A recipe for carnivores, omnivores and herbivores alike!
If you’re trying to increase your consumption of meatless meals per week, these balls are calling your name! The concept of meatless meatballs is kind of ironic, but that didn’t stop me from giving it a go anyhow. People often have beef with fake meats or vegetarian foods parading around as meat (i.e. vegan sausages, vegan burger patties, vegan meatballs) and tell me “Why would I eat mock chicken if I could eat real chicken?”. To me, it all boils down to the fact that mock meats are a way of diversifying the vegetarian diet all while conserving the comfort food aspect of foods that I was raised on, such as meatballs, for example. When making home-made mock meats, mushrooms and eggplants are the best vegetables to employ as they have a more meaty texture. Eggplant is also a winner because of its alcaline qualities (makes your blood less acidic) and for the fact that its skin is a gold mine of antioxidants (the purple color kind of gives that away).
I had this recipe approved by some meat-lovers I know, which significantly added to my pride factor. How close the texture of these babies is to actual meatballs will probably blow you away. These are so chewy and delicious, it’s ridiculous. Plus, as opposed to “real” meatballs, they are much lighter and energizing, in my humble opinion.
For this recipe, eggplants work perfectly due to their silky texture and aforementioned meatiness, white beans generously contribute lean protein and iron and multigrain breadcrumbs do a fantastic job at holding everything together!
In the possible modifications department, should you want or need to, you can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free bread for the breadcrumbs. You could also make bigger meatballs and use them as burger patties. Or, try adding dried berries like raisins or currants for a sweet touch.
Serve these bean and eggplant balls over brown rice, whole-grain pasta, vegetables, in a meatball submarine sandwich or on zucchini noodles (making these requires a spiralizer).
Yield: about 12 “meatballs”
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 medium red onion
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp. roasted pine nuts
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 slice of multigrain bread, chopped into fine pieces
- 1 cup white beans (I used Great Northern beans but cannellini beans are fine and dandy, as well)
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cook your eggplant, onions and garlic in a pan with the oil. Once all is cooked and the eggplants’ flesh is soft, allow to cool.
- Add the beans, parsley, spices, pine nuts, eggplant, onion, garlic, flaxseed and breadcrumbs to your food processor.
- Blend all ingredients in your food processor until well mixed, but not pureed. Ideally, you want to still be able to see bits of the original ingredients.
- Roll the mixture into about twelve 1-inch balls.
- Place on a greased baking sheet or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- The best part: serve!
Note: You can bake these balls ahead of time and reheat ’em when you’re ready to eat ’em!
Nutrient packed meatballs. I’ve struck gold with these ones! Here, the meatballs are served on a bed of whole-wheat spaghetti, topped with tomato basil sauce and sprinkled with a bit of nutritional yeast.
Aerial view: divine & tender! These meatballs do not disappoint! I truly think I knocked it out of the park for this one, guys! After trying these, you may be stricken with a vegan meatball fever.
Let me know what you think of these, and if you develop this fever I speak of! 😉