These eggplant meatballs, made with lentils, roasted eggplant, and bread crumbs, are moist, tender, and so satisfying that you won’t even notice there’s no meat in them.
These eggplant “meatballs” are reminiscent of falafel and made, brilliantly, with roasted eggplant, lentils, and bread crumbs. What results is a crisp crust, a tender interior, and an impossibly enticing taste. Whether you choose to try them atop pasta smothered in marinara, tucked in pitas with a dollop of tzatziki, or made into a veggie meatball sub, we can promise you won’t miss the meat.–Angie Zoobkoff
- Quick Glance
- Quick Glance
- 1 H, 15 M
- 1 H, 45 M
- Makes 20 meatballs
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HOW TO SERVE THESE EGGPLANT “MEATBALLS”
- The options for these tender vegetarian balls are endless but here are a few suggestions. We’d love to hear how you served them in a comment below.
Piled atop spaghetti and smothered in marinara sauce.
Tucked into a pita with tzatziki or hummus and plenty of cucumbers, lettuce, onions, or other vegetables.
Served as a knife-and-fork appetizer with tahini sauce for dipping.
Tucked into a toasted sub roll and topped with marinara and cheese as a vegetarian “meatball” sub.
Recipe Testers Reviews
This eggplant meatballs recipe was a bit of work but the end result was worth it. These “meatballs” came out tender, very flavorful, and I really enjoyed the texture. My very carnivorous husband even asked for seconds.
Frying them was similar to frying falafels but the batter was wetter and softer. To make the batter less wet, I might drain the eggplant after it has been scooped out of its skin and perhaps add more bread crumbs. They formed into balls easily enough, but I would suggest you chill the formed balls in the fridge between batches and handle them gingerly.
I put some of them in marinara while I fried the rest and they dissolved pretty quickly. If you want them to stay intact, I would add them to the plate and pour some sauce over instead of putting them in the sauce.
This recipe would make 4 to 6 servings, depending on whether you are serving any other courses.
Mwah! We non-vegetarians savored every bit of these delicious and hearty meatballs with our pasta dinner! They had great texture and were wonderful with marinara sauce, just how we want really good traditional meatballs to be.
The mixture came together fast with the pulses in the recipe and it wasn’t too sticky to handle after being refrigerated overnight. Frying formed a solid and sturdy crust on the meatballs. They could be served plain as finger food. They did become a little fragile when cooked in a sauce, though. In order to preserve their shape, I added the meatballs to the gently simmering marinara sauce at the end, turned off the heat, and let them sit while the pasta cooked. Once the pasta was done, I transferred just the meatballs to a serving bowl, tossed the pasta in the sauce, and served it separately from the meatballs.
Too many prepping steps for a weeknight? You’ll be happy to know that the recipe has time-saving potential. I think panko would be just fine if you don’t have time to make and toast fresh bread crumbs. And this would your chance to use those cooked lentils in your freezer—just thaw them overnight in the fridge. Roasting vegetables for another meal? Stick a couple of whole eggplants in the oven at the same time.
These were tasty enough but more like falafel than meatballs and so it was weird. We thought they were much better served in a pita pocket with hummus and lettuce, tomatoes, pickled red onions, etc.