Updated: Apr 14, 2020
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Now, if you scroll through my recipes or my meal prep highlights on my Instagram, you’ll see a lot of vegetables. One that doesn’t usually make an appearance though, is eggplant. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE eggplant. Sticky Chinese eggplant, eggplant parmesan, eggplant fries, I love it all, but whenever I try any of these recipes myself I always end up with a rubbery, mushy mess. I’ve mastered sautéing, roasting, and even blending other vegetables, but cooking eggplant correctly has eluded me. Until now.
Introducing your new favorite meatless Monday dinner: eggplant “meat”balls. These guys are made from a hearty mixture of eggplant, cannellini beans, brown rice, and cashews. Not to mention, these ingredients provide a decent amount of protein. They’re also loaded with flavor from the aromatics and spices. After taking a bite of these, you’ll forget there’s supposed to be “meat” in the name.
These guys make a great meal prep option. Make a big batch on Sunday and eat them throughout the week. Toss them on pasta, in your favorite sauce, or in sandwiches. My favorite way to use them is on top of some sautéed zucchini noodles with pesto. It makes a great lunch.
These also freeze well. Store them in an airtight container in the freezer. When you're craving meatballs, let them thaw on the counter for about 20 minutes, then reheat them in the oven at 400F until heated through. For me though, I crave them all the time. They never make it to the freezer.
Makes about 18-20 Balls
350 g - Eggplant - Skinned and diced
3 Cloves - Garlic - Minced
Half - Yellow Onion - Diced
1 - Large Egg
135 g - Great Northern Beans - Cooked*
110 g - Brown Rice - Cooked*
60 g - Oat Flour*
25 g - Parmesan Cheese* - Grated
42 g - Cashews - Crushed
33 g - Tomato Paste
½ tbsp - Dried Basil
¼ tbsp - Dried Oregano
1 tsp - Cracked Red Pepper
1 tsp - Truffle Salt - Optional
½ tbsp - Black Pepper - Plus more to taste
2 tbsp - Salt - Plus more to taste
Using a nonstick method of choice, add eggplant, onion, and 1 tbsp of salt to a pan. Saute for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat. When eggplant has become soft, add minced garlic and saute for an additional 3-4 minutes or until garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat and allow eggplant mixture to cool.
When cooled, add mixture and beans to a food processor. Pulse a few times until a meal-like texture forms. Do not puree.
In a bowl, add the eggplant mixture and remaining ingredients. Stir until everything is well combined.
Cover and place mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Remove mixture from the fridge. Using wet hands, roll the mixture out into 20 balls. Place the balls on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking tray*.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the balls feel firm and are browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and flip them before returning them to the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes.
Remove eggplant balls from the oven. Enjoy with your favorite pasta sauce and cheese over a bed of zucchini noodles or spaghetti.
Store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month*.
*Notes: - If using canned beans, make sure to drain and rinse them well for better digestion.
- I’ve found that day old brown rice works best for this recipe as it is less starchy and provides a better texture.
- Use gluten free oats if needed.
- Use vegetarian parmesan if necessary
- Even if you are using a parchment or silicone mat lined baking tray, I would recommend spraying it with a nonstick cooking spray. The balls tend to stick.
- If reheating from frozen, allow eggplant balls to thaw on the counter for 30 minutes. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.