Next in our Meatball Series is Eggplant “Meat”balls, served over pasta and Marinara Sauce. Takes Spaghetti & Meatballs to a whole new level. This vegetarian recipe is very simple. It makes a great meal for the whole family. Even carnivores. I love the idea of meatless meatballs. I also love the idea of spaghetti and meatballs. With a twist.
These delicious Eggplant Meatballs are made with sautéed eggplant, white cannellini beans, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs. Top them with fresh cheese, and served over your favorite marinara sauce with pasta. This dish is so tender and flavorful, that you won’t even notice they’re completely meat-free.
The Italian spices are the stars of the dish. Use good bread crumbs and good parmesan cheese. Your taste buds will thank you.
- Sauté Pan
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound eggplant peeled and cut into one inch cubes
- Salt & pepper to taste while sauteing
- 1 onion or shallot chopped
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 can cannellini beans
- 1 tsp each Italian spices – Oregano, Basil, Thyme
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
- Pinch red chili flakes optional
- 2 cups any Marinara/tomato/red sauce
- Chopped basil or chopped parsley for garnish
- Parmesan Cheese as desired for topping
- Pre-Heat the oven to 375°F.
- Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
- Put 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Sauté the diced eggplant. Then, add water as needed to pan to avoid sticking to pan
- Sprinkle eggplant with the Italian herbs, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pieces shrivel a bit and are tender and beginning to color, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Transfer the eggplant to the bowl of a food processor.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan along with the onion and garlic and return to the heat.
- Sauté onion & garlic, until they’re soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the drained, rinsed beans and parsley to the food processor with the eggplant and pulse until well combined and chopped, but not pureed.
- In a bowl, toss the eggplant/bean mixture with the onion and garlic,
- Add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan Cheese and red chili flakes
- Roll the mixture into about a dozen “Meat”balls about 2 inches round
- Transfer them to the prepared pan.
- Turn meatballs halfway through cooking about 10 minutes
- Bake until they are firm and well browned, 20-25 minutes.
- While the meatballs bake in oven, warm the tomato sauce.
- If serving pasta with the eggplant meatballs, cook pasta according to package directions, in a pan of boiling, salted water.
- Serve the meatballs with the tomato sauce, over pasta
- Top with basil if desired and Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Garlic Bread makes a great accompaniment
These meatless meatballs are so much more than just eggplant balls. Yes, they are made with eggplant. And they are in the shape of golf balls. And, yes, they are meatless.
But these tasty eggplant-filled tiny balls are so much more than that. They’re delicious and filled with amazing Italian flavors thanks to fresh herbs and parmesan cheese.
These Eggplant Meatballs are not vegan, in case you were wondering. But you can make them Vegan if you like.
Best things about Eggplant Meatballs
- You can make them ahead of time.
- Or, make extra and freeze the leftovers for later.
- They make an easy appetizer, snack, or main for all your meatless Monday needs.
- Kids love them.
If you like these Eggplant “Meat”balls, try our recipe for Korean BBQ Meatballs
Our e-Cookbook, Vol 1 “Sauces” is free and available to download. You can find it here. Vol 2 “Soups”, should be out soon.
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