Chickpea cutlets with savory mustard sauce are the definition of simple decadence. Whip up these no-fuss cutlets the food processor and while they bake, whisk up a savory mustard sauce that caters to the mustard lovers’ in your life.
You might think that cutlets smothered in a savory sauce along with a few sides as a meal best reserved when time is not at a premium. In terms of time and effort, it won’t compete with opening a can of soup or reheating leftovers on the stove. But this one is definitely something you can easily make after a busy day. It's also fancy enough for a special dinner. This is a recipe without complication.
You don’t need tons of time to make yummy cutlets. You don’t need fancy ingredients and or kitchen tools. And although the method is well-suited for plant-based beginners, the results will distinguish you as a pro.
In creating lots of opportunities for making chickpea cutlets (because I love them), I’ve done a bit of reworking of this recipe. Finally, I think I have it ‘right’. Originally, I used seitan (vital wheat gluten) as the binder; however, I wanted much prefer using ground oats and leaving the seitan for tempeh burgers and sausage patties.
Ground oats, when combined with mashed chickpeas, create a firmer texture for the cutlets. This means they are less likely to fall apart when you form the culets and bake them. Besides, oats are cheaper and easier to find.
How to make cutlets
Start by giving the oats a few turns in the food processor by themselves. This helps to break them down. It’s more challenging to accomplish that when they are combined with other ingredients.
After you have the oats ready, add the rest of the ingredients as you prep them. It's a 5 minute job at best. Take a moment after you peel the onion and cut off the ends to chop it into four pieces or more. That helps them to break down and distribute the flavor throughout. You want small bits of onion per bite – not hunks. The same goes for the garlic. Mince it into four pieces, and you are good to go.
You can use either flat-leaf (Italian) parsley or curly parsley for your cutlets. Don’t skip the fresh herb. It adds a bright, ‘herby’, and slightly bitter flavor that enhances the other ingredients. And, yep, you can use the tender stems along with the leaves.
To my taste buds, flat parsley has a more robust taste than curly, but I’d stick with equal amounts. You don’t want to be overwhelmed with this flavor.
When you get everything in the processor, give it a few spins and then check on the consistency. A few chickpea chunks add interest to the texture, so you don’t want the result completely pulverized into smoothness.
If you discover that the mixture is too dry to form into balls and eventually, cutlets, then add a tablespoon of water. Check it. Add another if necessary. I usually end up adding 2 tablespoons of water.
After that, take each ball, roll them into the whole-wheat breadcrumbs, and then form your cutlets. You can also substitute panko for the breadcrumbs; however, panko is traditionally made from white bread. If you want to stay within the guidelines of whole food, plant-based eating, try to stick to breadcrumbs that adhere to the Forks Over Knives bread guidelines. These include:
Oat flour (check to see if your brand is gluten-free)
Brown rice flour
Oat flour (check to see if your brand is gluten-free)
(The flours on this list from Amaranth down are all gluten-free).
When you make the cutlets, try not to get them too thick (no more than ½ and inch). You should get about 6 cutlets from the mix. You want them to be relatively the same size and thickness. This ensures that they cook evenly.
I’ve found that it’s easiest to place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. This keeps them from sticking. This means easy flipping and serving without losing the crusty coating of breadcrumbs.
While your cutlets are peacefully baking, it’s time to put together the mustard sauce. It’s a savory gravy combination with a base of red onions, garlic, and thyme. With, of course, mustard! Mustard powder is boosted by your favorite prepared mustard. I have a favorite that is a bit mild, so I often top it off with a teaspoon (or more) of Dijon or English mustard to give it a kick.
Making this gravy goes really quickly, so I advise that you take a moment to gather everything. This includes mixing 1 tablespoon of arrowroot (or flour or cornstarch) with ¼ of a cup of water. I just grab a small dish, mix it up with a fork, and then give it a quick mix right before I add it.
The premixing of arrowroot before adding is one of those gravy tricks that’s good to know. It’s called a slurry. When you see that term in cooking, it means mixing liquid with a powdered thickening agent before adding it to the contents of the hot pan. In short, it’s lump protection. This isn't guaranteed lump immunity, but if you immediately start whisking after you add the slurry, you can get pretty darned close to perfection.
