I returned to the spaghetti and beanballs this evening, this time using pinto beans instead of chickpeas. I ran into some problems, though. The recipe said you want to start with about 3 cups of beans, which prompted me to use two 15-oz cans because the can said each can yields 3.5 1/2 cup servings. So I stuck with the rest of the recipe, with two minor exceptions. I added a little bit of minced onion (a follow-up on my idea from last time), and again, we still don't have any steak sauce, so I used ketchup in place of that.
But here's the problem. I think 3 cups is the wrong starting number, because the beanballs completely fell apart on me. The problem? 1/4 cup of wheat gluten is too little to seitanize three cups of beans.
The good news is that the beanballs taste much better with pinto beans than chickpeas. And I also chopped up some of the roasted bell peppers we had in the freezer and threw them in the sauce, which gave a nice, smoky flavor.
Mixed results, all in all. But I think I should have either halved the beans or doubled the wheat gluten.