Eggplant “Meatballs”

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Hearty eggplant is one of the best vegetable substitutes to make these luscious, meatless “meatballs”.

Eggplant "Meatballs" – hearty eggplant is one of the best vegetable substitutes to make these luscious, meatless “meatballs”.Eggplant “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.

Eggplant "Meatballs" – hearty eggplant is one of the best vegetable substitutes to make these luscious, meatless “meatballs”.

More Eggplant Recipes:

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!
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4.84 from 62 votes
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Eggplant "Meatballs"

222.5 Cals 10.5 Protein 31 Carbs 7.5 Fats
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Yield: 6 servings
COURSE: Appetizer
CUISINE: American
Hearty eggplant is one of the best vegetable substitutes to make these luscious, meatless “meatballs”.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 4meatballs, Calories: 222.5kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 10.5g, Fat: 7.5g, Saturated Fat: 2.5g, Cholesterol: 41mg, Sodium: 1066mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 6g
WW Points Plus: 6
Keywords: eggplant meatballs, eggplant meatballs recipe, how to make eggplant meatballs, meatless meatballs, vegetarian meatballs

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Eggplant "Meatballs" – hearty eggplant is one of the best vegetable substitutes to make these luscious, meatless “meatballs”.

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!

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287 comments

  1. 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. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Has anyone cooked them in an air fryer? 

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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! 

  8. 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. 

  9. 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. 

  10. 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.

  11. can you freeze these?

  12. 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.

  13. I would recommend turning them half way