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 (zucchini spirals), or served as an appetizer, these eggplant meatballs are delish!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 1/4 lbs unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • pink salt

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 tbsp chopped basil, plus leaves for garnish

  • 1 1/2 cups melba toast crumbs

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 (25.25 ounce jar) Pasta Sauce (no sugar, no salt)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. lightly coat large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.

  2. 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.

  3. Transfer to a bowl and add bread crumbs, beaten egg, , parsley, garlic and chopped basil into the eggplant. Season with 1/2 teaspoon pink salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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