Lemon and feta chickpea meatballs

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Lemon and feta chickpea meatballs (vegetarian!) - really quick and easy to make, and perfect with spaghetti!

There’s obviously no meat in these meatballs, but I couldn’t bring myself to call them just ‘balls’. Even ‘vegetarian balls’ sounded a bit odd, so meatballs it is. But rest assured, these lemon and feta chickpea meatballs are entirely vegetarian.

Lemon and feta chickpea meatballs (vegetarian!) - really quick and easy to make, and perfect with spaghetti!

I very rarely make my own meatballs – I cook with shop-bought soy-based meatballs every now and then (like in my spaghetti and meatballs casserole!), but don’t tend to make my own from scratch. And now I’m wondering why on earth not! They’re so easy.

These chickpea meatballs are entirely different from the soy-based ones, of course. I probably wouldn’t use these in the casserole (though I say everything’s worth a try once!). But, they’re just as good, if not better!

Lemon and feta chickpea meatballs (vegetarian!) - really quick and easy to make, and perfect with spaghetti!

This time I served my chickpea meatballs on some spaghetti that I cooked really simply (the best way!). I haven’t included a recipe for this part of the dish, but if you’re interested, I just sautéed up a handful of kale in a dab of butter with a bit of chopped garlic, then tossed it through the pasta with a bit more feta and another squeeze of lemon. Simples! And it went perfectly with the meatballs!

Lemon and feta chickpea meatballs (vegetarian!) - really quick and easy to make, and perfect with spaghetti!

By the way, if you’re thinking that these chickpea meatballs look a little dry, don’t be fooled by the crust on the outside – the middles are super creamy, and the lemon and feta keep everything nice and moist. If you’re still concerned, spoon a bit of bolognese sauce on top (sounds odd, but I tried it, and it works surprisingly well!).

I’m now imagining any number of variations of this recipe. The lemon and feta can be traded out for different flavour combinations – or, if you want to go a different route, you could shape them into patties and serve them as chickpea burgers instead. Prepare to see some variations on the theme!

Lemon and feta chickpea meatballs (vegetarian!) - really quick and easy to make, and perfect with spaghetti!

Lemon and feta chickpea meatballs

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5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2
Author: Becca Heyes


  • 1 slice small wholemeal bread
  • 1 cup x 400g tin chickpeas 240g when drained, or ~1, drained
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 60 g crumbled feta cheese ~1/2 cup
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Spray oil


  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F), and lightly spray a baking tray with oil.
  • Add the slice of bread to a food processor, and blitz into breadcrumbs. Add the drained chickpeas, and blitz again until smooth (or slightly chunky if you prefer).
  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and add the chopped parsley, crumbled feta, and lemon juice, along with some salt and pepper. Mix well.
  • With clean hands, form the mixture into balls. I made 8, but this will depend on the exact size you make them.
  • Place the balls on the baking tray, and spray lightly with oil. Bake for around 25 minutes, or until the meatballs are crispy and fairly firm.

Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.

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Lemon and feta chickpea meatballs (vegetarian!) - really quick and easy to make, and perfect with spaghetti!If you have any chickpeas left over, try them in my pizza roasted chickpeas:

Pizza roasted chickpeas

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  1. Made this tonight – it was great! I added one egg just to help the chickpeas combine. Oh and super easy – which is the only way that I cook:-)

  2. These were really yummy! I added them with a salad that I’m not sure was on your website or not as I can’t find it again, but it was cucumber radishes, mixed leaves and some seeds mixed with a vegan mayo / olive oil / lemon juice dressing. I think these do need to be added with a dish that adds some moistness to the balls. The flavour of the balls is really nice though… even the boyfriend liked them. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Made last week for my book club. They were delicious. Made one change, used mint instead of parsley, just because that’s what I had on hand. Will make these again.

  4. Hi Becca, I made these meatless meatballs, and after a couple tries at tweaking your recipe, I realized: yours was the best! so i stuck to it and i’m really glad with the result!
    it’s up on my blog today, i figured lemon meatballs were a pretty good way to celebrate spring…
    thanks for the inspiration!

  5. These look great. A nice spin on a veggie ‘meat’ball. I have done variations with lentils, eggplant, sweet potatoes, chickpeas and other beans, but not something that was heavily reliant on cheese (along with the chickpeas). I actually made burgers somewhat similar to this before but they had a bunch of spinach mixed in….

  6. Trying these this weekend! If I wanted to use prepared breadcrumbs, how much would you recommend? (in American units if you don’t mind!) ;-)

    1. Hmm maybe 1/3 cup? To be honest it doesn’t matter too much, as long as the mixture sticks together so you can shape it into balls :) by the way I would be wary of using dried breadcrumbs for this, if that’s what you meant – they’re great for breading, but not so good for binding.

  7. It looks absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to make it. I just love recipes with simple and good ingredients.

  8. My kind of dish Becca! I’ll be putting them on the menu plan but will have to keep the chickpeas secret, neither Rich or Izzy are keen.