Hearty eggplant is one of the best vegetable substitutes to make these luscious, meatless “meatballs”.
Whether you serve them as a meatless main course piled on top of zoodles or pasta, or served as an appetizer, these eggplant meatballs are delish! Better than any eggplant recipes I get in a restaurant!
There’s a restaurant in my neighborhood that recently closed down and the eggplant meatballs are the one item on the menu I’ll miss the most. Rather than getting upset, I set out to recreate them in my kitchen and I think I succeeded! I shared them with my neighbor and my cousin and they both raved and wanted the recipe. These are great for vegetarians or if you’re like me, just looking to incorporate more plant based foods into my diet.
To speed this up, I simmered the “meatballs” in DeLallo’s Basil Pomodoro sauce. Coming from a girl who won’t use sauce from a jar, DeLallo does it right and is the only one I would use if I wasn’t making it from scratch. If you want to make your own sauce, you can use my quick marinara recipe here instead.
More Eggplant Recipes:
- cooking spray
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/4 lbs unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
- kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp chopped basil, plus leaves for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated, plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 25.25 ounce jar DeLallo Pomodoro sauce
- part skim ricotta cheese, for serving (optional)
- Heat the oven to 375°F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Place 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When hot add the eggplant and 1/4 cup water. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.
- Transfer to a bowl and add bread crumbs, beaten egg, Romano cheese, parsley, garlic and chopped basil into the eggplant. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.
- Form the eggplant mixture into 24 balls about 1 1/8 oz each, rolling tightly and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until firm and browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Heat the sauce in a large deep skillet to warm the sauce. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish the meatballs with basil leaves and serve with ricotta cheese if desired.
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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by DeLallo. I only share products I use in my own kitchen. I created this recipe and received compensation so you can get the recipe for free. Enjoy!
294 comments on “Eggplant “Meatballs””
I used Whole Foods finely ground Italian seasoning. 1.5 cups is way too much. Serving for bookclub and sadly disappointed. Should have listened to another reviewer. Next time I’ll double the eggplant (for more eggplant flavor) and use 3/4-1 cup of breadcrumbs. I’d suggest starting with 1 cup and see how it tastes before adding the other 1/2 cup. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Looking forward to trying again!
These are amazing! You can freeze some for eating later, and just defrost before using and plop them in some simmering tomato sauce. Yum!
These are amazing! You can freeze some for eating late and just defrost before using and plop them in some simmering tomato sauce. Yum!
Made this recipe had good flavor but the texture was terrible
Delicious! We had a bounty of eggplants this year, and this is now one of our favorite ways to use them. They don’t last long enough to freeze 🙂 Thank you!
Absolutely delicious! The eggplant was a perfect substitute for ground beef and the recipe is a nice change up from all the eggplant recipes out there. It will definitely go in the rotation.
These are really good. It’s eggplant season here, so I had 3 small/mid sized globe eggplants to use up. I doubled the recipe and added a big spoonful of Calabrian fermented red peppers for a little extra spice. Ended up with about 40 golf ball sized balls. Definitely top with fresh tomato sauce if you can. They seem like they’ll freeze well too.
This recipe was very good. I only used one eggplant and I thought the 1 and 1/2 cups of bread crumbs would have been too much so I used one cup. I used my air fryer and they browned well at 15 minutes at 400 degrees, turning once.
Used a tip from a previous comment to bake the eggplant at 375 for 20 minutes but otherwise followed the rest of the recipe exactly – came out amazing! Will definitely be adding this to my rotation, it’s easy as well.
Has anyone cooked them in an air fryer?
Another awesome recipe! I was looking for a change from regular meatballs, and this fits the bill perfectly. It’s an easy recipe to put together, and it tastes wonderful! I’d happily serve these to vegetarians and omnivores any time!
If I were to make this recipe again, I would add mushrooms in with the eggplant. I think it would help boost the flavor and texture.
I ADDED SPINACH WHILE IN THE FOOD PROCESSOR TO MINE AND THEY WERE DELISH.
I made this tonight with the abundance of eggplant from our garden & it was a huge success. My husband, who is not an eggplant fan, loved it, and was already planning to make the leftovers into a meatball sub. The texture is perfect & it’s all so flavorful & filling. I served it with spiralized zucchini- extra yum!
These are so good! As some other reviews say, just roast the eggplant slices at 375 for 20 mins. Then throw everything in the food processor.
