Tandoori Baked Meatless Meatball Sub

December 04, 2017

Tandoori Baked Meatless Meatball Sub - Indian As Apple Pie

I was raised outside Philly. I like a good Hoagie. And, even though I prefer eating plant-based, what's not to love about a good meatball sub? 

Why I'm always looking for ways to make my favorite comfort foods vegetarian delicious. And, I'm always thinking about ways to take my current recipes and elevate.

It's what happened with my meatless meatballs recipe I posted previously. Sure, they were tasty. But they would be even healthier and more delicious with a little quinoa flour, on a bed of Tikka Masala, and made with Tandoori Masala instead of just garam masala, right? At least it's what I had in my head last week. I finally got into the kitchen and tried it and guess what? I was spot on! This was so delicious I made the recipe again three times - just to be sure. Yes, yes, and yes. Spot on! 

The key is using black chickpeas. Perfect for their texture and deep, earthy flavor. Cook and then process them down in a food processor. Then, add even more protein with quinoa flour. Sure, you can use besan (chickpea flour) instead, but then you're getting too much of that taste profile. I prefer the quinoa option here. The tandoori Masala just adds a little .... more. 

Tandoori Baked Meatless Meatballs  
Makes 25-30 

1-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cups cooked black chickpeas **
6-8 ounces firm organic tofu, crumpled
1/4 cup quinoa flour 
1 small onion, finely minced
2 Thai chiles, finely chopped
2 tablespoons kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), slightly crushed **
1 tablespoon tandoori masala 
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon red chile power or cayenne
1-2 teaspoons salt 
2 tablespoons oil (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If your oven does not run hot or if you are baking more than one thing at a time, then you may want to increase this to 375. 

2. In a food processor, grind down the ginger and chickpeas. Take your time. Push product down with a spatula from the sides if needed. Add tofu and grind until smooth. 

3. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. I use my hands. Wear gloves if you want to avoid touching the chiles. 

4. Form small balls with your hands. It helps to have a small bowl of water nearby to dip your hands in between forming the meatballs. 

5. Lightly spray a cast iron grill pan (I like using spray coconut oil). Can I just mention here that I love my Lodge?! In a single layer, add the meatballs to the pan. Lightly spray them them with oil. Place in oven and cook for a total of 40 minutes, turning in between and spraying again with a little oil. Serve with a side of mint and/or tamarind chutney. Or do as I do, spread some warmed Tikka Masala (sauce) onto a bun, add arugula wilted with a little olive oil and salt, and the meatballs. 

A little added oil does soften up the meatballs a bit. Eliminate if you are trying to avoid oil. The meatballs won't be as pretty once baked but will still taste delicious. 

* The only difference here versus the recipe in my book Indian For Everyone, is that here I cooked the black chickpeas. Either way will work. Cooking will give you a slightly softer texture. 

** soak your chickpeas at least an hour to overnight, drain, and then boil in water until soft, usually about 1 hour. 

*** kasoori methi can be found in most Indian grocery stores. Omit if you don't have, but try and get it when you have the opportunity. It adds a ton of flavor.

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