Vegan Eggplant Meatballs

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These vegan eggplant meatballs are amazing meatless meatballs, made with eggplant, white beans and breadcrumbs to hold them together.

These vegan eggplant meatballs are amazing meatless meatballs, made with eggplant, white beans and breadcrumbs to hold them together. If I was a vegan, I would have no problem eating this for dinner every night!Vegan Eggplant Meatballs

If I was a vegan, I would have no problem eating this for dinner every night! They almost remind me of eggplant parmesan, in the form of a meatball. This eggplant recipe is great whether you’re a vegan or just want to incorporate more plant based foods into your diet. More eggplant recipes I love are Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan, Eggplant Spinach Rollatini and Baked Eggplant Sticks.

These vegan eggplant meatballs are amazing meatless meatballs, made with eggplant, white beans and breadcrumbs to hold them together. If I was a vegan, I would have no problem eating this for dinner every night!

These meatballs are perfect for all types of diets; vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, clean eating, and gluten-free if you swap the crumbs for gluten-free breadcrumbs.

I’ve had my eye on this recipes since I got a copy of Mark Bittman’s VB6 Cookbook, and it did not disappoint! I love finding new ways to incorporate more veggies into my diet so I try to eat meatless two or three times a week. That’s why Mark’s concept of eating vegan by day and flexitarian by night is quite appealing to me. And this week, I’m giving away 3 signed copies of the VB6 Cookbook on Skinny Bits. Click here for a chance to win your signed copy of the VB6 Cookbook.

Mark suggests serving this on a whole wheat roll, over pasta, rice or vegetables. But, I thought I would make some zoodles (zucchini noodles) for a veggie play on spaghetti and meatballs. To make the zucchini noodles, you’ll need a spiralizer (I use the Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer) or a mandolin fitted with a julienne blade. I use 1 medium zucchini per person and saute each zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and garlic for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes tops. To see a more detailed zucchini noodle recipe, click here for my Zucchini Noodles with Lemon and Shrimp.

These vegan eggplant meatballs are amazing meatless meatballs, made with eggplant, white beans and breadcrumbs to hold them together. If I was a vegan, I would have no problem eating this for dinner every night!

These vegan eggplant meatballs are amazing meatless meatballs, made with eggplant, white beans and breadcrumbs to hold them together. If I was a vegan, I would have no problem eating this for dinner every night!

These vegan eggplant meatballs are amazing meatless meatballs, made with eggplant, white beans and breadcrumbs to hold them together. If I was a vegan, I would have no problem eating this for dinner every night!

More Vegan Recipes:

These vegan eggplant meatballs are amazing meatless meatballs, made with eggplant, white beans and breadcrumbs to hold them together. If I was a vegan, I would have no problem eating this for dinner every night!
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4.56 from 9 votes
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Vegan Eggplant Meatballs

7
10
7
SP
260 Cals 8 Protein 43 Carbs 7 Fats
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Yield: 4 servings
COURSE: Appetizer, Dinner
CUISINE: Italian
These vegan eggplant meatballs are amazing meatless meatballs, made with eggplant, white beans and breadcrumbs to hold them together. If I was a vegan, I would have no problem eating this for dinner every night!

Ingredients

  • cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup cooked white beans, or drained, rinsed canned
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs or panko, use gf crumbs for gluten free
  • pinch red chili flakes, optional
  • 2 cups quick marinara sauce

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 375°.
  • 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 and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Transfer to the bowl of a food processor.
  • Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the skillet with the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add to the food processor along with the drained beans and parsley and pulse until well combined and chopped, but not pureed.
  • Combine the mixture with the breadcrumbs and red chile flakes if using.
  • Taste for salt then roll into 12 meatballs, about 2-inches in diameter.
  • Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake until firm and browned, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, warm the marinara sauce and serve with the meatballs over pasta, zucchini noodles or on a whole wheat roll. 