Easy, delicious. Even my eggplant hating child loves these. I do “veganize” them and it us still the best eggplant meatball recipe I’ve found.
Can I ask what you used in place of the pecorino romano to make them vegan? (Did you just leave it out or did you use vegan parm?).
These are absolutely delicious. My husband and I both prefer them to store bought turkey meatballs, and they’re a great plant-based substitution to our diets.
After having made these a few times, I have a couple of ~Lazy Chef Hacks~ to share.
1. I roast the eggplant with the oil, salt, and pepper in the oven on a silpat. This reduces clean-up and brings the moisture content down. 2. I blend all the ingredients (less bread crumbs) in the food processor. This saves me from having to chop herbs, beat eggs, shred cheese, and crush garlic. Just dump it all in there and blend until the chunks are small enough. 3. I let the mixture cool completely before forming the meatballs. It is much neater/easier to form the balls when cool. 4. I meal prep these and keep them in the fridge. IMO, they’re even tastier when reheated in the toaster oven for a weeknight dinner.
Love your suggestions – how long and at what temp do you roast the eggplant?
can you freeze these?
Yes, I freeze them first on the tray I back them on and once frozen I put them in a ziplock bag.
This looks great but where is all the sodium coming from? Seems extremely high. Thanks.
Seasoned breadcrumbs have sodium, the jarred sauce has a lot of sodium, plus recipe says to add kosher salt to the mixture. It all adds up, I make my own sauce, used unseasoned bread crumbs and add Italian seasoning (no salt) and I didn’t add salt to the mixture, sodium locust goes way down for me.
I would recommend turning them half way
I love this recipe and would like to make them for Passover. Do you think I could substitute Matzoh Meal for the bread crumbs?
That’s a great idea!
I don’t have a food processor. How can I blend the eggplant ?
You could either chop it in the blender or using a knife, finely dice it? Eggplant falls apart really easy once cooked – I make baba ganouj fairly often using only a sharp chefs knife.
Looks yummy. It will be part of my diet. Thank you so much.
These were amazing! If I hadn’t made them myself, I would have sworn they were real meat! My son ate 6 of them in one sitting!
One of my favorite recipes!!
I have made these many times, they turn out perfectly and they are delicious. I always peel the eggplant because boyfriend doesn’t like the skin, rolling my eyes lol. Boyfriend wants eggplant *burgers* tonight so I will see how many patties I can make! Thanks, Gina, for your great recipes!
Made these tonight. They are amazing! Tastes just like eggplant parmigiana! Followed the directions exactly and it worked perfectly!
Made this tonight and substituted mushrooms since my grocery store didn’t have any nice eggplants today. It worked perfectly as a substitute! Very nice veggie alternative to meatballs. Thanks!
These are amazing! In error, I peeled the eggplant, but the end result was still excellent. I made my own Pomodoro sauce with my homegrown tomatoes and served both over zoodles (made from my homegrown zucchini). The whole family loved it! Thank you for sharing.
These eggplant meatballs are delicious! I tasted these in NY and wanted to recreate them at home. Luckily, I found your recipe. I doubled all the ingredients and these meatballs were so tasty and yummy. They’re great with marinara or even without any sauce. Definitely a new family favorite. Thanks for such a great recipe!
This recipe is great and the meatballs were yummy! It was a hit with kids!
Can I use panko vs bread crumbs ?
I tried this srecipe for the first time and unfortunately the came out mushy ..could it be because I used gf bread crumbs….instides were soft after cooking in oven and became mushy in the sauce..any suggestions. wo uld like to try again
This recipe is absolutely scrumptious! Even your non vegetarians will LOVE it!!
Thank you! I was thinking of Tin Angel’s meatless meatballs and I miss them so much. Did a quick google search and it led me to this!
I don’t have a scale. How many eggplants are 1 1/4 lbs?
Supermarket produce sections all have scales within the department. Not always easily visible, but definitely there for the use of all customers. I rely on them all the time 😁
Delicious! Had these with zoodles, sauce and ricotta cheese. Thanks for the recipe Gina, certainly will make again.
They are delicious came out perfect. Made my own sauce put it over spaghetti squash. Family loved it!
I made these last night, and they came out fantastic! I decided to add a box of baby bella mushrooms for some added texture, and they were just delicious. Cooked the mushrooms along with the eggplant, drained some of the excess cooking liquid, and followed the rest of the recipe as is. I also scooped them out with a cookie scoop for uniformity. I did notice that the meatballs didn’t really feel set after cooking for 23 minutes, so I flipped them all over and cooked them for another 15 minutes. They were crispy on the outside, and nice and soft on the inside. They tasted even better the 2nd day when I had them for lunch with some homemade sauce. I would definitely make these again.
