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Baked Split Pea Meatballs {vegan, gluten-free, high protein}

Grab the bag of split peas in your pantry and make a batch of baked split pea meatballs! They are vegan, gluten-free, high in protein & fiber, and so tasty, both for meals and snacking!

yellow split pea meatballs on a hammered metal plate with beet noodles alongside

Yellow Split Pea Love

The only way I ate split peas for the first two decades of my life was in soup form. Specifically, my mother’s soul-satisfying, and so flavorful, split pea soup (always accompanied by homemade–by my Dad–biscuits or cornbread). Mom always used yellow split peas, which have a milder flavor than the green variety, so I’ve always preferred them.

Green split peas, not yellow, are the default in most U.S. supermarkets, so I was over the moon when I recently discovered that my local Mexican grocery stores keep the yellow variety in stock in stock. Yippee whahoo!  (Question: Am I the sole person on this planet who cheers for split peas?).

I bought (ahem) a few bags. Make that many  (too many?) bags. Plan on witnessing my split pea spending spree in some upcoming posts, beginning right now with these lovelies: Baked Split Pea Meatballs

pie tin flled with baked split pea meatballs

Split Peas are Pure Power

If split pea soup is not your jam, then these hearty, no-meat meatballs may be the recipe that sway you to split peas more generally.

I sure hope so, because, oh my goodness, split peas–whether green or yellow–are one heck of a power food to add to your eating agenda! They are an all-in-one balance of healthy carbohydrates, protein, and even trace amounts of healthy fat.

Split peas are rich in the type of carbohydrates we all need: high-fiber, slow-burning carbs. Split peas have a low glycemic index (that means no blood sugar spikes after eating a bowlful) and a whopping 16 grams of fiber per cooked cup. Plan to feel happy, satisfied and energized for many hours. 

Split peas are also rich in B vitamins (especially folate and thiamin), manganese, magnesium, zinc and folate. They are serious defense against the winter cold season! In closing for this mini cheerleading session, you can reap all these split pea benefits for about $1 per 1-pound bag.

Ingredients for Baked Split Pea Meatballs

All righty, let’s get back to the meatballs, shall we? The ingredients are familiar, frugal, and pantry-friendly:

  • Yellow split peas (green split peas work, too)
  • Long grain brown rice
  • Chopped onions
  • Garlic
  • Italian herb blend or herbes de Provence (or many other options; see recipe notes)
  • Chickpea flour 
  • Fresh parsley
  • Olive oil (or the oil of your choice)
  • Salt & pepper

ingredients for baked split pea meatballs laid out, in small bowls, on a baking sheet

How to Make Split Pea Meatballs 

Begin by sautéing a medium onion, chopped, in a bit of olive oil (or the oil of your choice) until softened. It should take about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the minced garlic and dry herbs to the saucepan and cook, stirring for 1 more minute. 

Add the split peas,

collage of two photosfor the prep of pea meatballs, one with sautéed onions

Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the saucepan and cook for 40 to 45 minutes longer, or until the rice is cooked through, the peas are very tender, and most (but not all) of the liquid is absorbed. You cannot quite tell from the photo below, but there is still some liquid in the pan.

cooked brown rice and yellow split peas in a saucepan

Add the parsley, chickpea flour, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir to combine, smooshing (that’s my highly technical lingo) the peas and rice so that some of the peas and rice are broken down (but not all), and the mixture comes together into a dough, Be vigorous with your stirring, but not manic–aim for a rustic mix (some smooth, some bumpy) for the best texture.

cooked peas and rice with the additions of chopped parsley and chickpea flour

Once mixed, the consistency of the meatball dough should come together, but still be moist. If it seems dry, add a few teaspoons of additional water; if too wet, add a few teaspoons more chickpea flour.

wooden bowl with split pea meatball mixture

Scoop and Shape the Meatballs

Scoop out heaping tablespoons of the meatball dough. I used my trusty small cookie scoop, but a regular spoon will likewise do the trick. Roll each portion into a ball and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

You may need to stop and wipe off your hands as you roll the meatballs (the meatball dough is tacky). 

vegan pea meatballs, scooped out and rolled, ready to be baked

Bake the Meatballs

Bake in a preheated 425F oven for 12 to 15 minutes until the meatballs are golden brown and appear crispy at the edges. If you like, give the meatballs a spritz of cooking spray before baking (or in the last few minutes) for extra crispiness.

baked split pea meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Will you eat a big plate of these for dinner, with some spiralized vegetables, or more rice? Enclose a few in a warm piece of pita or naan?

close of of vegan meatballs atop beet noodles

Or eat them straight up (or dipped in warm marinara) as a newfangled snack?!

close up of vegan meatball made out of peas, with a bite taken out

I suggest making a double batch and trying all of the above!

