This year will be remembered as the “Year of the Eggplant.” I don’t remember other years when crops have fared so poorly, but the eggplants held on to outshine them all. They may be blemished from getting battered about in storms, but they’ve still provided delicious meals throughout the summer.
One of my favorite recipes substitutes eggplant for the ground beef in meatballs. At first, my husband was skeptical, but, one bite, and he declared that he did not notice the absence of meat. They were moist, hearty, and filling.
We ate the first batch as appetizers with a homemade marinara dipping sauce. I simmered the second batch in spaghetti sauce to serve over noodles. I was delighted to find the meatballs remained firm and held their shape.
Before summer’s end, I plan to make several more batches of eggplant meatballs. We’ll enjoy them on meatball subs, and I am going to try to freeze some to enjoy this winter. I am even thinking about making the mixture into patties that can be eaten like hamburgers.
If you have an abundance of eggplant, or you would like to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, you will want to try this recipe. You won’t miss the meat!
Meatless (Eggplant) Meatballs
- 1 small eggplant
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup canned white beans (navy or cannellini), rinsed and mashed
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Marinara Sauce for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick foil and place the eggplant on top. Pierce the eggplant several times with a fork. Roast eggplant in the oven until it has collapsed, about 40 minutes. Cool eggplant.
Slice the eggplant and scoop out the flesh, discarding the skin. Place the roasted eggplant in a medium bowl and stir in the egg and mashed beans. Add garlic, basil, Parmesan, ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine. Mix in breadcrumbs.
Preheat oven again to 375 degrees. Reline the rimmed baking sheet with a new sheet of foil. Lightly mist with cooking spray. Using approximately 2 tablespoons of the eggplant mixture, form balls. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and lightly mist with cooking spray.
Bake the eggplant balls until they are golden brown and firm, about 20 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, warm the marinara sauce.
Remove the meatballs from the oven and sprinkle with extra Parmesan, if desired. Serve over pasta with marinara sauce.