Eggplant meatballs are hearty meatless meatballs that can be served as a main course, in a sandwich or as an appetizer. Whichever way you choose to serve this eggplant meatballs recipe, you will not be disappointed because these “meatballs” are delicious!
This recipe was originally posted in 2018, the pictures have been updated along with additional details about the recipe.
- Eggplant meatballs are vegetarian and gluten-free – Jump to the recipe.
- This recipe includes a vegan option, see the vegan instructions
- This eggplant meatball recipe is a great recipe for making ahead of time, see the make ahead instructions
Here is what you will need recipe
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- Olive Oil
- Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Food Processor
Estimated Time To Make This Recipe: 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours (includes time to refrigerate the meatball ingredients)
The best vegetarian meatballs
These meatballs! Every time I make them, I know they are made with eggplant, yet when I see them covered in homemade marinara sauce, my mind says they are made with meat.
The first bite is always a surprise.
The second bite says yes! These meatballs are made with eggplant, it’s OK, and they taste delicious.
Drench the eggplant meatballs in homemade marinara sauce for an hour, and they will soak up all of the flavors in the sauce. Eggplant meatballs are lighter in texture than a traditional meatball, but they will fill you up!
- Once the meatball ingredients are combined, the mixture will be very soft. Place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour to make it easier to form the meatballs. If you are in a hurry, you can speed up the chilling time by placing the mixture in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Once the meatball mixture has cooled off enough to form into meatballs, use an ice cream scoop to make it even easier to form them.
- Store leftover cooked meatballs in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Make Ahead Instructions
This is a great recipe to make ahead, see below for both refrigerator and freezer instructions.
Mix together the meatball ingredients and store the filling in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Form them into meatballs and bake them following the recipe instructions, or bake the meatballs and store the baked meatballs in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and reheat them in sauce or in the oven.
Once the meatballs have been baked, place them on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer. Once the meatballs are completely frozen through place them into a freezer proof storage container.
To reheat them, place the frozen “meatballs” and allow them to cook until they are heated through, or place them on a baking sheet and bake them at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes until they are heated through.
- Serve the meatballs on a hoagie roll topped with melted mozzarella cheese
- Top a plate of fresh zucchini noodles or pasta with eggplant meatballs.
- Serve them as an appetizer
Vegan Eggplant Meatballs
For vegan/dairy-free eggplant meatballs, replace the Parmesan cheese with 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and the egg with a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed combined with 2 tablespoons water).
Change up the beans
The chickpeas can be replaced with one cup white beans.
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Eggplant meatballs are a tender and flavorful alternative to their meat counterpart.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 12 meatballs 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Italian
- Prepare the ingredients: rough chop the eggplant into 1 to 1 1/2 inch chunks, mince the onions and garlic, grate the cheese, drain and rinse the chickpeas – set everything aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 cup water to a skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. Once the water and oil are hot, add the eggplant chunks and water.
- Cook the eggplant stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes until the eggplant becomes tender.
- While the eggplant is cooking pulse the chickpeas and walnuts in a food processor until they are the size of breadcrumbs.
- Once the eggplant is cooked, transfer it to the food processor with the walnuts and chickpeas
- Add the remaining oil to the skillet along with onions and garlic., cook them until they become translucent – about 5 minutes and add them to the food processor and process again.
- Add the onions and garlic to the food processor and blend them together.
- Place the mixture into a bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- In a separate bowl whisk one egg and stir it into the eggplant mixture along with the cheese mix until everything is combined.
- Place the meatball mixture in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
- Remove the mixture from the freezer, and pre-heat the oven to 400.
- Roll the mixture into balls about 2 inches in size
- Place the meatballs onto a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper and bake until browned – about 15 to 20 minutes.
- For vegan/dairy-free eggplant meatballs, replace the Parmesan cheese with 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and the egg with a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed combined with 2 tablespoons water)
- Serve the meatballs on a hoagie roll topped with melted mozzarella cheese, on top of your favorite pasta or zoodles, or in sauce for an appetizer.
Nutrition information is provided by Nutrifox, an online calculator and is meant to be used for informational purposes only. Even though I try to provide accurate information, these figures should still be considered as estimates.
Keywords: vegan meatballs, vegetarian meatballs, meatless meatballs, meatballs