My food philosophy is simple – I just want to cook and eat food that excites me and others. And while I’m mostly an omnivore (with the exception of mushrooms….), I love eating and trying a diverse range of foods. I always get really excited about vegan cooking in particular though, because vegetables & pulses have so much to offer and can taste really amazing. I am a particularly big fan of preparing and eating food that’s naturally vegan and not trying to imitate say bacon or sausages… The Ottolenghi Root Vegetable Stew I uploaded a few days ago and these ‘meat’ balls are a true testament of that. They go with a delicious vegan mayo too and that’s a recipe I’ll be using anytime I need vegan mayo! I adapted this recipe from a Bulgarian magazine Menu by making it gluten-free, clarifying the recipe a little bit and making it a little simpler.

More vegan recipes on the blog: Root Vegetable StewChickpea, tomato and spinach curry, Cauliflower fritters and Quick spinach, sweet potato and coconut stew.

Vegan chickpea & squash ‘meat’ balls with vegan mayo

Serves 4 | Prep 15 mins | Cook 50 mins
Easy | Gluten and Dairy-free | Vegan


You’ll need:

  • Olive oil;
  • 500g squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1 cm cubes;
  • 1 leek, finely chopped;
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed;
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped;
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped;
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin.

For the vegan mayo:

  • 1 cup sunflower oil;
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened soya milk;
  • 1/3 tsp lemon juice;
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard;
  • 1/3 tsp salt;
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed.

First, cook the squash. Heat the oven to 220C/ 200C fan/ gas mark 7. Put the squash in a roasting tin, drizzle with a little olive and season. Cover with foil and cook for 20-25 mins until cooked through and soft. Set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep frying pan and cook the leek on medium heat until soft. Add the chickpeas, the cooked squash, sundried tomatoes, chilli cumin and season. Stir well. Once the ingredients have warmed through, take the pan away from the heat. Using a potato masher, mash the ingredients together into a rough mash.

Allow the cool slightly until it’s cool enough to handle. Start to farm meatballs from the mixture – put a couple of tbsp of the mixture in your palm and form a meatball slightly bigger than a golf ball. Repeat until you’ve used the whole mixture. Plate in a roasting tin, drizzle with 1-2 tbsp olive oil and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the vegan mayo. Add all ingredients into a blender and mix in a low setting for a few seconds. You are looking for a thick, mayo-like consistency so just pulse it until you get there – this shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds.

Serve the chickpea meatballs with the vegan mayo, some fresh salad and flatbreads.

Adapted from Menu magazine, available online in Bulgarian here.