Nutrition Recipes

Tempeh and chickpeas meatballs with sauce recipe (VEG)

Tempeh and chickpeas meatballs with sauce recipe (VEG)

by in Nutrition - Recipes

last updated: April 09, 2020

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To vary our diet, there is nothing better than trying new recipes, such as these vegetable meatballs in tomato sauce with tempeh and chickpea, perfect to be eaten in a delicious veggie burger.

How often do you eat legumes? If you don't follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, I bet that the answer is "sometimes" or "rarely" and to the question, "how often do you eat fermented foods like tempeh?" the answer is probably "rarely" or "never".


This happens for two reasons. On the one hand, because fermented food is quite foreign to our traditional eating habits. On the other hand, we are led to exclude legumes from the diet due to intestinal problems (swollen belly, constipation, flatulence) even if these consequences are nothing more than the result of the disaccustom of consuming legumes!


Those who regularly eat legumes have "specialized" bacterial flora capable of tolerating them and can manage them well without incurring annoying abdominal pains. Let's find out more about the two protagonists of today's recipe: tempeh and chickpeas.




Tempeh is originally from Indonesia and its best-known version is that derived from soy.

Tempeh is made by fermenting cooked soybeans thanks to the molds of the Rhizopus genus. The fermentation takes place for about 2-5 days at 30 degrees, and during this time the hyphae develop which inserts themselves into the beans by binding them together. For molds to be able to penetrate beans, the seeds themselves must be stripped of the fibrous envelope.


Tempeh is also extremely versatile in the kitchen, and is often used as a substitute for meat in stews, sauces, or fried. The best way to use it, however, is raw or warmed, combining it with other ingredients only at the end of their cooking, or accompanying it alone to the preferred seasoning. Only in this way is its probiotic properties are preserved.


It is a good idea to include tempeh in your diet because it is an exceptional source of probiotics. Microorganisms are still alive and vital at the time of consumption and therefore contribute to enriching the bacterial colonies that form our intestinal microbiota.


Chickpeas contain a remarkable variety of vitamins, minerals and beneficial elements for the body:

  • B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6),
  • folate,
  • vitamin C and E,
  • potassium, calcium phosphorus and magnesium,
  • omega 3,
  • dietary fiber.

They also have high satiating power. It is always recommended to consume chickpeas (and other legumes) together with a whole-grain cereal (for example a plate of brown rice) to complete its amino acid pool.

Tempeh and chickpeas meatballs with tomato sauce 

polpette veg al sugo


Today's recipe is a dietetic and veg reinterpretation of the famous Italian recipe of meatballs with sauce. We will in fact make delicious vegetable meatballs with sauce suitable for everyone, vegetarian, vegan and otherwise.



Watch the video with the recipe preparation!





  • 150g natural tempeh
  • 240g of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon of parmesan (vegetarian option) or flake yeast (vegan option)
  • Chives
  • Garlic and onion powder
  • Salt to taste.
  • 300ml of organic tomato sauce
  • 1 red onion
  • Water to taste
  • Raw oil (optional)




  1. First mix the tempeh and the well-drained chickpeas. Add salt and spices, parmesan or flake yeast (they are optional but still recommended for the final flavor).
  2. Create a consistency similar to pongo, in this way it will be easy to handle the dough and create meatballs.
  3. Form meatballs of the size and shape you prefer by working a little dough with your hands. Alternatively, you can make hamburgers, giving the shape with your hands or helping yourself with a pastry cutter.
  4. In the meantime, finely chop an onion or a shallot, and leave to dry in a non-stick pan together with a drop of water.
  5. At this point, pour the tomato sauce and season with salt. Let the sauce cook completely, and only then dip the meatballs.
  6. They will have to warm up for 1 or 2 minutes maximum otherwise they will melt! Alternatively, you can cook the meatballs separately in a red-hot non-stick pan, a couple of minutes per side, or in the oven at 180 degrees for 5 minutes.


Macros for the recipe:

C 43 g; P 74.6 g; F 12.5 g


Today's recipe is ideal for helping to reduce meat consumption and create excellent veg burgers. It is also an example of how to use tempeh and legumes in the kitchen, to insert these food sources into our daily diet, always taking care to maximize the taste and goodness of the prepared dishes!

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