Sweet & Sour Chickpea Balls

This vegetarian take on chicken balls can be transformed into a number of dishes throughout the week; try them in sandwiches, tossed with veg noodles, on salads, in your favorite grain bowls or simply on their own dunked into the tangy sweet ’n’ sour sauce.

Tip: Serve over fried brown rice, with egg noodles or as a protein-rich garnish to an Asian-inspired salad (such as carrot, cabbage, bok choy, sweet peas and a sesame vinaigrette).

Prep Time
30 min
60 min


Chickpea balls

  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds    

  • 3 tsp grape seed oil 

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced 

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 

  • 3 tsp each ground cumin and coriander 

  • 1 tsp ground ginger 

  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder 

  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas or 3 15-oz BPA-free cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed 

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt 

  • 1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions


  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple

  • 1/2 cup frozen and thawed pitted sour cherries 

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice 

  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar 

  • 1 tbsp raw honey 

  • 1 tsp tapioca starch  

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed 

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


1. In a small bowl, combine flaxseeds and ¼ cup water. Set aside for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet on medium, heat 1 tsp oil. Add yellow onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, ginger and five-spice. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside.

3. To a food processor, add chickpeas and salt; process until combined but still leaving a coarse texture (do not purée).

4. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine chickpea mixture, onion mixture, flaxseed mixture and parsley using your hands.

5. Using a 1 tbsp measure, form mixture into balls and place on a large rimmed parchment-lined baking sheet, making about 32 balls total.

6. In a large nonstick skillet on medium, heat ½ tsp oil. Add 8 balls. Using a spatula, flatten each ball slightly then cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides. Repeat with remaining oil and balls.

7. Meanwhile, to a blender, add all sauce ingredients plus ¼ cup water and blend until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan on medium. Constantly whisk until heated through, about 4 minutes.

8. If serving immediately, drizzle balls with sauce and garnish with green onions. If reserving for future use, store separately, reheat each separately and drizzle before eating. 

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 4 balls and 2 tbsp sauce
  • Calories 199
  • Carbohydrate Content 32 g
  • Cholesterol Content 0 mg
  • Fat Content 5 g
  • Fiber Content 8 g
  • Protein Content 8 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 0.5 g
  • Sodium Content 192 mg
  • Sugar Content 10 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 1 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 3 g