Here's a recipe that I've been wanting to try for a while because I love eggplant. Many ways. And so meatballs? Well, they had my name of them.
These were good!
Now, for the bad news: it's sort of a time consuming recipe. But, like any other meatballs, you can make the mixture one day and then roll them and cook them the next day. That's what I did, and it worked perfectly.
Now, I chose to smother these babies in cheese, but if you are vegan or trying to cut down on the cheese, these would be fine simply with the sauce or maybe even with nutritional yeast? I haven't tried that, but it's just a thought..
My husband really wanted me to fry these and then bake them, but I thought I could get them crispy enough by just baking them. Now, I thought they were ample in the crispy department but he wanted them super crispy, probably like a falafel (they weren't THAT crispy) and so, I may try frying a few for him.
For me, I'll stick with the baked version.
The inside were creamy and very flavorful. And this is a totally guilt-free meal!
Recipe slightly adapted from Mark Bittman, via Williams Sonoma
For the tomato sauce:
- 28 oz can of crushed or diced tomato
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- ½ cup fresh basil
For the eggplant meatballs (see note):
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound (500 g) eggplant, large dice (about 1 medium-large sized eggplant)
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 onion , chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic , minced
- 1 can white beans (butter, cannelloni, or navy)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Tomato sauce from above
For the sauce:
- In a medium sized saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the onion. Saute for a few minutes, until the onion becomes soft (about 3 minutes).
- Add the garlic and keep heating for another minute or so
- Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and cook, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes
- Set aside.
- In the meantime, make the eggplant meatballs
For the meatballs:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- Use 1 tablespoon of oil to baking pan and place in the oven to preheat
- In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil, and add eggplant
- Cook eggplant over medium high heat for 15 to 20 minutes until tender and then transfer to a food processor
- Add 1 more tablespoon of oil to now empty pan and add the onion. Cook for 3 minutes and then add the garlic and keep cooking for about another minute.
- In the meantime, rinse and drain the beans and add them to the food processor along with the parsley.
- Pulse the ingredients until combined but not pureed.
- Add the onion, garlic mixture, the breadcrumbs and the seasonings to the food processor with the eggplant mixture and pulse again.
- Form the mixture into 12 equally size balls
- Remove preheated pan from oven and arrange the meatballs on the tray
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until firm and well browned.
- Serve with tomato sauce, or place in baking dish, top with cheeses and sauce and broil on low unti the cheese is melted (about 3 minutes)
Patricia @ ButterYum says
I absolutely adore eggplant - these are going on my must make list!
Thanks Patricia! I love eggplant too!
I enjoyed these but added some celery leaves & stalks cuz i didn't have much parsley & served w/sauce & zitti but they didn't hold their shape. I was wondering if perhaps I'd added an egg they might have stayed round & not lost there shape. Whats your opinion? I still enjoyed them & will try again cuz I love eggplant & thought it was tasty.
Hi Paul - I would say maybe bake a little longer until firm or use a few tablespoons more breadcrumbs if you're not opposed to extra bread. Otherwise, make sure you drain the beans well. I'd probably try baking a touch longer first. Maybe see how soft/firm they are before removing them from the oven? They are tasty!