Cocktail chickpea meatballs is an easy vegetarian appetizer that bakes in about 20 minutes -- then set them in the Crock Pot with the zesty sauce until it's time to party. The meatballs are plenty “meaty,” made with smashed chickpeas, and the sauce is a combo of BBQ sauce and grape jelly -- or whatever jelly you love.
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Vegetarian chickpea meatballs. Chickpea meatballs are so easy to make. And they're super meaty that even non-vegetarians just might not care there's no meat in them. And, once you know how to make chickpea meatballs -- and how delicious they are -- you'll be making them all the time!
Sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. Barbecue sauce gets zinged up with whatever jelly you love in this chickpea meatball recipe. Grape jelly is a classic choice, but I've also used lingonberry jam and orange marmalade.
Pantry meatball recipe. The ingredients for these cocktail meatballs are so simple that, if you go to your pantry, you might have all the ingredients you need.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Chickpeas. You can use any kind of bean to make these cocktail meatballs, like black beans, cannellini beans, Great Northern beans.
White onion. I sometimes use green onions instead of white onion. But any color of onion, shallots, or chives will be great in these chickpea meatballs
Minced garlic. In a pinch, you can use ¼ of a teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
Panko. You can use any kind of bread crumb, or crushed up crackers or cereal in place of panko.
Fresh parsley. If you don't have fresh parsley, you can add 2 teaspoons of dried parsley, or your favorite dried herb.
Barbecue sauce. Chili sauce is a classic cocktail meatball ingredient. So is ketchup. So you can use either of these.
Jam or jelly. Besides the chickpea meatballs, the jelly selection just might be my favorite part of this recipe. Of course, grape jelly is a favorite. But you can use literally anything. And if you don't mind some texture to your sauce, there is no need to stick to jelly. I've used lingonberry and orange marmalade, I know some like cranberry sauce.
How to Make Crockpot Cocktail Chickpea Meatballs
Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a medium bowl, smash the chickpeas until they're still pretty chunky. Add the onion, garlic, panko, egg, salt and pepper, and parsley. Combine everything together. I've found the best way is with your hands, like meatloaf.
Use a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop to portion out the meatballs. Roll them in your hands to form the meatballs.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs are lightly browned.
Combine the barbecue sauce, jam, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl.
Place the jelly mixture in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the mixture reaches a low simmer. Add the chickpea meatballs and stir until heated through.
Spray the insert of a 3-quart crock pot. Add the chickpea meatballs and sauce. Warm on low for 3-4 hours or high for 2-3 hours.
Crockpot Barbecue Chickpea Meatballs
- 1 can chickpeas
- ¼ cup white onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ cup panko
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce
- ½ cup jam or jelly -- grape jelly, cranberry sauce, or orange marmalade are good!
- 1 dash cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a medium bowl, smash the chickpeas with the back of a fork until they are about half-way smashed. There should still be some chunky texture to them. Add onion, garlic, panko, egg, salt and pepper, and parsley. Combine the chickpea meatball mixture, the best way is with your hands.
- Use a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop to portion out the meatballs. Roll them in your hands to form the meatballs.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs are lightly browned.
- Combine the barbecue sauce, jam, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
- Place the barbecue jelly sauce in a saucepan and heat until the mixture has melted. Add the chickpea meatballs and stir until heated through.
Slow Cooker Method
- Spray the insert of a 3-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add the cooked meatballs and the barbecue jelly sauce. Heat on low for 3-4 hour or high for 2-3 hours.
Hungry for More Easy Appetizer Recipes?
This large strainer is perfect for rinsing canned beans. The handle is sturdy and it has a handy ledge so you can rest it over a bowl or pot.
Silicone Baking Mats
I had no idea how often I would end up using these silicone baking mats when I got them. I figured I would just use them for Christmas cookies. But they have become my go-to for lining my baking sheets for all kinds of things, like these chickpea meatballs.