Spain on a Fork > All Recipes > Main Dishes > The BEST-EVER Chickpea Meatballs | Spanish-Style with Tomato Sauce
All Recipes, Main Dishes / December 4, 2023

The BEST-EVER Chickpea Meatballs | Spanish-Style with Tomato Sauce

These Chickpea Meatballs in Tomato Sauce are seriously my new addiction. They´re packed with flavors, made with basic pantry staples and all done in a little over 30 minutes. Serve them next to some roasted potatoes, a garden salad and a bottle of Spanish red wine for the ultimate meal.

Chickpea Meatballs
To make this recipe I used canned chickpeas. Just to make things easier and quicker. However, you can use dried chickpeas if you like. Just soak them in plenty of water overnight and then simmer the following day for 1 to 2 hours or until tender.

Chickpea Meatballs
For the tomato sauce, I used canned tomato sauce. But you can also use passata or even finely grated fresh tomatoes. Either way, what really flavors the sauce is the sweet smoked Spanish paprika. As it gives the sauce an incredible depth of flavor.

Chickpea Meatballs

TIPS & TRICKS to Make this Recipe: The secret to this recipe is to ensure the chickpea mixture is well-binded. That way the meatballs don´t fall apart. Once you have the mixture ready, make sure to squeeze the mixture in your hand before shaping the meatball. If you see it´s too dry, add another egg to the mixture.

Chickpea Meatballs

Key Ingredients & Cookware I used in this Recipe:

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Watch the Video Below on How to Make these Chickpea Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Chickpea Meatballs
4.86 from 14 votes

Chickpea Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 313 kcal
Author Albert Bevia @ Spain on a Fork



  • 1 can chickpeas 15.5 oz / 440 grams
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs 40 grams
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small onion finey chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1.5 grams
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley 8 grams
  • pinch sea salt
  • dash black pepper


  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika 3 grams
  • 1 can tomato sauce 14.5 oz / 400 grams
  • pinch sea salt
  • dash black pepper


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 60 ml
  • handful chopped fresh parsley


  1. Drain the canned chickpeas into a colander and rinse under water, then shake off any excess water and transfer the chickpeas into a large bowl, using a potato masher or a large fork, mash down on the chickpeas until well mashed

  2. Once the chickpeas are mashed, add in the bread crumbs, crack in the egg and add in the chopped onion, then finely grate the garlic over the ingredients, finely grate the carrot (peeled), add in the cumin, parsley and season with sea salt & black pepper, mix together until well mixed, then push down on the mixture to end up with a paste-like texture

  3. To shape the meatballs, grab a spoonful of the mixture and squeeze it in your hands, this is to ensure the ingredients and well binded together, the form it into a shape of a golf ball

  4. Heat a large fry pan with a medium heat and add in the olive oil

  5. After a couple of minutes add in the chickpea meatballs, all in a single layer, fry for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden fried all around, then remove from the pan and set aside

  6. Using the same pan with the same heat, add in 3 cloves of garlic that have been finely chopped, mix continuously, after 15 seconds add in a generous tsp of sweet smoked Spanish paprika, quickly mix together, then add in the canned tomato sauce and season with sea salt & black pepper, mix together and then simmer without mixing

  7. Once the tomato sauce has slightly thickened, about 3 minutes, add the chickpea meatballs back into the pan, give each one a gentle flip so they´re fully coated in the sauce, simmer for 3 to 4 minutes

  8. Transfer into serving dishes and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Get the Spanish Paprika I used to make this Recipe (25% OFF Your Order if You Purchase from this Link)

Nutrition Facts
Chickpea Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 313 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 0.01g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 1469mg64%
Potassium 610mg17%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 3487IU70%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 97mg10%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. Cynthia

    5 stars
    We love the Albondigas de Garbanzos so much! Thank you for sharing this recipe, and we will look forward to trying more. My vegetarian friend introduced me to this site.

    26 . May . 2024
    • Spain on a Fork

      So happy to hear that! Thanks for the comment 🙂 Much love

      26 . May . 2024
  2. Bonnie

    5 stars
    Just what i was needing. I just made the chickpea balls and used a jar pasta sauce since i had in my pantry. I used a flax egg instead of a chicken egg and i baked the chickpea balls. Perfect! Definitely a keeper. Thank you for sharing.

    11 . May . 2024
    • Spain on a Fork

      Happy to hear that! Thanks for the comment 🙂 Much love

      12 . May . 2024
  3. Alison M.

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! My husband is a picky vegetarian who hates to cook, and he could not stop raving about these. I followed the recipe exactly and watched the video. I did not have a can of tomato sauce, so I substituted pureed fire roasted diced tomatoes and the sauce turned out great. Lo aprecio!

    15 . Apr . 2024
    • Spain on a Fork

      So happy to hear that! Thanks for the comment 🙂 Much love

      17 . Apr . 2024
  4. Barry

    3 stars
    Tastes good, but I would start with 2 eggs, a touch of flour and pulse everything in a food processor. Then I would bake them, because veggie meatballs seldom hold together when frying. You can always brown them in the skillet after baking them.

    09 . Apr . 2024
  5. Debbie Goldfarb

    Hi, why is the level of salt so very very high? It doesn’t seem like any of the ingredients are so salt heavy. It is the only reason that I don’t want to make it. Otherwise it looks so good. Thank you.

