Eggplant Parmesan Veggie “Meatballs”

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eggplant veggie balls

Who says meatballs all have to be made with meat? Here’s a great veggie alternative that’s made with eggplant. They’re lighter in texture but full of flavor!

These eggplant balls have a little chunk of mozzarella stashed into the center so they totally take on the eggplant parmesan taste through and through.

eggplant

It’s simple to make with just a few steps like cubing the eggplant then sautéing it with a bit of olive oil and water. You want to  make sure that the consistency is nice and soft.

smashed eggplant

Then you’re going to mash all that eggplant up just to make sure it gets nice and smooth, that’s going to make it really easy to mix with all the other ingredients.

eggplant balls ingredients

When I make traditional Italian meatballs I always add egg, garlic, breadcrumbs, fresh parsley, pecorino and a bit of red pepper flakes, it’s the same with these eggplant parmesan veggie balls, it takes on those Italian flavors perfectly but without the meat!

 

stuffed eggplant balls

Make sure you poke a hole into the center when forming your balls and place a cube of mozzarella inside, this will ensure that the cheese will ooze out just perfectly when you take a bite.

eggplant balls

So delicious covered in a pool of warm marinara sauce, the smells and taste of eggplant parmesan is in every bite.

eggplant balls

Eggplant parmesan that’s all rolled up into a meatball, what’s better than that?  You can eat them with pasta or alone with just a salad and a hunk of bread, or you can make yourself a meatless “meatball” sandwich, it’s all good!

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Eggplant Parmesan Veggie "Meatballs"
 
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Ingredients
  • Eggplant, 2 or 3, depending on how large they are. Slice the tops and bottoms off, remove the skin peeling it off in a striped manner, keeping some on and some off, then cut the eggplant into small cubes
  • 1 cup or more of toasted breadcrumbs
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup or so grated pecorino romano
  • a small handful, chopped parsley
  • a few tablespoons, chopped basil
  • ¼ cup water
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • small cubes of fresh mozzarella to stuff inside
  • marinara sauce, 1 quart or less
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375, spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
  2. Drizzle the bottom of a heated skillet with olive oil and place the cubes of eggplant inside.
  3. Season with salt and pepper on the eggplant then pour in the ¼ cup of water tossing until the eggplant is cooked and very soft and tender.
  4. Mash the eggplant mix with a potato masher until you get a nice smooth consistency, then let it cool down.
  5. Grab a large bowl and add the cooled down eggplant, breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, pecorino, garlic, salt and pepper to taste and red pepper flakes, mix well.
  6. If mixture seems too wet and more breadcrumbs.
  7. Roll into balls then poke a whole in the center and add your cubed mozzarella making sure it's well inside and gets covered with eggplant mixture.
  8. When all is rolled out place on oiled baking sheet then into the oven for around 20-25 minutes.
  9. Plop the eggplant balls into warmed up marinara when done baking.
  10. They're ready to serve!

 

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Comments

  1. Alison Recca-Ryan says

    Can’t wait to try these! Do you recommend globe or the smaller italian eggplant?

  2. Oh, Marie! I have made these myself, but never thought about putting the mozzarella inside. You are a genius! Will have to try these soon!

  3. I’ve made eggplant meatballs before and enjoyed them! They are a wonderful vegetarian dish and a good way to use up “past prime” eggplant too. I will try putting in some mozzarella next time–good idea!

  4. You are reminding me of how much I love these eggplant “meatballs.” Next time, I’m going to try the cheese in the center, something I never thought of. Great job and photos, as usual, Marie.

  5. Mary Ann (Chickie) says

    My granddaughter is a Vegetarian. I made these and both she and her sister loved them. However, I could not put the
    chesse in the center as she cannot eat dairy. Both thought they were delicious. Thank you.

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