First off, what do you even call these?? They aren’t meatballs per se, veggieballs? That just sounds weird…
I have made these several times now and LOVE them. I had made The Thai, Turkey and Zucchini Meatballs (recipe to follow!) and wanted to try making a different type of meatball. Our Eggplant is going crazy and since I have never made anything with eggplants before I thought I would try making these. This recipe I found on skinnytaste.com. My sister first introduced me to this blog and now I have her cookbook, I love how healthy her dishes are.
Jim and I have discussed vegetarianism and although we aren’t necessarily going vegetarian I really wanted to try and make some dishes that were as vegetarian was possible (post for Falafel coming soon!).
Of course I won’t get rid of all meat, I love the versatility of chicken and pork. But I do like the idea of limiting red meat. I hate the idea of limiting anything in my diet but Jim limits sugar and salt naturally and being around him has forced me to change my diet and I’ve felt better for it.
Notes From the Farmer
When you grow your own food, get used to certain times of having a ton of one type of vegetable. Eggplant is one of those plants. I planted 6 eggplant seedlings in June and by the end of August and into September we’re now getting almost one big eggplant per day. Having versatile recipes is key to be able to use certain foods in multiple ways. My go to is stir fry with whatever vegetables I have available. With eggplant it never made the best stir fry ingredient, but with the eggplant ‘meatballs’ it provides a great texture and taste to the eggplant. Eggplant was quite low maintenance, once planted I kept it watered and it adapted quickly and well.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 24 smaller “meat”balls
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 lbs unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp chopped basil
1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs – low or no salt
1 large egg, beaten
2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Homemade Marinara Sauce – recipe here
Heat the oven to 375°F. Cover a baking sheet in foil and spray it with cooking spray.
Place 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When hot add the eggplant and 1/4 cup water. Cook, turning occasionally until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.
(I recently acquired a food processor for the first time, it’s a cheaper brand but works great and I swear I use it every time I cook. It’s a great purchase and I highly recommend it!)
Transfer to a bowl and add bread crumbs, pepper, salt, beaten egg, Romano cheese, parsley, garlic and chopped basil into the eggplant.
Form the eggplant mixture into 24 balls about 1 tablespoon each, rolling tightly and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until firm and browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Heat the marinara in a skillet and add the meatballs and serve.Share Now!