Vegetarian meatballs might sound like an oxymoron, but one bite of these Eggplant Meatballs and you’ll be hooked! These protein-packed, plant-based meatballs taste just like the real deal and are guaranteed to be a hit with vegetarians and carnivores alike.


 

If this recipe sounds slightly familiar to you, it’s probably because I raved about it when I posted it on Instagram back in October SEPTEMBER (yikes, I didn’t realize it was that long ago!). At the time, I promised that I would share the recipe on the blog in the next few weeks and, well, I think you know where this is going…

 

Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs | These protein-packed, plant-based meatballs taste just like the real deal and are guaranteed to be a hit with vegetarians and carnivores alike! www.bytesizednutrition.com

 

Yeah, I guess you could say I really dropped the {eggplant meat}ball on that one (thankfully, that’s just a figure of speech.. losing one of these little guys would be a serious tragedy). But, you know what they say.. better late than never, right?

Anyways, I promise you that these meatballs are 100% worth the wait.

 

Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs | These protein-packed, plant-based meatballs taste just like the real deal and are guaranteed to be a hit with vegetarians and carnivores alike! www.bytesizednutrition.com

 

These meatless meatballs were inspired by Skinnytaste’s Eggplant Meatballs, but are a bit more substantial, thanks to the addition of protein-packed white beans and walnuts. I served the eggplant meatballs over Roasted Spaghetti Squash with 15-Minute Marinara, but feel free to substitute with your favorite pasta or even spiralized vegetables. Something tells me that these would also make for a pretty baller meatball sub (see what I did there?)

 

 

Either way, you’re going to LOVE these meatballs. Just ask my meat-eating, animal-hunting, anti-eggplant fiancé, who couldn’t get enough of them! He’s requested them several times since I first made them and raved about them to friends and co-workers. If that’s not a testament to the quality of this recipe, then I don’t know what is!

 

Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs | These protein-packed, plant-based meatballs taste just like the real deal and are guaranteed to be a hit with vegetarians and carnivores alike! www.bytesizednutrition.com

 

I’m always super skeptical about serving him meatless dishes, especially when it’s a recipe that would typically include meat (i.e. meatballs, veggie burgers, etc.). So when he remained silent after hesitantly popping one of these in his mouth, I figured that was simply his polite way of saying, “Nice try, babe.”

But, after a few painful moments of silence, I sheepishly looked up, cringed, and muttered “Sooo…?”

“You really want to know?” he replied.

I cringed a little harder. “Yes…….”

“They taste like a MEATBALL,” he exclaimed, as a look of disbelief swept across his face.

 

Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs | These protein-packed, plant-based meatballs taste just like the real deal and are guaranteed to be a hit with vegetarians and carnivores alike! www.bytesizednutrition.com

 

So there you have it – a carnivore-approved meatless “meatball” success! I hope you’ll give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. These eggplant meatballs have quickly become a household favorite around here and I have no doubt that you’ll see why after your first bite. 

 

Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs
Yields 24
Vegetarian meatballs might sound like an oxymoron, but one bite of these Eggplant Meatballs and you'll be hooked! These protein-packed, plant-based meatballs taste just like the real deal and are guaranteed to be a hit with vegetarians and carnivores alike.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tsp olive oil
  2. 1 lb eggplant, chopped
  3. 1/4 cup walnuts (heaping)
  4. 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  5. 1-15 oz. can Great Northern beans (or other white beans), rinsed and drained
  6. 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (plus additional 1/2 cup for coating)
  7. 1 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  8. 1/4 cup Parmesan Reggiano, freshly grated
  9. 1 large egg, beaten
  10. 1/4 tsp black pepper
  11. pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add 1 tsp olive oil to a large nonstick skillet with a lid and heat over medium-high. Once hot, add chopped eggplant, along with 1/4 cup water to skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. While eggplant is cooking, add walnuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground, being careful not to over process. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  4. Once eggplant is cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Transfer to the bowl of the food processor, add garlic and white beans, and pulse several times to combine. Remove and transfer to the bowl with the ground walnuts.
  5. Add remaining ingredients (breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, Parmesan Reggiano, egg, salt and pepper) to the bowl and mix to combine.
  6. Line a shallow bowl or plate with about 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs. Form eggplant mixture into golf-sized balls and roll in breadcrumbs to coat. Place "meatballs" on prepared baking sheet and spray with additional cooking spray (this will help them to brown).
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes, until firm and browned.
  8. Remove from oven, toss with marinara sauce, and serve warm.
Notes
  1. Uncooked meatballs may be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, simply place unbaked meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in freezer for about 1 hour until firm. Transfer eggplant meatballs to an airtight container or large freezer ziplock bag and return to freezer. Meatballs can be baked directly from freezer - follow directions above, but increase bake time to 30-40 minutes (flipping every 10 minutes), until golden browned and crisp.
  2. Recipe makes approximately 24 meatballs.
Byte Sized Nutrition http://bytesizednutrition.com/

 

 

 Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs | These protein-packed, plant-based meatballs taste just like the real deal and are guaranteed to be a hit with vegetarians and carnivores alike! www.bytesizednutrition.com

30 Comments on Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs

    • Thanks Carmen! I’m not going to lie.. they taste SO similar to regular meatballs it’s kind of scary! My fiancé absolutely loves them. Hope you give them a try!

    • I’m telling you.. if anything will change your mind about eggplant, it’s this recipe. My fiancé doesn’t like eggplant and he gobbles these up every time I make them!

    • Haha I’m not going to lie, I was super skeptical about vegetarian meatballs, but the taste and consistency of these is on point! Hope you give them another try 🙂

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