I know what you're thinking: "Eggplant meatballs?! Really?! And you have the audacity to call yourself an Italian?!"
By no means will these replace your beloved mother's meatballs (if you need a good recipe, try Dom's Mom's meatballs which can be found here... My family swears by them!), but they're pretty damn delicious if I do say so myself. Served over a little fettuccine with extra marinara... they're perfect!
This recipe is the result of years scowering the internet for a good vegetarian meatball recipe and constantly being disappointing with the results. Too bland... too mushy... too GROSS... you get the point.
These meatballs are flavorful, crispy, easy to make, and a much lighter than your meaty meatballs!
|First you peel and dice up some eggplant into really small cubes|
|Then you saute your eggplant in a little olive oil for about 20 minutes (until they cook down)|
|They should look like this when they're done|
|Put 'em in a bowl and mash 'em up|
|While you're letting your eggplant cool, grease a baking dish with a bit of olive oil|
|Add in all your party people (salt, onion, garlic, Parmesan, black pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, parsley, salt and panko) to the eggplant mush once it's cooled|
|Mix in the eggs|
|Roll the mixture into 20 little balls and place them on the oiled baking dish|
|Bake them for approximately forty minutes, turning them over halfway through|
|Serve with some marinara and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese|
Hope you enjoy... and let me know what you thinks!
Makes about 20 Meatballs
- 3 lbs eggplant, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 1/2 cup panko
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 eggs
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the eggplant to the pan and sauté over medium-low heat for about twenty minutes, or until cooked.
- Transfer the eggplant to a large mixing bowl. Using a potato masher, mash the eggplant, then allow it to cool completely.
- While the eggplant is cooling, pour remaining 5 tablespoons of olive oil into a 15x10 inch baking dish. Spread oil so that it covers entire dish.
- Once eggplant is cool, add onion, garlic, parmesan, panko, salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, and parsley to the bowl. Combine well.
- In a separate, small bowl, scramble the two eggs together. Then fold the eggs into the eggplant mixture until well combined.
- Using your (clean) hands, roll the eggplant mixture into two-inch balls and place on oiled baking dish.
- Place the baking dish in the oven on the top rack and bake for forty minutes, turning the meatballs over halfway through.