Meatballs, shmeatballs! The taste is the thing and the more veggies in me the better. I have been working on these balls for a while. I didn’t invent them, but I have perfected them to my taste. They are dense enough to be convincing and light enough so you don’t regret that last bite. I’ve popped shredded cheese on them and after a few moments under the broiler, and served with a salad, they’re dinner. My husband makes heroes (that’s a big ol’ sandwich, here in NYC) out of them with roasted broccoli rabe and marinara. So help me, these balls will convince meat eaters that they are eating beef meatballs.
2 eggplant, diced
6 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 Medium Onion, diced
Olive Oil (to drizzle)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 large egg, or use 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
½ cup grated cheese (Parmesan and/or Romano) or Nutritional Yeast
Chopped fresh parsley (I chop the entire bunch and it does NOT matter if you use flat leaf or curly)
1 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs (I used whole wheat Panko) NOTE: Season plain breadcrumbs, add some dried herbs, such as oregano and basil.
Place diced vegetables and garlic, in a single layer on a sheet pan.
Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper, to your taste.
Place in a 400 degree, pre-heated oven and cook for 30 minutes.
The eggplant will be soft and the onions will be browned a bit.
Scrape the softened, roasted veggies from the pan and into a food processor and pulse until smooth. If you don’t have a food processor, you can further chop the cooked food into smaller dice and place in a bowl.
Be sure to combine all the ingredients in a bowl, after pulsing the eggplant smooth in a food processor. If you combine everything in the processor, you will have paste. Ball Paste is impossible to work with, and not nearly as appetizing.
Add the egg, cheese, parsley and breadcrumbs to the bowl with the cooked veggies
Stir everything until smooth.
If the mixture appears too dry, you can add a few tablespoons of water.
FORM your eggplant balls into the size you prefer. I don’t make them too large because I’m impatient and want them to cook quickly.
The yield is 12 massive or 24 small balls. I placed my formed balls on a cooling rack, which was placed on top of a sheet pan. It allows browning on all sides. If you prefer, you can fry the eggplant balls. They are tasty either way, but I prefer to save the calories by baking them.
Bake for 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
When you see the firmness, and lightly browned color, take from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.
I’ve enjoyed mine with spaghetti squash and my own marinara, but you could have these with any pasta, zoodles or in a sandwich with melted mozzarella or cheese substitute. I love it on a roll with lettuce, tomato and balsamic!