Notes

Slightly Adapted from Mark Bittman's VB6 Cookbook

Nutrition

Serving: 3meatballs with 1/2 cup sauce, Calories: 260kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 9.5g, Sodium: 307mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 1g
Blue Smart Points: 7
Green Smart Points: 10
Purple Smart Points: 7
Points +: 6
Keywords: eggplant meatballs, meatless meatballs, vegan dinner recipes, vegan meatballs, vegetarian meatballs

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134 comments

  1. This sounds really good. I can’t wait to try it with the leftover eggplant. Thanks!

  2. These are SOOOOOOO darn good! I hope there are some left for dinner! Not a big deal to put together – LOVE THESE!!!!

  3. I made this recipe to the exact specifications and sadly the meatballs all flattened out to become one big blob! I did use gluten free bread crumbs, but maybe need to double the amount called for?
    Ended up rescuing it and adding the mixture to the marinara sauce and serving over pasta. Good flavor but would love to know if anyone has a solution

  4. Made these tonight. I have been trying to use a three pound eggplant this week, and this was the third meal I made using it. I had previously salted the eggplant and let it drain, I cut it up and put it in the fridge, where it continued to drain bitter liquids off as it waited for me to get to preparing this meal. The eggplant darkened and browned during this time, but it didn’t go bad. It did lose a lot of liquid, which probably decreased the bitterness and may have prevented the slumping some people have commented about. I also ended up with 2″ diameter balls when I divided the mixture into 12 equal parts.

    I think the flavor was good, and the crisped exterior and nearby texture was good, but the center did have the mushy smushed bean texture others talked about, which I was also not a fan of. I would make this recipe again, but if I do, I would I would make the balls smaller. Perhaps half the size, in a quenelle or corquette shape. Then I could get around the dilemma of whether or not to use the word “meat: when describing these balls.

  5. Just made your eggplant recipe and although they taste EXCELLENT they flattened into little disks. Would you have an idea why that happened? 

  6. So I’m not sure what I did wrong–but my meatballs flattened out and became more like ‘patties’! I did use rice crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs so they’d be GF, but I didn’t think that would matter. Where did I go wrong? Help? They actually taste really good–but they are ugly as heck, and definitely not balls! Eek!

  7. I’ve made these vegan meatballs (and the vegetarian version) numerous times. They are a favorite of my vegan and meat loving family and friends. I’ve made these for parties as well and it is a huge hit ever time!

  8. Husband said “these were some of the best things I’ve ever made”. I did make a few adjustments. I added dried chickpeas instead of breadcrumbs. And also 1/4 cup of sprouted pumpkin seeds for some added texture. Also, used Italian seasoning blend and oregano because I didn’t have parsley. They turned out great. To rewarm I popped in the air fryer for a few minutes and it made the outside a little more crisp which was wonderful. 

  9. Can you freeze these after cooking as well? Do they hold? 

  10. I can never follow a recipe completely, but I made this (kinda) and it was GREAT!. I used oats (ground to a powder). I also added egg (free-range only!) into the batter and rolled the balls in panko breadcrumbs. I made it into both patties (veggie-burger) and meatballs, and the meatballs were tastier, probably because of a higher surface area to content ratio. Will make again, for sure. Thank you!

  11. Looks great and simple! I’m going to make these tonight. Has anyone had luck using canned chickpeas rather than white beans?

  12. I made these tonight with an amazing vegan Alfredo sauce that calls for Tahini over zucchini noodles. It was amazing! I’m Lebanese and really felt like this was a healthy twist on falafel! Here is the sauce I made with this! So delicious! These will be a staple for me with meal prep! More vegan recipes please! http://www.rainbownourishments.com/cheesy-green-cauliflower-alfredo-pasta-sauce/

  13. Are we sure the nutrition count is right? I added these up and they come out to be over 100 calories a meatball for 12 meatballs. That was with me just counting the beans, olive oil, eggplant, and breadcrumbs.

    Am I doing the math wrong? It was delicious but just want to get the calorie/nutrition count right.

  14. Mine turned out quite wet. Added a little garbanzo bean flour, but still very wet. Maybe my egg plant was too large. I also pureed my mixture so they aren’t pretty like yours…more a dull grey color. Taste ok. Maybe I’ll add a lot more bread crumbs next time for an egg plant that size.

  15. Will any white bean do, are navy beans okay? Years ago I used to make eggplant meatballs, I made up a recipe and can’t remember what it was, but it was good, definitely making these. 

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  18. I’ve never been a big fan of eggplant, but I made these anyway. And oh my goodness, these are unbelievably delicious. Will definitely make again. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  19. I am going to try this soon. I follow the VB6 diet and I love adding new recipes to my repertoire. Thanks!

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  21. Just wanted to give our update after making this recipe. So good! I didn’t have the sogginess/softness issue others had. We let these sit at room temp for at least an hour after rolling into meatballs to let them firm up. Only substitution: we replaced the breadcrumbs with 1/2 cup rolled oats.

  22. I was very excited to try this recipe, but unfortunately my eggplant was bad! I still wanted to try it out so I replaced the eggplant with shredded zucchini. I also used chickpeas instead of white beans. I baked them for about 40 mins and the insides were still pretty soft, but the taste was great! I’m definitely going to make them again using eggplant. Great recipe!

