These delicious vegetarian “meatballs” feature black-eyed peas, flaxseed and Medjool dates for the perfect savory-sweet appetizer at your next holiday fete. Black-eyed peas and flaxseed pack protein and fiber while dates add extra nutrition and a sweet flavor. This is the perfect way to do Meatless Monday, or fit in more plant-based meals during the week.
- 2 15 oz. cans black-eyed peas, rinsed, drained (or 3 1/2 cups cooked)
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs (may use gluten-free)
- 1/2 cup nut meal (e.g. almond meal, hazelnut meal or peanut meal)
- 5 large Medjool dates, pitted, finely diced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp. fennel
- 1 Tbsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 pinch sea salt (optional)
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
Tahini Lemon Sauce
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- water, as needed
- smoked Paprika
- Place black-eyed peas in large mixing bowl and mash with potato masher to achieve a smooth texture with some lumps.
- Stir in onion, garlic, flaxseed, breadcrumbs, nut meal, dates, tomatoes, parsley, fennel, oregano, pepper and salt, if using. Mix well.
- Add lemon juice to moisten and mix well to create a slightly moist mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make Tahini Lemon Sauce. Whisk together tahini, lemon juice, garlic and black pepper. Add enough water to make a smooth sauce, according to your desired texture (see tip).
- Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Roll veggie balls into 28 golf-size balls with clean hands, and place in skillet. Cook balls, turning regularly, so that all sides are browned, for about 15 minutes. Remove, place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Add remaining olive oil to skillet and cook remaining veggie balls using same technique.
- Serve with Tahini Lemon Sauce garnished with smoked paprika.
When making the Tahini Lemon Sauce 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.
This recipe is by Sharon Palmer, RDN, The PlantPowered Dietitian. She is a Los Angeles-based, award-winning food and nutrition writer, plant-based food expert and author of Plant-Powered for Life and The Plant-Powered Blog.
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