This brings me to an important point – one I’ve learned from my own mistakes. If you decide your sauce is too thin, don’t add more arrowroot directly in your haste. First, give the sauce time to simmer (at least 5 minutes). Be sure you don’t have the heat too high. You don’t want it boiling. If it still isn’t thickening as much as you like, mix more arrowroot with water and then add it to the sauce.
Because we aren’t sauteing in oil, you might discover that the onions start sticking or are at risk of burning. Watch the heat and add a tablespoon of vegetable broth or more as needed to control the heat. Think low simmer throughout the cooking process.
Who’s up for cutlets smothered in a savory mustard sauce? I am! I love making this meal on cooler weeknights with a few mashed potatoes or just steamed veggies (they love mustard sauce too). It makes the middle of the week kind of special.
This is also a delightful meal for a Sunday dinner or when folks come around. You can make the chickpea cutlet mix a day ahead of time and then just roll then and pop them in the oven.
Not a mustard fan?
I get that, but heck, these cutlets are great with any number of gravies. We personally love this with savory mushroom gravy. My advice is to plan and, if necessary, make extra gravy so you can cover the entire plate. You know you’ll want to.
Comfort food is more than what’s on your plate – it's also perception. We know that healthy, plant-based food can make us feel 'good', but comfort food is a different level of satisfaction. Even the healthy stuff needs to make you feel indulged. I call it simple decadence. Sometimes, nothing else will do. Peace.Print
Chickpea cutlets are baked, oil-free while you make a savory mustard sauce for a decadently healthy plant-based dinner that’s easy enough for weeknights.
- 2/3 cup of rolled oats
- 3 cups of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (2 – 15 oz. or 400 gm. cans)
- 1 small onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
- ½ cup of parsley (either flat leaf/Italian or curly)
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. water, as needed
- 1 cup dry breadcrumbs (substitute cornmeal or gluten-free breadcrumbs if desired)
- 1 Tbsp. arrowroot (or corn starch/flour)
- ¼ cup of water or broth (for mixing arrowroot) Tbsp. water
- 1 small red onion, diced small
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 tsp. mustard powder
- ¼ cup prepared mustard
- 2 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
- Preheat the oven 4000 F (2200 C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- *If you need to make breadcrumbs using your food processor, start with that.
- Add the oats to your food processor (or blender) and blend them until they breakdown into a powder.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except the breadcrumbs. Process until the ingredients are blended but with a bit of texture left.
- Divide the mixture into 6 even parts and form balls.
- Roll each ball in the breadcrumbs and then form cutlets about ½ an inch thick. Place them on the baking sheet.
- Bake the cutlets in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, until they begin to brown on top. Flip them and bake for an additional 15 minutes until they are golden.
- While the cutlets bake, gather what you need for the mustard sauce.
- In a small bowl or cup, combine 1 Tbsp. of arrowroot with ¼ cup of water. Stir well to mix it through.
- Heat a saucepan to medium heat and add the diced red onion, saute for 3 minutes to soften the onions and allow them to release their sugars. If the onions begin to stick, add water or vegetable broth a tablespoon at a time.
- Add the garlic, thyme, and mustard powder. Stir for 30 seconds.
- Whisk in the prepared mustard, then add the soy sauce and vegetable broth.
- Let the sauce simmer for 2 minutes until it is well-blended. Add the arrowroot and water or broth. Give it a stir before you add it.
- Whisk or stir the sauce for a few minutes and simmer for another 5 minutes to thicken it up.
- If you do not have a food processor, you can still make chickpea cutlets with similar results. Use a spice or coffee grinder to break down the oats. Mash the chickpeas with a fork or masher along with the ground oats. Then add diced onions, the minced or pressed garlic, and chopped parsley. Add the salt and pepper and mix everything well. Continue per the instructions.
- I used mild prepared mustard; however, if you want a bit more kick, consider adding a teaspoon of Dijon or English mustard.
- Make whole-wheat breadcrumbs using your food processor. Simply add lightly toasted or dry bread and give it a few turns to break it down. You can also substitute your favorite gluten-free bread for this purpose.
- Panko can be substituted for the breadcrumbs as can cornmeal. Regarding the panko, search out whole-grain options, if possible.
- Category: Main courses
- Cuisine: Plant-based
Keywords: chickpea cutlets with savory mustard sauce