Entrée, Italian, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, Vegetarian

Meatless Eggplant “Meatballs”


The idea for meatless meatballs has been in my head for some time. I keep circling back to ideas for eggplant or lentils, and settled on trying Eggplant “Meatballs” complete with cannellini beans. Just like you’d make regular meatballs, they have panko and Parmesan as breading and an egg to bind. By baking them, they stay moist in the center with a crispy outside. While I didn’t try them with sauce yet, I think the crispiness will hold its own. All I can do is envision these with some basil marinara sauce or simmering in a vegetable bolognese or turkey bolognese.

Ingredients (makes 20 meatballs, serving 4-5).

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2″ thick circles *
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 c canned cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 T ground parmesan
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 t salt
*NOTE: I had a very large eggplant and used about 3/4 of this, reserving the remaining fourth for the roasted veggie bowl (see step 2) — recipe to come!


  1. Preheat broiler to high. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (optional).
  2. Fill the baking sheet with eggplant slices and garlic cloves. Reserve any eggplant slices that don’t fit on the baking sheet; you’ll use these for an eggplant meatball and veggie bowl!
  3. Broil on high for about 5-7 min until eggplant slices are steaming and beginning to brown. Remove from heat and transfer slices and garlic to a high speed blender (or food processor).
  4. Combine remaining ingredients for the meatballs into the blender, cover, and let sit for about 5 min. The steam from the broiled eggplant will continue soften them.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425º F while the ingredients steam.
  6. Purée veggies into a thick paste, scraping down the sides as needed.
  7. Gently roll the paste into 1½” diameter “meatballs” and place on lightly greased baking sheet.
  8. Lightly spray the tops with cooking spray and bake meatballs for 10 min, rotate, and then bake for about 7-8 min until meatballs are firm and browning.
  9. Enjoy as is, add to a salad or bowl, or toss with marinara in place of meat-lovers meatballs!

Adapted from Martha Stewart‘s “Spaghetti and Eggplant ‘Meatballs’.”

Nutrition for 1 meatball.
28 calories  •  0.4 g fat (14%)  •  4.6 g carbs (65%)  •  1.5 g protein (21%)  •  1.2 g fiber  •  0.5 g sugar  •  81 mg sodium
* These are estimates based off specific products I used and how I entered ingredients in a fitness tracker. This is completely subjective and used to give a rough nutritional estimate.

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