  23. I just made them according to the cooking directions, but I found that they were very soft/mushy inside. Should I have baked them for more than 30 minutes or have used less beans? Suggestions welcome! Otherwise, I loved them!

  24. As others have commented, these were firm on the outside, but really mushy on the inside. I even sauteed the meatballs thinking it would cook the inside, but indeed it did not help.

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  27. one other thing. It made a lot more than 12 meatballs. I had 30.

    • Yep. I also got over 2 dozen LARGE golfball sized meatballs. To get twelve they would have been the size of tennis balls.

  28. I tweaked a bit and made it more like an Italian meatball by adding fresh basil and grated Locatelli cheese.
    Delish.

  29. Hi I just made these and the “meatballs”  kind of just melted flat in the oven. Is there something I did wrong?

    • Not sure what went wrong, did you leave something out? Did you form them small as the recipe suggested?

      • Yep did everything according to the recipe and they turned into pancakes..and they were very mushy. 🙁

      • Bummer! Wish I knew why, I only made them once but they turned out fine.

  30. Can you make these up for the freezer and then cook them later? Thanks

  31. this recipe looks amazing! unfortunately, my oven isn't working.. do you think it would be possible to make this in a crockpot?
    '

  32. These are delicious. I haven't had a meatball in 20 years since I gave up meat. I followed the recipe to a T but I think next time I'll change up the seasoning – maybe adding some oregano and basil. Another winner! Thank you Gina

  33. This was absolutely the worst eggplant meatball recipe. The beans keep these from getting any sort of firmness.
    I was so disgusted with the way these turned out I threw half of them away.
    There are much better eggplant meatball recipes that don't rely on beans.

  34. I was really excited to make these. But mine came out brown on the outside and gooey on the inside. I think it's because the eggplant mixture was over processed in the food processor. That may have made the "meatballs" too dense. But I was pretty disappointed after all the work.

  35. Be careful! Breadcrumbs may not be vegan…..great recipe though.

  36. I've been using your recipes for years, but have had to get creative lately as my 10 month old son has some serious food allergies (dairy, nut, soy and egg). I was hesitant because of the mixed comments here. However, my son devoured them – I made them smaller and flattened, so they were a little crispier. My husband was a little more tepid, but fine with them doused in cheese. My 2 year old daughter declared them "pretty tasty". Thanks for these great recipes!! We really appreciate them!

  37. These look lovely…perhaps a way to get my kids to eat aubergine! I am amazed to see that they stick together without egg but I will trust you and give them a go! Mine will be gluten free though!

  38. WOW ! I got some eggplant in my CSA basket this week and made a batch per the recipe. For the remainder of my batches – I modified as follows: add Italian seasoning to bread crumbs, add some zucchini to the eggplant for better texture.

    The soft texture (aka mushy) is not an issue as I cut up a few and sauteed the chunks in a cast iron pan and a spot of oil. I then used the chunks to top my crockpot pizza along with marinara and Daiya mozzarella shreds. (Robin Robertson's – Puttanesca Pizza recipe in "Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker"

  39. Wow these look amazing. Eggplant and white beans are two of my faves, looking forward to making! (really mostly to eating!;)

  40. I was disappointed in these. After reading all the comments I did add additional seasoning for flavor. I also added some nutritional yeast. The taste did remind me of egglplant parmesan. I flattened my balls a little so that they wouldn't be mushy as so many complained. But mine were still mushy. I still had some mixture left so for the last four that I put in the oven, I made them really thin like a fritter. Those were better. At any rate, not worth the effort.

  41. I liked the flavor, but found them to be a bit mushy inside. Any ideas on how to get a firmer texture? Felt a bit like undercooked meatballs.

  42. these look great! i plan to make them when the eggplants in my garden mature 🙂 xox

  43. It's weird- when I enter this recipe into the Recipe Builder on the website exactly as is- it is coming up as 8 points plus for 3 meatballs- without any sauce?

  44. I love eggplant, but these were pretty gross-

  45. I so love your recipes! Just made these and although the outside is crispy, the inside is mushy and won't get firm. Flavor is good, though. Any ideas what I might be doing wrong? Overcook the eggplant? Too much processing?

  46. Sounds delicious. Do you think a blender would work instead of a food processer?

  47. sooooooo delicious i wanna taste it. yum.