Happy cooking (and eating)!

More Split Pea Recipes to Try:

  1. 1-Ingredient Split Pea Tortillas {Vegan, Grain-Free}
  2. Baked Split Pea-Nuts {nut-free, high protein}
  3. Swedish Split Pea Falafel {Grain-free, Vegan, Baked}
  4. Split Pea & Green Pea Soup {4 ingredients, Vegan, High Protein}
  5. Swedish Yellow Split Pea Soup {Vegan}
Yield: 20 meatballs

Baked Split Pea Meatballs {vegan, gluten-free}

close of of vegan meatballs atop beet noodles

Grab the bag of split peas in your pantry and make a batch of baked split pea meatballs! They are vegan, gluten-free, and so tasty, both for meals and snacking!

Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or the oil of your choice)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups finely chopped onion (about 1 medium-small onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence or dried Italian herbs
  • 1/2 cup (98 g) dried split peas (yellow or green), rinsed
  • 1/2 cup (90 g) long grain brown rice
  • 4 cups (1 L) water
  • 1/2 cup (packed) parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 6 to 7 minutes until softened. Add the garlic; cook and stir for 1 minute longer.
  2. Add the split peas, rice, dried herbs and 4 cups water to the pan. Bring to a boil; continue boiling for 15 minutes longer. Reduce heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for another 40 to 45 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through, the peas are very tender, and most (but not all) of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and cool slightly or completely.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425F  (210C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Add the parsley, chickpea flour, salt and pepper, stirring until combined. The mixture should be firm enough to shape, but still moist (add more water or chickpea flour as needed).
  5. Scoop 20 equal sized scoops (about a heaping tablespoon)of meatball mixture and shape each into a ball; place on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy-looking at the edges.
  7. Serve warm, plain or topped with any sauce of choice, or in a pita/naan, or as a snack.

Notes

Storage: Store the meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days or the freezer for up to 6 months.

Green Split Peas: Yes, you can definitely use green split peas to make this recipe! The only difference will be the final color.

Garlic Tip: In a pinch (or to save time), use 1 tablespoon garlic powder in place of the minced garlic.

Vary the Herbs: The dried Italian herbs can be replaced with other dried herbs or spices, to your liking. Add Indian spices, Middle Eastern spices, Mexican spices, or other dried herbs (e.g., dried tarragon, thyme, or dill).

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

5 meatballs

Amount Per Serving Calories 188Total Fat 4.5gSaturated Fat 0.6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 298.7mgCarbohydrates 34.1gFiber 7.6gSugar 3.4gProtein 8.6g

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @powerhungrycamilla on Instagram and hashtag it #powerhungrycamilla

 

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Jamie

Wednesday 9th of December 2020

Hi Camilla! I love your recipes. I share your site with everyone! Do you know if I can make the batter in advance (like in the morning), then pop these in the oven in time for supper? Will be serving these in combo with your chickpea oat tortillas! TY!

Camilla

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

Thank you, Jamie!! Yes, making the meatball "dough" ahead of time should be just fine :)

Dionne

Friday 13th of November 2020

Do you need to soak the split peas first?

Camilla

Friday 13th of November 2020

Hi Dionne, no, no need to soak first (one of the things I love about split peas and lentils, no need to presoak :))

Susan

Thursday 12th of November 2020

This recipe is right up my alley. So excited to try it out tomorrow 😬

Camilla

Friday 13th of November 2020

Great, thanks Susan!

Karla

Thursday 12th of November 2020

Looks amazing! I can't wait to try making them. I love split peas, green or yellow and am always looking for new ways to cook/bake with them. Have you seen the cookbook "Oats, Pease, Beans and Barley" by Edyth Young Cotrell? She uses split peas in interesting ways, like making "golden nuggets" - faux chicken nuggets from soaked pureed yellow split peas. I typed up the recipe and shared it on a friend's blog last year. https://theeclecticmother.com/2019/07/21/5-simple-budget-friendly-vegan-main-dishes/

Camilla

Thursday 12th of November 2020

Hi Karla! I'm so glad the meatballs appeal :) Ooh, and I am going to have to get a copy of that book, sounds perfect. I have been trying to think of more ideas for my split peas. Cannot wait to read your post :)

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