    17 . Mar . 2024
    • Spain on a Fork

      The nutritional facts are just an estimate, but the sodium would come from the canned tomatoes 🙂 Much love

      18 . Mar . 2024
  6. Katherine D Emerson

    5 stars
    Delicious!! Thank you for this delicious recipe!! I’m vegan so substituted a flax egg for the chicken egg, and it held together quite nicely (I added a bit more of the bread crumbs). The “meat”balls separated and got a bit soft when I added the sauce so next time (Yes, I’ll be sure to add them to my regulars), I’ll keep them separate. Have a lovely day and Hello from Canada 🙂

    05 . Feb . 2024
    • Spain on a Fork

      Happy you liked the dish! Much love 🙂

      06 . Feb . 2024
  7. Bill

    5 stars
    Just made the chickpea meatballs. They were fantastic! Great with the sauce. Will definitely make again and again.

    21 . Jan . 2024
    • Spain on a Fork

      Happy to hear that! Thanks for the comment 🙂 Much love

      22 . Jan . 2024
  8. Colin

    5 stars
    Delicious. I love the flavor of the meatballs. They came apart a little bit in the frying process but I dealt with it. So worth it. I am going to try them in the air fryer next time and see how they come out using that. Thanks again.

    12 . Jan . 2024
    • Spain on a Fork

      Glad you enjoyed them, maybe adding a bit more egg to hold them together will do the trick 🙂 Much love

      13 . Jan . 2024
  9. Kate

    5 stars
    Made this after seeing the video and they are delicious!!

    03 . Jan . 2024
    • Spain on a Fork

      Happy to hear that! Thanks for the comment 🙂 Much love

      04 . Jan . 2024
  10. Arlene

    Can I bake the chickpea mixture like a “meatloaf”?

    02 . Jan . 2024
    • Spain on a Fork

      I have never tried, but I am sure you can! Much love 🙂

      02 . Jan . 2024
  11. B ea

    I bet they would taste delish in a sub roll with cheese melted on top. Like a meatball sandwich. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks!!

    28 . Dec . 2023
    • Spain on a Fork

      Absolutely!! Much love 🙂

      29 . Dec . 2023
  12. Barbara

    Hello!! thank you for the recipe, it looks amazing! is it possible to veganize it? what could I use to substitute the egg? its function in the recipe is to bind the chickpeas into the balls, right?

    22 . Dec . 2023
    • Spain on a Fork

      The aquafava from the canned chickpeas should do the trick! Much love 🙂

      23 . Dec . 2023
  13. María

    5 stars
    La acabo de hacer, quedaron deliciosas, gracias por la receta, una de las mejores que he probado. ❤️

    18 . Dec . 2023
    • Spain on a Fork

      Cuanto me alegro!!! Saludos 🙂

      20 . Dec . 2023
  14. Lisa

    5 stars
    Amazing! I have been trying to find a vegetarian meatball that taste delicious and thanks to you I have found it. It came out delicious. My only learning was that they didn’t hold up well if you are planning on making ahead (like me). They started to soften up a bit after adding to the sauce. I would recommend saucing right before you serve, as I will do next time. I am hoping they will last for next couple hours until dinner, will likely heat in microwave so they don’t fall apart during second heating. I will definitely be making this regularly. Thanks soo much!!! I am looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

    13 . Dec . 2023
    • Spain on a Fork

      Happy to hear that! Thanks for the comment 🙂 Much love

      15 . Dec . 2023
  15. Susie Doyle

    5 stars
    I’m always on the hunt for delicious meat-free recipes and this one is incredible – it’s a real keeper. Thanks so much for this!

    12 . Dec . 2023
    • Spain on a Fork

      Happy to hear that! Thanks for the comment 🙂 Much love

      12 . Dec . 2023
  16. Robert Nagorny

    5 stars
    I could honestly eat theese every day for the rest of my life. Jast an amazing recipe in all its simplicity

    12 . Dec . 2023
    • Spain on a Fork

      So happy to hear that! Thanks for the comment 🙂 Much love

      12 . Dec . 2023
  17. Dave

    Can I use tomato puree for the sauce?

    07 . Dec . 2023
    • Spain on a Fork

      Absolutely! Much love 🙂

      08 . Dec . 2023
  18. Dougal

    5 stars
    Just delicious. I made it like your video and it was so good. When I put the smoked paprika (Spanish of course!) into the oil there was a bloom of scent that filled my kitchen with goodness. This is now on my family dinner rotation. Only one minor request in that I would like to know the name in Spanish to give myself the joy of using its proper name.

    06 . Dec . 2023
    • Spain on a Fork

      This dish is called albondigas de garbanzos en salsa de tomate 🙂 So happy you all enjoyed it! Much love

      08 . Dec . 2023
  19. Shef Martay

    5 stars
    Just made these chickpea meatballs for my family and must say one of the top recipes Albert!! Everyone loved them and asked for more.. now on my way to the super market for more chickpeas. Fantastic!! Total addiction 🤪
    Thank you so much Sir.

    05 . Dec . 2023
    • Spain on a Fork

      So happy to hear that! Thanks for the comment 🙂 Much love

      05 . Dec . 2023
  20. Ramya

    Cant wait to make this soon for me i never had chickpea meatballs in tomato sauce before perfect for my after office meals love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work

    04 . Dec . 2023

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