Correct me if I’m wrong here, but the best translation for “keftedes” is meatballs. That said, the Greeks make more kinds of meatballs without meat than with meat. I can think of patatokeftedes (potato meatballs), kolokithokeftedes (zucchini meatballs), kremidokeftedes (onion meatballs), and taramokeftedes (fish roe meatballs – amazing, by the way) for starters. And although I’ve never heard of them (outside of falafels), I’m betting that somewhere, sometime, some Greek made chickpea keftedes. I channeled this anonymous Greek the other day and came up with my own version. Husband’s review: “visionary.”

Chickpea Keftedes, why not?

Chickpea Keftedes, why not?

Chickpea Keftedes with Yogurt Dill Sauce

  • 3 c. cooked chickpeas (approx. 1 c. dry)
  • 2 c. diced potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan or romano cheese
  • 1/4 c. gluten-free nutritional yeast
  • 1 shot of ouzo
  • 3 T chopped fresh mint
  • salt to taste
  • gluten-free flour for dredging
  • 2 c. grapeseed oil for frying

Make the batter: Cook the chickpeas in a pressure cooker, covered with 2 inches of salted water (1/2 a teaspoon or so). If you’re using regular brown potatoes, peel them. If you’re using a thin-skinned potato like yukon gold, don’t bother. Dice them into 1-2″ cubes and steam or boil until a fork can be stuck into them smoothly. In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a fork or a potato masher if you have one. Add the potatoes and mash further. Don’t try to get a smooth paste – these are better with some chunky morsels in them. Add the mint, cheese, nutritional yeast, ouzo and olive oil and mix until combined. Taste for salt. Add the egg. Get ready for fryin’.

Fry ’em up good: Heat 1 c. of the grapeseed oil in a large frying pan. (I know grapeseed oil is a random ingredient – veggie oil works fine too, but I have been very impressed with grapeseed oil for frying. Apparently it has a higher smoking temperature which means it won’t evaporate at frying temps and gunk up your pan and kitchen with that nasty, hard-to-clean oily grawp.) Put 1/4 c. of gf flour on a large plate. Spoon out a golf ball-sized blob of the chickpea batter onto the plate and roll in flour. When the oil is hot, plop it in and flatten slightly. Fry on each side until a light golden brown. Serves 4.

Yogurt Dill Sauce

  • 1 c. plain yogurt
  • 2 T chopped fresh dill
  • 1 t. chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 t. salt

Directions: Mix von mix. Serve cold. Can be made a day in advance, but it’s so quick and easy, why bother?