Frugal Foods, Happy Stomachs: Eggplant Meatballs

Posted by Ashley Copperstone

To all my vegetarian readers, this one is for you. Are you craving meat, or even just the idea of meat, but don't want to give up on your crusade to save the animals, your stomach, or your soul? Well, we have all been there at one point or another, so this one is for everyone's Meatless Mondays: Eggplant Meatballs.

For those of you who have never eaten eggplant meatballs, they definitely are not a traditional carnivore food. They are, however, very similar to their cow/pig/chicken-filled cousins, so worry not. They have more of an herbal taste and are less juicy than the traditional meatball, but they are FULL of zesty flavor. They are also easily convertible for those of the gluten-free or dairy-free persuasion. It's as simple as substituting in gluten-free breadcrumbs, or omitting the cheese.

This recipe is definitely a step up from a simple assembly-line procedure like my previously covered Black Bean Flat Wraps. You will also need a food processor or a blender, though in a pinch this can be replaced with some ambitious mashing. My suggestion is to make this dish on a Sunday night and have enough delicious leftovers for sandwiches, pasta toppers, and even a mix-in for your lunch-time salad to last the week.

Eggplant Meatballs:

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Eggplant, peeled and diced into small cubes

3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

1-2 Tablespoons of water

2 eggs

Enough Parmesan cheese to satisfy your cheese craving

1 small onion, diced

1 tablespoon of Parsley

1 tablespoon of Oregano

1 tablespoon of Basil

1? cups of breadcrumbs

Step 1: Cook the minced garlic and olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat-watch this carefully! Once the garlic reaches a golden brown, you are ready to move on!

Step 2: Throw the cubed eggplant and water into the pan and cover it. You need to steam the eggplant for a good ten minutes or until the cubes are soft. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Step 3: While the eggplant steams, combine eggs, diced onion, parsley, oregano, basil and cheese in a food processor or blender using the pulse setting a couple of times.

Step 4: Take the eggplant off the burner and cool for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Place the eggplant in the food processor with the other ingredients and pulse until combined-it will look smooth with small chunks.

Step 6: Scrape mixture out of food processor and into a large bowl and add breadcrumbs. Form into meatballs. If they don't stick together, add more breadcrumbs.

Step 7: You can either bake these babies in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes or fry them in a pan with oil for 5-7 minutes or until brown.

The meatballs should come out wonderfully crispy on the outside and soft on the inside! You can add them to a sauce, top pasta, or make a sandwich! So be creative and frugal, because this makes 16 BIG meatballs for around $6.23!

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