My meatballs were mushy inside. Any suggestions?
Eggplant can be very watery. Maybe drain out excess water before cooking?
These are delicious. Rather than roll them I just put meatball sized blobs on the baking tray. I don’t simmer them in the sauce. I like a crunchier texture so I just sit them on top of the sauce. Great hit with all the family
Looks amazing! Any suggestions for a substitute for the breadcrumbs if gluten free?
They make GF breadcrumbs.
I made them with almond meal instead of bread crumbs, and they were great. After my third time making these, my suggestion is to cook them until they are nice and browned. They have been a big hit at my house and the perfect way to use all the eggplant we are getting out of the garden right now.
Yes, you can pulverize rice cakes…the brown or white ones, or cook brown or white rice and add that. I have done it with both and works well.
Love these!! Can these be frozen? If so, how long? Thanks! 🙂
I used almost double the eggplant and adjusted rest of ingredients accordingly. When I was making the balls, I removed most of the pieces of skin that weren’t really attached to any of the eggplant “meat”. They are delicious and that’s without any sauce. I’ll definitely make these again, but I’ll remove the skin before cooking the eggplant. Thanks GINA!
Used 2 eggplants and followed ingredient amounts. Another egg possibly so will try that next time.
Baked at 375 on convection bake for 25 minutes.
Nice and browned/crispy! Excellent!!!
Great as is for appetizers and could make smaller if so.
Hello love these meatballs can you freeze them?
Can these meatballs be frozen?
I LOVE these and make them (as well as the zucchini meatballs) all the time! But I was out with my sister-in-law and she ordered a dish with BEETballs….do you think it would work to substitute in some roasted beets in place of the eggplant or the zucchini?? Any other recommendations you can think of that I would need to alter in the original recipe??
Thanks, I love all your recipes and cookbooks!!!
I have made these 3 times. The flavor is delicious. However, the last 2 times the eggplant “balls” became eggplant “patties” after 25 minutes in the oven. Any suggestions to keep them in a ball shape? Not sure if the gluten-free breadcrumbs I used changed the texture…
Why do mine come out mushy and kind of slimy? Am I cooking the eggplant too long first?
I finally made these and loved them. I have more than I need and would like to freeze them. Any recommendations?
How many meatballs can you have in one sitting?
Love these! But I am having trouble getting the meatballs to set in the middle. Baked at 350 degrees convection for over 30 minutes. They are nice and brown on the outside, but still soft on the inside. Any ideas?????
Using the convection setting is going to brown the outside faster. Maybe try without the convection setting and adding some additional time. I suspect that the moisture content of the eggplant could be adding to the issue.
Wow! These meatballs are sooo good. I made just a couple of changes. After cutting the eggplant, I salted it and let it sit on a towel for about 5-10 minutes to remove moisture. I also read that someone used an air fryer to cook these. This was a BRILLIANT idea. I cooked them for 10 minutes at 380 degrees and they came out nice and browned, with a crispy exterior. I served them over spaghetti squash. They were a huge hit. Can;t wait to make them again!
Can I make them today and heat up tomorrow? Will they be just as good?
Introduced to Eggplant Meatballs when eating out in Virginia Beach at restaurant named HOT TUNA. OMG husband & I were enamered w/ how delicious the Eggplant Meatballs were & I immediately was looking for a recipe on line to make at home. I chose this recipe & was trilled w/ the results as they tasted & resembled in appearance the Eggplant Meatballs we’d tried at HOT TUNA.
I make them a couple of times a week because we are enjoying adding new healthier food items to our diet.
Delicious! Thank you for sharing this with the world!
I love this recipe! I made it and thought it was so good!!! Thank you for posting such a wonderful new way to cook eggplant!
These were scrumptious! Easy! Will make again, and again!
My family loves this recipe, even my two young kids. I hate to change anything when it’s perfect the way it is but for the sake of time, I have to ask. Would it be possible to cook these in the crockpot? Terrible idea? Would they turn to mush?
As long as you brown them first it should be fine!
What temperature do you bake them at?????
Heat the oven to 375°F.
I doubled the recipe and followed everything but instead of meatballs, i have patties. They taste delicious but I must have done something wrong. Anyone else find their meatballs became patties?
