Black Eyed Pea Balls in Chipotle BBQ Sauce

meatballsServes 4 as a main course

Black Eyed Pea Balls:
-2 ½ cups cooked black eyed peas
-2 tablespoons soy sauce
-2 tablespoons chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
-2 teaspoons olive oil
-1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
-1/2 cup whole wheat panko-style bread crumbs
-1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
-1/2 teaspoon oregano
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

-1/2 cup BBQ Sauce
-1/4 cup vegetable broth
-3 tablespoons lemon juice
-1/2 ounce Dijon mustard
-3 tablespoons chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce, minced
-1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mash the black eyed peas in a mixing bowl until no whole beans are left. I like to mash mine totally smooth, but you can adapt the texture to your liking. Add the soy sauce, chipotles in adobo, oil, garlic, lemon zest, bread crumbs, wheat gluten, and herbs, and use a fork to mix everything together. Using your hands knead the mixture together until everything is well combined and firm, about 1 minute.
Roll the black eyed pea mixture into walnut-size balls. I ended up with 28.
Place the balls on a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom, then flip them and bake for another 10 minutes.
While the black eyed pea balls are baking, combine all sauce ingredients in a blender. Separate the sauce in half, one for basting and one for dipping.
Remove black eyed pea balls from the oven and baste with sauce. Bake another 5 minutes. Serve with extra sauce on the side.

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