Thai Quinoa Meatballs


  • 15 ounce (425g) can chickpeas (thoroughly rinsed, drained, and patted dry)
  • 1/2 cup (92g) cooked quinoa (see note)
  • 1/4 cup (55g) organic brown sugar (or substitute coconut sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp (32g) salted peanut butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp (30-45ml) tamari or soy sauce (if gluten- free, use tamari)
  • 1/4 cup (15g) finely chopped fresh cilantro (plus more for serving)
  • 1/4 cup (38g) finely diced green onion
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 3/4-1 cup (105–140g) roasted salted peanuts, (crushed, plus more for coating and texture)
  • For Serving (optional)
  • 6-8 (366g) whole carrots (peeled and ribboned or thinly sliced)
  • Peanut Sauce (page 10)
  • Chili garlic sauce
  • Fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • Lime juice


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 (~140g) 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.

Recipe 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 in a 350-degree F (176-degree C) oven, or until warmed through, gently tossing/flipping at the halfway point to ensure even cooking.

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