Hi Gina, I want to make this recipe but I would like to half the eggplant and bake in the oven until fork tender instead of pan sauté? Would this work too? Any Suggestions?
Are the published calories including the riccotta? If they are, what are the calories without the cheese? Thanks!
The ricotta is not included.
Amazing! Wakes up the taste buds with this easy and declicious recipe! Very easy to make.
I just made this dish and realized early on that the meatballs should NOT be added to the sauce but instead have the sauce over them when ready to serve….. FABULOUS!
I may never use beef for my meatballs again. I don’t like turkey meatballs but eggplant took the taste of a meatball to a new level. I didn’t even need sauce with them.
These are awesome. Skipped the cheese as I ran out of breadcumbs so added half a cup of crushed pork rinds. The eggplant really tastes amazing. I froze mine so I could take out a few at a time. Definitely doing this again.
Uh… the pork kind of nullifies the fact that the meatballs are intended to be vegetarian. Adding dairy is ok since actual meat is not used but the pork kind of defeats the theme of the recipe. Of course you are free to modify but…. just sayin.
Fabulous!!! my first time making them, very tasty even though I did not put the basil in…. I made bigger balls but had to cook them a little longer because mine were a little mushy inside..Love this recipe thanks for sharing..
This was very good. My husband doesn’t like eggplant, but he liked this dish. I made the meatballs using a cookie scooper. I will definitely make again. One note—this is a ttime consuming recipe -not a dinner in minutes.
These were really good. Next time I will add some finely chopped mushrooms for an earthier flavor. Keep these recipes coming, Gina!
Any tips on how to freeze them?
Freeze after they’re cooked.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make this lower carb— without so many breadcrumbs?
try pork rinds crushed up instead of the breadcrumbs.
Eggplants are ready. Fresh off the plant, I roasted eggplants last night and made the meatballs this AM. Served with fresh tomato basil sauce and pasta. Delicious summer dinner! Shout out to the commenter who suggested using mini muffin tins to bake the meatballs in, helps with portion control!
My son is allergic to eggs, what would be a good substitute?
I make a chia “egg” mixture instead of using chicken egg. Works great! .25c chia seeds and.75c-1c water stir very well and let sit 5-10 mins before using
Made these. Made a few modifications. Added chopped mushrooms and zucchini. And uses almond flour. No egg. They came out a bit soft so next time I will extra squeeze the water out of the zucchini and maybe leas water when cooking the eggplant. But what an A+ taste over spaghetti squash.
Great!!!! Husband said to make these again.
Any suggestions for making these gluten free?
Has anyone tried to make these gluten free?
I use gluten free Italian breadcrumbs all the time. Even in my traditional meatballs and no one even knows the difference! I can’t wait to make this recipe tomorrow!
I must have done something wrong – I didn’t care for the texture. But – this is a first – I love EVERY one of Gina’s recipes. I am not sure what I did wrong but I think I’ll try the zucchini meatballs and see if I like those better.
Mine were a flop. Very mushy. So mushy that I couldn’t form them into balls. I might have had too much breadcrumbs for the amount of eggplant. They got crispy on the outside but they were gross on the inside. I also think I made them too big.
Outstanding! Made recipe exactly as written. Baked for 25 minutes and then turned meatballs and baked another 5 minutes. Meatballs stayed together nicely. I’m glad my husband won’t try anything with eggplant as I have the whole batch to myself!
This recipe was great! I made the meatballs and my own sauce. Served them on half a ciabatta roll as an open faced meatball sub. Whole family liked them. 5 Stars from us
Cannot stop eating them! Thank you for posting this recipe – they are so delicious!
I follow a ketondiet so instead of breadcrumbs I used almond meal but may try with crushed pork rinds next time.
Also left 2nd batch in the oven a little longer and felt they stayed together a little better
These are absolutely delish.. I used 1 cup season breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup panko chipotle breadcrumbs….they had a nice little kick!!!
I would to make these but why wouldn’t you peel the eggplant?
Can these be prepped and frozen?
I have so much eggplant from my garden and would love to make/freeze. Did you try freezing? If so, how were they? TIA.
I LOVE YOUR RECIPES! Yours is my favorite site! Can’t wait to try these eggplant meatballs today! ?
I just made this and was so surprised how awesome they taste!
One word… AMAZING. These “meatballs” are seriously so good! I make a batch and then freeze them! They heat up great and make for a quick weeknight dinner! I eat these bad boys over chickpea pasta and 1/2 cup marinara sauce! Thank you for such an amazing recipe!!
