so good anyway LOL thanks for great recipes, where is your cookbook LOL

  19. Brittany says

    I just found this recipe and had to make them. Was especially excited that I already had all of the ingredients except red onion so I used yellow instead. My one blender was giving me a hard time. After I able to blend the chickpeas and then added the sun-dried tomato my blender decided to be stubborn and would keep sticking and I had to stop it as soon as I started. After 30+ minutes of frustration and back pain I ended up taking it out of the blender and put it on my cutting board, added the olive oil and flour and mushed it up with my hands. The onion was still chunky because it didn’t blend but I was able to roll the balls nicely. They came out really good, but a tad dry if you eat them on their own. I am thinking this would be an awesome recipe to make a veggie patty with. I love the flavors of the sun-dried tomato. I’m thinking it may taste good with a little bit of kalamata olives in the mix next time. Awesome recipe. Super happy I have something healthy to bring to work for lunch.

    • spabettie says

      hi Brittany!

      so happy you liked them! yes, we always have them with a marinara or some sort of sauce – eating them on top of pasta, or in a sub sandwich, or even an appetizer and dipping them. Kalamata would be great in these, and yes, they do make nice patties, the cooking time is a bit longer but they work!

      Cheers! Kristina

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