Today’s recipe is for a vegetarian meatball alternative, eggplant meatballs. Read on for all the recipe details.
That’s right a “meatless meatball”. It sounds weird to say because if it has the word meat in the title then it feels a little misnamed, however meatless meatballs abound on the web: from these vegetarian meatballs from Pinch of Yum to these full-on vegan meatballs from Minimalist Baker.
So, yup, the idea of a meatless meatball is a bit of an oxymoron, but I think meatball so often gets kept in the title because they are a meatball alternative which maintains the shape and usage we so closely associate with the original. Regardless, meatless meatballs are both an impossibility and a reality. 🙂
We love eggplant parmesan, so we decided to make eggplant meatballs. We still had some eggplant from the farmer’s market, due to such a mild fall so far, and decided to try “meatballs.”
Prepping your Eggplant for Eggplant Meatballs
This recipe starts similarly to our roasted eggplant dip by thinly slicing and roasting the eggplant until browned. Then removing the skin after the eggplant cools slightly and placing in the food processor. However, make sure you don’t blend until smooth like the dip recipe. The eggplant just needs to be slightly broken up for the meatballs (where in the dip you want it thoroughly blended to be more like a hummus consistency). Then add the other ingredients and cook in the oven (or brown in a skillet and then pour your favorite sauce over until heated).
What you do with your eggplant meatballs is up to you. This time around we went for the traditional spaghetti with meatballs option, but the choice is you to you; Serve with your favorite pasta and sauce, or on a bun like a meatball sub, or even just plain on a fancy toothpick with a dab of sauce, melted cheese, and basil as an appetizer bite. Or whatever else you can think up! For those of you who are truly rebels, maybe you could breakout some zucchini and a spiralizer and make spaghettiless spaghetti to go with your meatless meatballs. I know….your mind just exploded! 🙂
Regardless, we hope you enjoy these eggplant meatballs. Here’s the recipe:
Roasted Eggplant Ingredients
- 3 eggplant medium sized
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 egg
- Cut eggplant in 1/2 inch circles and place on a flour sack towel and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes, flip and sprinkle with salt and let sit for 15 additional minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Wipe moisture and salt off eggplant, brush both sides with olive oil, place in a single layer on sheet pans, and season.
- Cook for 15 minutes, flip, and cook for 15 minutes more until golden brown (may need an additional 5-10 minutes to completely turn golden brown).
- Let cool slightly, remove skins, place in food processor, and pulse slightly.
- Scrape eggplant into a bowl and add all other ingredients.
- Stir until combined.
- Scoop with a rounded tablespoon and form into balls.
- Place on a sheet and cook for 16-18 minutes.
- Serve with sauce over pasta, on pizza, or with sauce on a sub roll! Top with basil and parmesan cheese. Makes approximately 2 dozen balls.