** side tip** I find you may have to adjust bread crumb amount depending on the size of your eggplant. (My eggplant isn’t always 1 & 1/4lb). Also make sure your mixture is well incorporated this will help the mixture stay together better. I use a cookie drop to ensure each ball is approximently the same size. 🙂
I made this for family and they couldn’t believe there was no meat in the ‘meatballs’. I made spaghetti squash with it and had a full vegetarian meal. Delicious
Do you think you could replace the cheese with a different variety or leave it out?
If it’s a dry/hard cheese, it’d work. If you left it out, I’d suggest adding some salt. At the quantity it’s in there I think it’s mainly flavor and salt it’s providing.
Do you think these would turn out well cooked in an air fryer?
I haven’t tried, let me know if you do!
I’ve never made them in the oven, so I can’t really make a true comparison. But, I thought they turned out fabulously in the air fryer! I added some smoked paprika to them, and served them with a roasted red pepper sauce for a tapas party that I posted, and everyone raves about them! I did warn them first, though, that the texture is more like a stuffing in the center than a meatball, so they wouldn’t be caught off-guard. If you’re expecting the texture of meat, I can see how someone would not like them solely based on texture, and not the taste.
How long and at what temp did you cook them in the air fryer?
It’s almost ridiculously good! Making it again tonight!
AMAZING. Seriously delicious and super easy. I followed the recipe exactly and the ‘meatballs held together nicely. I baked for the full 25 minutes. One thing I’ll do next time is flip them half way through so they brown on both sides.
Hi Gina, Thank you for this blog and all your amazing recipes. Do you think this would work as a veggie burger or maybe even a meatless loaf ?
I used it to make a veggie burger and it tasted great. Texture was really good as well.
These were so good!!! And easy to make, thanks for your directions. My meatballs did rather fall apart when I tried turning them as I simmered them in the pasta sauce–should I have let them bake a little longer? More breadcrumbs? Let them cool/set a little bit before transferring them to the pasta sauce?
Any advice is much appreciate.
My husband and I are going on vegetarian/ vegan week. I made this today butI used Panko break crambes instead of Italian. The results were very satisfying. Also made my own tomato sauce from scratch.
Just wanted to say this is by far my favorite SkinnyTaste recipe and I have a lot! Thank you, Gina.
Yum! Made these last night and they were delicious!!!!!!!! Tonight we will be having eggplant meatballs parmigiana wedges with the leftover balls!
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the “balls” became pancakes even the second batch whete I added more breadcrumbs! not happy!
Maybe the eggplant had too much moisture in it. you either have to sweat it more in the pan, or squeeze the water out….or add more breadcrumbs.
While taking eggplant out of the pan, I put it directly into a strainer over a bowl. Quite a bit of liquid drips out while the eggplant cools down.
When I make them, I slice the eggplant down and then cut the slices into skinny french fries. Then I cross cut the ‘fries’ so that I have pieces about the size of a pinky fingernail. I do NOT pre cook it. I put the pieces into a bowl with the egg, onion, garlic, spices … but I use OATMEAL, not breadcrumbs. The balls are a bit moist, but after baking 20 minutes, they are firm and brown. Then, I just drop them into my homemade sauce. My family has no idea they’re meatless.
Just made these! NomNom ❤️???? Will left overs be okay? Will the “meatballs ” get soggy? Thank you for sharing all of your amazing info recipes !
Leftovers should be fine!
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I’ve made these several times now. I keep coming back to this recipe because the meatballs are simply amazing! Thank you for sharing!
I made these last night and reheated for dinner tonight. they were a hit. Even my 3 year ate them. I will be making them in double batches for the freezer from now on. thank you.
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When eggplant is being prepped, there is usually a step to sprinkle the sliced eggplant with salt & let sit for a few minutes / or soak in salted water / then rinse — to remove the bitterness. After cooking an eggplant lasagna dish without this step — and having to toss it because it was completely inedible — I’ve become more aware of prepping eggplant like this. It’s okay to skip that step in this recipe?
Amazing! Husband and toddler loved it. I’m not a meatball fan but I really like these.
This was such a hit at a bridal shower that I made this for. Everyone asked for the recipe. Thank you. Delicious
I have made these meatballs about a dozen times now, at least, and absolutely love the recipe!
This is a great way to prepare those favorite dishes for those meat eaters, but with a twist.
