This is what I made with the turkey and chickpea mixture that was loitering at the back of my fridge; I had to use it up today, and really fancied meatballs, so here we are! I’ve kept them simple, and will serve them with spaghetti and a light tomato sauce, Lady And The Tramp style. Except there’s only one of me. I’ll leave it up to your good selves to smirk about whether I’m a lady or a tramp!


250g lean turkey mince

200g canned chickpeas

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp oil

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and put them in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until softened.

When the chickpeas are soft, remove from the heat and drain the water. Mash with a masher or fork until soft and pulpy. Tip the turkey mince and flour into the saucepan, and mix with the chickpeas until well combined.

Pop the pan into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill. This will make the mixture easier to shape into meatballs without it falling apart. If you don’t have half an hour but do have an egg, mix that in with an extra heaped tablespoon of flour to bind the mixture.

Flour your hands and prepare to get a bit sticky! Shape the meatballs with your hands by gently squeezing a small amount of the mixture together and rolling it in your palms to make a ball shape. You can have them as big or as small as you like; I err on the side of small ones to make sure they cook through properly, and of course that means I can make more! Repeat until all the mixture has been used up, popping them into a sauté or frying pan as you go.

Add the oil to the pan, and fry on a medium heat for 10 minutes, disturbing with a wooden spoon a few times to cook evenly and stop them from sticking.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MxJackMonroe


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  1. Yum! Love meatballs. Very kid friendly too. If you don’t want to get sticky while making the meatballs, don’t flour your hands, wet them. It really stops the meatballs sticking to your hands.

  2. I did not know Greek Salad Cheese existed & would never buy feta because it’s too expensive for my budget, so thank for that Jack. And this is another recipe I shall definitely be trying.

  3. Amazing – I brought cheap turkey mince yesterday to make meatballs and your receipe fell into my inbox as I was a bit clueless how to do it – fantastic post yesterday inspired me to invent receipes from what I had in the cupboards – I have never had the courage to do that before and it was all delicious

  4. Amazing Jac – saw this recipe when I opened my eyes this morning and promptly dug out the turkey mince and cooked chickpeas from the freezer. I did like P and dropped them into the tomato sauce and also added a grated onion to the mix. My 18-month-old loved them and I’m looking forward to my lunch already!
    Thanks for another great recipe. 🙂

  5. How and how long do you cook the chickpeas if they are dried not canned? I still have a lot of them but once I tried to cook them and they were so hard even after soaking in water for a couple of hours!
    The Hungarian way of meatballs is with soaked bread (you can use not so fresh bread for this) instead of chickpeas plus we add egg, garlic, salt and pepper to taste but you can add any kind of dried herbs you want and it will be lovely! Russian people also add gershin to the mix as far as I know! Then simply roll in breadcrumbs and fry. No sauce required, can be eaten with mash or fries or whatever. I will definitely try this recipe with the tomato sauce and pasta!

    • With dry chickpeas, soak them for at least twelve hours (usually I just put them in overnight and then come back to them the next afternoon) then put them in a pan covered with a lot of water, bring to the boil, then simmer for about an hour til they’re soft. It takes a fair amount of effort but you can do a huge batch at a time and it’s much cheaper than canned.

  6. I made these tonight. Sort of. I had a packet of pork mince from the reduced shelf so I used that. They were very nice. My packet of mince was double the size and I had to use it all so I doubled the other ingredients and made 37 meatballs of varying sizes which works out at about 8 portions (4-5) meatballs for my family. I cooked them in the oven 180 deg in my top, non fan oven for about 20 mins. Then froze half and heated the rest through in a tomato sauce and served with spaghetti. (If the mince hadn’t been frozen in the first place I would have frozen them uncooked, but had to cook them first to freeze again. Will make for a quick meal next time though just defrost and heat through). Lovely tasty meatballs 🙂

  7. Made some pork meatballs. Didn’t have any chickpeas, so I used some semolina, just dried, not cooked, to add to the mix. Added some dried mixed herbs and popped into the freezer for later next week.

  8. I often make a giant batch of small meatballs, about the size of a walnut, cook them, them open freeze them. Then just 4 meatballs each come out in frozen and get cooked in the same amount of time that pasta takes ( I Cook the meatballs in a basics tin of tomatoes with my added herbs) … A really quick after work supper for me and teenage daughters.

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