A stroll down memory lane of making meatballs ....
I can remember as a kid, standing in the kitchen with my mother - mixing, rolling and then frying the meatballs for our big family gatherings. I have vivid memories of digging my hands into a huge bowl, filled with a ground meat mixture. My mother would gradually add in the eggs, breadcrumbs and spices as I was mixing. We would then proceed to roll the meatballs, for what seemed like an eternity at times, before I would reach the bottom of the bowl. As I look back though, we had some of our best conversations while we were rolling meatballs!
We would then proceed to fry them in a big pan. The oil in the pan would splatter all over, especially on me. I would rotate the meatballs with a spoon and carefully plop them into a big pot of homemade tomato sauce. We aren't Italian, but my mother sure knew how to make a great Italian pasta sauce!
Although I have very fond memories of those times, my taste buds have changed quite a bit over the years. I still enjoy making meatballs, and with my kids, but they are "meatless" meatballs. My favorite being eggplant meatballs.
I first tried eggplant meatballs at a restaurant in NYC (that sadly is no longer around) tossed over roasted spaghetti squash. It was so delicious, that within days I was trying to replicate the recipe at home.
I have made many versions of it, and I will share one of them in this post, but I'm sure that won't be the last of it, since I'm continually trying to make a different version of a meatball. For some reason, you can't go wrong if you get the right texture and mix of ingredients and just shape it into a ball. People just seem to love it! So get adventurous and create beyond my recipe and please share if it turns out great!!Print
This is a vegan version of meatballs made with eggplant, cannellini beans, breadcrumbs and spices blended together, then baked in an oven.
1 Italian eggplant - peeled and cubed
1 shallot diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup plain (or Italian) breadcrumbs
Jar of Marinara Sauce (or homemade)
2 teaspoons vegan parmesan cheese
- Prep the eggplant, shallot, garlic and flax seed.
- Heat a non stick pan and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add shallot and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and eggplant and cook for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and let cook until soaked through and tender for ten minutes.
- Remove from pan (strain if still liquid) and place in food processor. Blend until pureed. Add cannellini beans and pulse until blended well.
- Pour mixture into a bowl and add flaxseed, salt, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon vegan parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs. Stir well until blended and firm to form meatballs. If more breadcrumbs are needed, simply add more to firm up the mixture.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with olive oil. Use a small ice cream scooper (approximately 2 tablespoons) to form each meatball and place on baking sheet. When done spray with olive oil for a crisper meatball.
- Heat oven to 375° and cook for approximately 30 minutes turning halfway thru.
- Remove from oven and place on top of pasta with your favorite marinara sauce and chopped fresh basil. A sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese is also recommended for a finishing touch.
Equipment needed: food processor or blender
Keywords: eggplant meatballs, vegan meatballs, vegan eggplant meatballs