Deeply Flavored Festive Vegan ‘Meatballs’

Light, yet deeply flavored artichoke and chickpea meatballs are served with pappardelle pasta tossed in a homemade pesto packed with fresh herbs and greens. Now this is a rich, impressive and truly decadent vegan holiday meal!

Seared artichoke hearts and chopped fresh tomatoes complete the dish.

This recipe is one of those “fooled ya” recipes. It looks expensive and fancy, but it is comprised primarily of vegan pantry staples. It looks time-consuming, but it comes together easily in the food processor. You’ll have gourmet pasta in no time!

festive vegan meatballs



  • 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 14 ounce can large artichoke hearts, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten (or flour of choice)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons white (yellow) miso
  • 1 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Zest and juice of one small lemon
  • 6 to 8 leaves fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flake
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 4 servings dry pappardelle (check to make sure it’s vegan!) or other pasta (according to package serving sizes)


Healthiest Vegan Recipes

Set four artichoke hearts aside for later. Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine all chickpea meatball ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture forms a rough paste – be careful not to over-process.

Scoop tablespoon-sized portions of the mixture and roll gently with your hands to form balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on one side, then flip over and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare your pesto sauce and set aside.

Prepare a large pot of boiling, salted water for your pasta.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Cut your reserved artichoke hearts in half lengthwise and sear with the cut side down for about five minutes without turning or moving them. The artichokes are done when there is even browning on the cut side. Set aside.

Now is a good time to start cooking your pasta.

Add the minced shallot to the skillet and cook until just translucent, about three minutes.

Add your pesto to the pan (approximately 1 cup) and gently nestle the meatballs into the sauce. Turn the meatballs once, then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for five minutes.

Drain the pasta. I find it is easiest to toss the pasta with one large scoop of pesto first, instead of tossing all the pasta with all the sauce and meatballs. Then plate the pasta first, top with sauce and meatballs, then garnish with the seared artichokes and diced tomatoes. Enjoy!

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