As a long time vegetarian, this meal, as well as many other great recipes on here, come in handy for those simple but delish meals that not only become your favorites, but impress your guests as well.
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I’m not big on measurements, so I do something like this by feel. I kept adding breadcrumb until the “dough” was firm enough to hold the ball shape. That required a lot of breadcrumbs, and as a result, they tasted as much like bredcrumbs as they did eggplant. Don’t get m,e wrong, they were still delicious. Maybe I needed to leech out the moisture from the eggplant. Looking forward to trying again. I also cooked them about 20 mins longer than you to crisp the outsides and give them a nice color.
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Def going to try this tonight.. I have an eggplant I need to use! I see they are 6sp but confused on portion. Is this just for 1 eggplant meatball or for multiples?
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Love the recipe! Small question, do you think I could sub the breadcrumbs by oats? Thanks a lot!
MEGA thumbs up from me & my boyfriend who hardly ate anything but meat and frozen food just a little while ago!!! 🙂 I ended up with 18 “‘meatballs” but I have no idea how much my eggplant weighed and I made slightly larger balls, so maybe that was it. Either way. SO tasty, with or without tomato sauce. Thanks for the recipe!!!
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I just made these. Holy moly are they delicious! I never need a meatball made with meat again! Thanks for sharing!
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These were very delicious! The modifications I made to the recipe was that I peeled my eggplant (not a fan of the skin), I used unseasoned breadcrumbs (I seasoned my own with garlic powder and black pepper), and I made my own sauce. Romano cheese is salty so I didn’t add any salt to the recipe. They were a tad mushy when I first made them – tasty but mushy. However they were FABULOUS the next day. They flavored the sauce amazingly and they were not mushy at all. I will definitely make them again but plan on making them the day before since they were so much more delicious the next day! Great recipe!
Delicious, my four year old loved it! I was in shock
To save on pans, can you bake the meatballs in an oven-proof skillet and transfer to stovetop and just add your sauce?
I just made the eggplant meatballs today. They are really good! I am freezing them – hopefully they will still hold up in a sauce after freezing.
I made these but I cooked them till they were really crispy..cooled them and sliced thin. Layered them in a veggie lasagna. I also added jalapeño to rthe meatball for a little kick.
Is the nutritional info just the “balls” or with the sauce also?
Just the meatballs.
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I just made these vegan by using a flax egg and–get this–some fermented soybean paste from my Korean supermarket to replace the cheese. It gives that great, cheesy funk. I think nutritional yeast or miso would work well too. They look and smell amazing!
Do you think I can freeze leftover “meatballs”?
Hi! This might sound silly but where do I put the ricotta cheese and how is that eaten with it? Do you mix it in or just add a little to each bite? I planned on serving the sauce and meatballs over angel hair pasta. I have only ever eaten ricotta cheese in lasagna… should I mixed it in with the sauce or would it be good without it? This recipe sounds and looks amazing! I am making it for friends tonight 🙂
The ricotta is optional, served on the side. 🙂
This dish was a hit!!! SO delicious… I sauteed fresh vine tomatoes and garlic with some olive oil and red wine before adding the sauce you use you in yours. I am definitely making it again- over zoodles next time 😉
Just modified this recipe so that it was vegan. I used two table spoons of nutritional yeast and found that my mixture didn’t need any egg substitute since it stuck together without it. I also left out parsley since I din’t have any on hand and I though it was so good!
I’ve never used eggplant before, for some reason it always intimidated me, haha! However, these looked so delicious, I had to try them. They were WONDERFUL!! The balance of flavors was perfect, in my opinion. Thanks for such a wonderful meat alternative!
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I hate how thick and hard eggplant skin is, so I don’t usually like it. However, I was wondering, since it all goes into a food processor, would the skin be easier to eat? Looks fantastic though!
It should be, you can always peel it first if you wanted.
These are yummy! Only differences, I peeled the eggplant and add sautéed kale as my own preference. They keep well in the freezer. I just pop how much I need, into the microwave and serve them with pasta and pesto.
I made these subbing nutritional yeast for the parm and goat cheese for the ricotta over spaghetti squash. They were ok…I am going to try them with parm next time, it was my first time using nutritional yeast and not sure I’m a fan. The goat cheese was great though as was the spaghetti squash. I also served with Rao’s eggplant marinara and it was a great combination. Thanks for the great recipe!