  48. To get rid of the bitterness in your eggplant you can put the chopped vegetable in a colander with salt for about 20-30 mins prior to cooking them…dry them off with paper towels and proceed.

  49. Should eggplant and water to be added to skillet with hot oil at the same time? That sounds strange.

  50. does the skin absolutely have to stay on?

    • I have made this recipe a few times, quite good.  I did add 1/4tsp. of dried oregano and some fresh basil to the mixture.  I also found rolling like you would do a meat ball  and pan frying  turned out much better for me than baking, which seemed to flatten like a disk.  

  51. I've been making recipes from this site for over a year now, and while I've enjoyed most of them, this one was so great I just had to comment. Really, really good! I made them last night, had some for dinner, stored the rest in the fridge and reheated for lunch today with the marinara. They hold up well in the fridge (I layered them on paper towels so they wouldn't get too soggy and it worked well). Thanks Gina! These will definitely become a staple in my kitchen. Thinking they may also be good with tzatziki.

  52. These look so great – I love the idea of a vegetarian "meat" ball!

    www.thebreadandthebacon.com

  53. I just bought my paderno slicer and I am so very excited about making Zoodles! We are growing our very own vegetables this year (for the first time) so this is very exciting for me, haha! When I started following this blog, I was a size 12, today I am a 6!! So thank you for teaching me how not to diet, but how to just eat to live! It works!

  54. what if you don't have a food processor?

  55. I have made many wonderful recipes from this site, but unfortunately, I did not care for these. I didn't like the texture (kind of mushy inside), and the bitterness of the eggplant was overwhelming. Surprisingly, my 13-year-old daughter loved them! Gina, I can't wait until your cookbook is published! We are huge fans!

  56. Just made this for dinner…my husband and I both LOVED it! We will definitely make this again!

  57. These look absolutely ah-mazing!! Will definitely be saving this recipe for later. I always jump at the chance to use my veggie noodler, too. Yeah!

    xx
    LuLu
    sugar is smoking

  58. Looks delicious! Can't wait to try tonight.

  59. Gina, I've been making your dinner recipes almost every day since March as part of an effort to lose some weight. I'm currently down 17 pounds, and for that I'd like to give you my sincerest thanks for all you do with your blog. Looking forward to your cookbook!

  60. These are crazy delish!!!! My family LOVED them!!! Thanks Gina!!!

    • Aren't they good! I am so glad your family liked them, I would make the vegetarian and add some cheese next time 🙂

  61. Well, I made these and probably won't again; they weren't very flavorful and needed to be covered in a red sauce.

  62. I know I'll get an honest answer here… does the spiralizer really work even if the vegetables aren't big? Zucchinis are difficult to find in my part of the world and when I find them they are not big. I want to buy the spiralizer but I'm afraid of adding yet another gadget to the pile of useless junk in my kitchen. Thanks in advance to anyone who answers and thank you Gina for your hard work, I can't wait to get my book!

    • We have the spiralizer that Gina recommends and love it. It works on small and large zucchinis. We use it all the time, the only thing we have to do it cut the zoodles. If we dont cut as we spiralize then the zoodles are way to long lol.

    • yes it really works large or small I would highly recommend it , I also use my Mandolin but prefer the "noodles " with the spiralizer. A good value

    • in my experience (with the same spiralizer): no. because a good 1.5 centimeter diameter of the middle of the vegetable is wasted.. so the whole center of the zucchini does not get spiralized… if it is only an inch or inch and a half around, that's wasting a lot of the vegetable and your results are less than stellar. hope that helps!

    • Thanks for the answers. 1.5 can mean half a carrot for me so I think I'll try a mandolin first.

    • I meant 1.5cm

    • I had some long thin beets and used it for them. Perfect to put over my salad! Great gadget for us!

  63. Gina I love eggplant but dislike the peel. I am wondering if the peel is noticeable in this recipe? If so, I'll remove it. Thanks

  64. Packaged vegetarian meatballs that are also gluten free are not easy to find…at least I haven't found any. So, I have to make them gluten free myself. These look delicious (loving the zucchini noodles too)! I am going to make a big batch and freeze them for quick weeknight meals. Thanks!

  65. I can't think of an alternative to beans. My daughter is allergic. Anyone have any ideas?

  66. Do you think these could be cooked right in the sauce? Either baked in a glass pyrex in the sauce in the oven, or on the stove? This looks amazing and I can't wait to make it! I was just generously gifted a spiralizer and this is the perfect opportunity to make zoodles!

  67. I make a vegetarian version of this with a 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese instead of bread crumbs. It is delicious too.

