Chickpea Polpetas in Beetroot Sauce

Gluten-free and vegetarian (contain eggs) chickpea polpetas in beetroot sauce.

Ohhh, polpetas! Love them! Not the meaty kind though 😉

The versatility of beans and grains that can be used to make polpetas is amazing. However, my experiment today was not the polpetas, but the sauce to go with them.

You’re thinking: hum, how about pasta sauce? Some tomato puree?

But how about being a bit more creative and daring?

I say: Let’s!

I had some beetroot in the fridge that were in desperate need of being eaten. Throwing food away is not my thing!

I deliberated for a few minutes. I didn’t want my sauce to come out too sweet because of the beetroot.

So, here’s what I did:

  • Sliced two medium size beetroots
  • Half onion
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed then chopped into smaller bits
  • a hand-full of parsley or spring onions
  • half tea spoon of coriander
  • half tea spoon of cumin
  • half tea spoon of smoked paprika
  • half tea spoon of maize
  • Black pepper and salt as you wish

First, I cooked the chopped onions in grape seed oil til golden. Then, added salt, black pepper and the sliced beetroot.

Cooked the mixture for three minutes. Then, added the garlic and the rest of the spices. Stirred for a minute to make sure the beetroot was well coated with the spices. I put the lid on and let it cooked on low heat for 5 minutes.

I removed the lid and added about 50 ml of white wine and let it cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Added 1/2 cup of boiled water and 1/2 tea spoon of maize to thicken the sauce. I brought up the heat to medium and let the sauce cook for another 5 minutes, stirring every now and then to make sure that the maize wouldn’t sit on the bottom of the pan.

I added the chickpea polpetas once I turned off the stove, and gently rolled them in the sauce so they could get that beetroot’s vibrant red color.

As for the chickpea polpetas:

  • Soak about 1 cup of chickpea for four hours (at least). This will make the process of cooking them a lot faster
  • Cook the chickpeas for 35-40 minutes in the same water they’d been soaking
  • Let the chickpea cool down, then drain them before putting them in a food processor with some olive oil, two eggs, garlic granules, salt and pepper.
  • Turn everything in to a puree. Do not use too much oil so that the sauce won’t go too soft. I used about 1/4 cup of oil. Coconut oil works too. You will have to melt it though, before mixing it with the chickpeas in the food processor. The eggs will make the dough stick together enough for you to roll it into smaller balls.

In order to make them extra healthy, instead of frying the polpetas, bake them! It takes about 30 minutes at 200°C (in an electric oven) to bake them evenly.

And if you want them to also be gluten-free (like I do!), form the little polpetas and roll them on some gluten-free bread crumbs or (my favorite) on polenta corn flour (or coarsely-ground cornmeal). Place the coated polpetas on a non-sticking baking tray (or use baking paper to cover the bottom of the tray).

Polenta flour will turn golden when baked, and give the polenta an extra crispy coat. Yum!

You can serve the polpetas with any pasta of your choice. I picked spaghetti today.


Chickpea polpetas: juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside!

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