Appetizers/ Dinner/ vegetarian

Eggplant Meatballs

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Today’s recipe is for a vegetarian meatball alternative,  eggplant meatballs.  Read on for all the recipe details.

eggplant meatball atop spaghetti

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.

eggplant meatballs

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. 🙂

"meatless meatballs" - made with eggplant

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).

eggplant parm meatballs

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! 🙂

eggplant meatballs - a great meatless alternative to the traditional meatball

Regardless, we hope you enjoy these eggplant meatballs. Here’s the recipe:


eggplant meatballs

Eggplant Meatballs

Eggplant meatballs. Basically, these are eggplant parm in meatball form.  Top pasta, pizza, or subs.
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Dinner, vegetarian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 178kcal
Author: mywifecancook


Roasted Eggplant Ingredients

  • 3 eggplant medium sized
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Meatball Ingredients

  • 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.


Calories: 178kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 579mg | Potassium: 558mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 1.3mg

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  • Reply
    Lisa Lotts
    December 1, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    5 stars
    Greg, I love the idea of a meatless meatball for keeping dinner healthy and delicious. I try to lean toward the more vegetables, less meat side of the scale, but I don’t always succeed. Thanks for this great idea!

    • Reply
      January 5, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      You’re welcome! We definitely try to eat more veggies than meat, and recipes like this really help us do that!

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