  68. I made something similar, these look fabulous!! I like the zucchini noodles too!

  69. These look sooo delicious! I'm a huge fan of eggplant and would totally eat these up!

  70. Do you think these would freeze well? And if so, baked or raw?

  71. This looks and sounds yummy. Thanks for using a sheet pan that looks like everybody's (real world), not one that is pristine (cooking shows). Made me laugh out loud.

  72. What else can i use instead of beans? I dont eat beans at all 🙁

    • You can't even taste the beans they are really nice. The white beans are brilliant for binding, and they are truly a delicate bean, they are not heavy on the gut. Use the white beans in place of cream, they blend in beautifully with Pumpkin soups, most all the blended soups actually. I can't understand why people don't like beans, but we all have different tastes of course; which I accept. I just love BEANS!! I could eat beans morning, noon, and night.

  73. Glad to have stumbled into your blog. You have lots of interesting and healthy food recipes! Thanks for sharing!

  74. perfect for my vegan mother – thank you!

    www.the-austinite.com

  75. This looks delish! The only problem is that my husband can't have beans (or soy) due to his illness. I'm trying to think of what I could put in there instead.

  76. I bought the veggie sliver from Amazon based on your recommendation – best buy EVER.

  77. I just started the VB6! So excited to see this on Skinnytaste!

  78. My husband has recently decided to (mostly) go vegetarian but still loves the flavour of our old meaty favourites. This looks like a brilliant replacement for meatballs!

  79. I have been successful making zoodles with my Julianne Peeler. Love them and really enjoy your recipes Gina!

  80. Thank you Gina for sharing this recipe! I am so excited to try these. I have veganized many of your recipes and always turn out great. I love finding vegan recipes on non veggie sites as they tend to be more appealing for my non vegan family members and friends.

  81. Wow, these look ah-mazing! I've done zucchini pasta before with meat sauce, but the idea to use eggplant for meatballs… genius!

  82. Now that's an idea. I like eggplant, but I mostly like it in ratatouille or on its own. I think I've been traumatized by so many people expecting me to like eggplant Parmesan and other dishes as much as they do. Thanks for sharing.

  83. This looks super yummy! Can't wait to try it. I've never really tried eggplant before so I'm excited to try it out.

  84. Do you think it could be blended in advance and then baked up right before dinner? I am hosting a dinner party next week for vegans so this is perfect but I won't have very much prep time.

    • I actually did blend these up ahead of time but left the breadcrumbs out. I refrigerated for 2 days, added the breadcrumbs and made the meatballs and they were fine! I also thought they'd make great burgers.

    • Thanks! Super helpful.

  85. I'm so excited to try these Gina! Thank you!

  86. do you absolutely need the beans??? is there another substitute?

  87. Great idea, love eggplant and love meatballs!!!!

  88. These look great! I could also see making them larger for veggie burgers.

  89. WILL TRY !!!

    http://franchemeetsfashion.blogspot.cz/

  90. How many eggplant "meat"balls are in one serving?
    Love your site! My favorite latest discovery. I am on here daily.

    • 3, thanks for catching that!

    • If you make 12 meatballs total, and the recipe says it makes 4 servings, then it is 3 meatballs per serving. Divide the total number of meatballs you make (using the recipe measurements) by 4 for the number of them per serving.

  91. What a great use for eggplant! Love all of the flavors in here, definitely trying this. 🙂

  92. These look absolutely fantastic! I cannot believe they are made with aubergines 😀 Definitely for carnivores, omnivores and herbivores alike 😀 Thanks for the recipe! x

  93. Looks delicious! I wonder if oat bran or rolled oats would work instead of the breadcrumbs…

    • I always use old fashioned oats that I process in the Cussinart. If I was to use the oats, I would put a little less and see if it works well, you can always add more………………………..I just ate eggplant meatballs that I purchased and they are delicious…………I will learn how to make it and this recipe looks delicious.

    • Wasn’t sure about how many eggplants is 1 lbs. so used 2 Meduim sized.  I think this was fine. I also diced the  eggplant and drained them for over 30 min first on paper towel by sprinkling salt on them before following the recipe. I used panko as directed but altered by adding ground golden flax seed as well as nutritional yeast (1/2 c) for flavour, and additional nutritional value.  I could definitely see using oats in this recipe.  The carnivores in the family walked in after a day of golf and wolfed down a few before supper – adding a scoop of sauce. Loved them!  Even after they found out there was no meat or cheese in them!  I will make them again. Thank you.