These vegan meatballs are made with wholesome chickpeas, seared mushrooms and lots of flavor from sesame, ginger and Thai curry. Serve them with velvety coconut Thai curry sauce, rice noodles and fresh veggies for a beautiful and crave-worthy meal.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large heavy skillet, add 1 tbsp of sesame oil over medium heat. Pan fry onions for 2-3 minutes or until softened and translucent, stirring occasionally. Add in the garlic and ginger and cook another 30 seconds.
Scoop the onion mixture into a food processor. Add in the curry paste, lime juice and tahini. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Leave mixture in food processor.
In the skillet, heat 2 tbsp of sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add in the mushrooms, cooking for 5-8 minutes or until browned. Allow them to sear and stir occasionally to prevent burning,
Add the mushrooms, chickpeas, rice, cilantro and nuts to the food processor. Pulse a few times to combine but not so much that the mixture becomes a paste. You should see pieces of mushroom and chickpeas.
With a small bowl of sesame oil on your work surface to oil your hands, roll the mixture into balls. Using a cookie scoop helps control the size - each one should be about 2-3 tbsp. If they are too big, they will be more fragile. Oil your hands as needed, and place the balls on the baking sheet leaving about an inch between each meatball. You should get about 36 meatballs. Bake for 25-30 minutes, gently turning the balls half way through for more even cooking. Don't worry if they are flatter on one side. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray before moving them.
For the Rice Noodles:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles. Turn of the heat. Stir the noodles oaccssiionlly to break them up. Let them soak for 3-8 minutes depending on how wide the noodles are. Taste them to be sure. When done, drain them, rinse with running water, then toss with sesame to prevent sticking. Toss again before serving to loosen them up.
For the Coconut Curry Sauce:
In a medium-sized pot or skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Sauté the shallot for 2 minutes or until sftened. Add in the ginger and garlic, cooking for another 30 seconds. Whisk in the curry paste, then pour in the canned coconut milk. Whisk until the curry paste is blended in, bringing to a simmer. Add in the soy sauce, rice vingar and maple syrup. Remove from heat.
Serve rice noodles topped with vegan chickpea meatballs, shredded cabbage, carrots and cucumber. Drizzle the curry sauce over the top. Alternatively, toss the rice noodles with the sauce and serve immediately with the meatballs and veggies in top. The rice noodles will become stickier as they sit in the sauce. Garnish with lime wedges, green onions and sesame seeds , if desired. Enjoy!
For a Gluten-Free meal, use a gluten-free soy sauce.The meatballs can be chilled ahead of time and baked later, they also freeze well.Spoon the curry sauce over the meatballs , keeping any extras separate. The sauce will soften the meatballs in the fridge.