Next in our Meatball Series is Eggplant “Meat”balls, served over pasta and a Marinara Sauce. Takes Spaghetti & Meatballs to a whole new level. This vegetarian recipe is simple and makes a great meal for the whole family, even carnivores.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into one inch cubes
- Salt & pepper to taste (while sauteing)
- 1 onion or shallot, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 can cannellini beans
- 1 teaspoon each Italian spices – Oregano, Basil, Thyme
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons 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. 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 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
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