Gina do you serve with noddle’s or zoodles of any form? Wondering how it would be with spaghetti squash or zucchini. noodles. Cross your fingers for me I am going to try to get the husband to eat these….I am not sure he has every tried eggplant and the thought for him is “yeah…Nope”. Hoping to fool him into this one. 😉
I have made these several times and are always a huge hit!
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Could I replace the breadcrumbs with quinoa instead?
I'm not sure, I have never tried it. But if you do it let me know how it comes out!
Made these tonight. Very tasty. Used my nutribullet for the eggplant — had to do it in two batches but it worked great just pulsing it. While I felt they are delicious, the texture was a little too soft for me, but I only baked for 20 minutes. Next time I would go the whole 25 or maybe even 30, and turn them over half way through baking. I also might add just a little more breadcrumbs. Great recipe! Thank you!
I do not have a food processor. Can you suggest how I can get the right consistency by hand?
Hi there. Ran across your site trying to be more vegetarian. What a delish recipe!! So glad I found your site.am trying the asparagus soup next
These are NOT VEGETARIAN. Thank you so much for sharing. I'm definitely going to make a vegetarian version of these, they look amazing and very nutritious. [[Romano cheese is set with animal rennet.]] Cheers.
I don't have a food processor?? would it work to grate the eggplant?? or in the blender maybe?? Help, I wanted to make this tonight
I made this recipe for my vegetarian friends & they said these Eggplant "Meatballs" should be renamed "AmazeBalls". So delicious! Thank you for sharing!
Delicious! Thanks to an earlier comment about the texture being more like a stuffed mushroom, I wasn't surprised that the inside wasn't firm like meat would be. I baked these on parchment paper and flipped them halfway through, 15 mins on each side. Thanks Gina!
Did exactly as recipe called;skin and all on the eggplant. Once baked you cant even tell the skin was left on. Excellent meatless eggplant balls.
The only modification I made was to use brown rice breadcrumbs in equal quantity as suggested in the recipe. It brings down the calorie and carb counts.
I made this dish without making any modifications and I was pleased with the results. My boyfriend and I are making it again tonight!
I made this tonight with some sauce leftovers i had in the freezer….it was delicious!!! Thank you Gina 🙂
Could these be made in the slow cooker? Like your "Crock Pot Italian Turkey Meatballs"?
I don't think they would hold up well in a slow cooker, I think they might fall apart.
I made these for dinner tonight and they were delicious!!! I kind of had to wing it when it came to the measurement of some of the ingredients because I didn't weigh anything and I had to sub items. I grated some parm cheese instead of listed cheese. I didn't have bread crumbs so I just toasted some bread and pulsed it with seasoning in the food processor. I added more since my mixture was "sloppy" looking. I baked them a little longer also, probably 30 mins total. WOW! I am making this again!!!! Thank you!!!!
These were delicious! We tried the zucchini ones too, and while both are good, I think the eggplant are even better. The whole house smelled great while they were baking. Such a great recipe!
Tried these tonight and they turned out a little gummy in the center. Some of my sizes were uneven, but I cooked them a few minutes longer to compensate. It sure where I went wrong.
Thanks for the article
These were easy and delicious. My first non meat "meat" balls! Thank you.
Thank you. I just made it and i really liked it.
I don't know how much of what i added cause i always use my "feeling" more than measuring cup, and used just "normal" cheese and "usual" tomatosause and "usual" everything else 😀
Thanks you for this post… great information.
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I'm vegan but I love this recipe so I'll try it with nutritional yeast instead of cheese and sea moss gel instead of eggs! I'm sure it will come out relatively the same. Thanks!
added less salt, more garlic and a cup of cooked rice to hold it together a bit more. Delicious
Could you use this recipe to make meatloaf instead of meatballs?
I haven't tried, if you do let me know how it came out!
I just made this recipe with a few changes :
– I substituted the egg with chickpea brine
– I used fine semolina instead of breadcrumbs
– I cooked the eggplants cut in half face down in the microwave for ten minutes and the skin comes off easily !
– I cooked the balls in a pan as I dont own an oven, and it worked great !
Thank you for this recipe it was delicious, I've started to run out of ideas to cook eggplants !
I made these over the weekend and they were really really great for dinner and my lunches for the week. Two things I noticed when I made mine- firstly, I used dry parsley, and silly me, I didn't use less, as it was dry, and I thought they were a little too parsleyish for me. Also, I thought the mixture was a little wet so I added more breadcrumbs which was also a mistake on my part! They tasted a little too breadcrumby lol. But even with those two things I still thought they were awesome and I will deff be making them again. They were great with sauce and pasta, I also had them with zoodles in a simple butter/oil garlic "sauce". very versatile and makes a ton!
