{super healthy} spicy chickpea veggie-balls & ginger-sriracha sauce

“It doesn’t get easier, you just get better.”

the story

For just about 3 weeks, the husband and I have been doing Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live (click) 6-week plan. Dr. Fuhrman’s book reviews nutrient-dense foods and explains how (and why) we can (and should) break ourselves from food addiction, while losing weight. As avid gluttons and foodies, the husband and I have gained a few extra pounds since our move to Savannah last July. The two of us went from health nuts, judging people eating pizza, to making late night trips to Sonic, in order to satiate our sweet tooth. We were slacking on cooking at home, constantly ordering take-out and refusing to exercise. Because of this, our bank account was depleting and our muffin tops, expanding. Something needed to change.

My hubby’s friend came to visit last month. He looked so fit and healthy! When we asked what his secret was, he mentioned the Eat to Live diet. We were intrigued. Soon after, we bought the book ourselves and decided to try it for 6 weeks. It couldn’t be that hard, right?


We started this 6-week plan on May 5th and let me tell you, we were miserable. Exhausted. Irritable. H-angry. Headaches. Just pissed all the time. All I wanted was a freaking burger and fries so bad. We can not eat animal products of any kind. No fish. No eggs. No meat (of course). No dairy. All I could think is, “I’ll do this for one week and then I’ll eat a steak”. The worst part of the diet, for any cook, is that we can not use SALT, SUGAR or OIL!!!! Did you read that clearly? NO SALT. NO OIL. NO SUGAR. How is the food supposed to taste good? It’s not. That’s why it’s called Eat to Live and not Live to Eat.

Dr. Fuhrman talks about how we are so addicted to salt and sugar that when we remove them from our diets, our bodies will go through withdrawals, giving us all the horrible side effects that I listed earlier. The goal is to eat as many fruits and veggies as we want. Some grains, nuts and starches are okay.

The Color Run (me on the far left)

I can honestly say after doing this for 3 weeks, I am feeling great. I feel full, awake and empowered. We have been running 3-4 times a week (I just ran the Color Run 5K in 26 mins. this weekend) and playing tennis. When friends came over for a pool party, we didn’t shy away from a cook out. The hubs and I just made tofu “hotdogs” that were excellent. We all noshed on guacamole (no oil or salt) with carrot sticks and watermelon. The best part? My husband has lost almost 15 pounds and I have lost almost 7!

That’s hubby on the left (cooking tofu dogs)

I tell you all this to say my favorite quote: “It doesn’t get easier, you just get better.” This is always my mantra for running and eating healthy. I have been refusing to photograph our vegan meals, because they are not pretty nor do they taste divine. But tonight, I struck gold. With low-sodium soy sauce, jalapenos, garlic, sriracha and ginger, I made a meal worth sharing with all of you! A meal that had a fresh punch of heat and flavor, without the guilt. Enter Spicy Chickpea Veggie-Balls. Don’t be a baby, try it. If I like it, you will too! Ready?

the recipe

Spicy Balls


chickpea veggie-balls

  • 1 jalapeno, roughly chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup organic old-fashioned oats
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons ginger (I used the squeezed ginger by Spice World)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 zucchini, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, roughly chopped
  • salt (optional) to taste
  • course black pepper

ginger-sriracha sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lay out a baking pan with non-stick foil. Spray with Pam (I did not and they stuck to the foil).
  2. Combine ingredients for the sauce and whisk. Set aside.
  3. Combine oats, chickpeas, jalapeno, cilantro and garlic in food processor and pulse a few times to roughly chop. Do this is small batches if needed. Mixture should look chopped but not be mushy (add salt to taste, I did not).
  4. Saute the onion, zucchini, mushrooms and green pepper in 1 tablespoon olive oil or in a shallow bath of unsalted vegetable broth (which is what I did). Salt and pepper to taste (no salt for me). Cook until soft.
  5. Drain the excess liquids and combine the sauteed veggies in the food processor. Pulse until mushy.
  6. Combine veggie mixture with chickpea/oat mixture. Use your hands to mix thoroughly.
  7. Roll mixture into small balls, place on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Then broil for 2-5 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Using a cooking brush, brush the sauce on the top of the veggie-balls and serve with extra cilantro.

Enjoy this guilt-free meal that gives you a huge serving of veggies with intense {natural} flavors! Serve these as an appetizer with adorable tooth picks or as a meal with a veggie stir fry. Vegan and wholesome does not have to be boring!