Would these freeze well? I was thinking of making a large batch and then freezing half.
I made these last night and they were dlicious! I actually varied it and used the Tikka Masala sauce from your Tikka Masala chicken, and it was a great combination. I subsituted cilantro for parsley in the "meatballs" since the Tikka Masala recipe gets topped with cilantro. I will definitely be making these again.
That's a great idea!
I made these for dinner last night. They were so delicious. I followed the recipe, but used store-brand marinara for simmering. I served them with spaghetti. They were a big hit with everyone. Yet another lovely recipe, Gina!
I made these meatballs today and have not even made my sauce for them yet, but a 5 1/2 year old and a 14 year old both loved them sans sauce! The flavor reminds me of a stuffed mushroom or stuffing for artichokes so I would love to try these with portabellos instead of or with the eggplant. Great recipe. Thank you!
You must be careful about the breadcrumbs that you use. My store had 3 choices, two of which had about a thousand ingredients. I chose the third, thinking they would be healthier but they turned out (after I had finished the meatballs) to be awful and way too salty!! Had to throw the whole dinner out! I'll try them again but make my own breadcrumbs in the food processor and season them myself.
I have a really great recipe for Homemade Seasoned Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs in my cookbook. It's better than anything you'd buy in the store.
I am making this now. Baking in the oven now. Tasted good raw. Can't wait to taste it all put together.
Made these for dinner – so good! I'm always interested in meatless meals (we're vegetarians) and this one is fabulous. My husband would never try eggplant befoere but he loved this recipe.
Awesome, so glad to hear!
Just made these and they were out of this world delicious!!! I added some diced onion to the egglant while it was cooking and it was great. I'll be making this again!
This was fantastic…thank you! I used Parmesan and Manchego cheeses, and a bit of creamy Buratta on the side. I may try smoking the eggplant on the grill next time for an earthy twist on this wonderful dish!
I've been looking for new ways to enjoy eggplant – one of my favourite veggies – and this recipe is perfect. Can't wait to try these, maybe on a bed of spaghetti squash. Yum!
I cook my turkey meatballs in spaghetti sauce for hours in my crockpot. Could I do this for the eggplant meatballs also?
I think they would fall apart.
Good morning- I made these last night and they were SO tasty!! Just one question. I baked them for 25 minutes and although they felt firm & perfect on the outide, the inside stayed very mushy-almost the same consistency as they were before going into the oven! Would you suggsest a higher heat or longer cooking time for next time? Thanks so much!
They should be slightly tender, but if yours were larger then yes I would bake them longer.
Same thing happened to me so I just flattened them out into a patty shape and cooked them a bit longer. Turned out great.
Gina, I never doubt you! I've never had a meatless dish that was so filling! Thank you for another awesome recipe.
I'm so excited to try these! I made your vegan eggplant meatballs before and they had good flavor, but the texture wasn't my favorite. I need eggs and cheese in my life! Already have my meals planned this week (making your Tri-color Summer Veggie Penne & French Bread Pizzas from the cookbook!) so these will be on the menu next week!
I agree, those were from the VB6 cookbook, and although for Vegan I thought they were good, I knew they would be better non-vegan.
These are in the oven now and smell amaaaazing!!! 🙂 Two quick questions…. Did you rinse/soak the eggplant before cooking? Also, my eggplant purée was very wet and I could not roll it – I spooned it onto the pan. They are holding up well, but do you think I overlooked the eggplant? I was afraid more breadcrumbs would dilute the flavors too much? Thanks again for amazing healthy recipes! My husband loves hearing your dishes are on the menu!
I didn't rinse or soak it, I diced it and cooked it but seems you should have drained the eggplant first if it was too wet or let it cook until all the water evaporated.
Gina–these sound great. Can you post the calories without the sauce and ricotta please? Just the plain meatballs? Thanks.
This is without ricotta, that's optional. If you leave the sauce out it's 168 calories per serving.
so the ricotta will be additional fat, correct? Can't wait to try this!
This recipe sounds fabulous – can't wait to try it. Have often just cubed eggplant for spaghetti, but this adds such flavors! Tried to Pin the recipe, but none of the links worked for me.
Could you freeze any leftover meatballs?