How to make delicious and clever eggplant meatballs

I love this recipe. It’s clever, tasty, and nutritious. I found it on Martha Stewart’s website. Her version serves the eggplant meatballs in spaghetti but I prefer to eat them in an Italian-style without the spaghetti and tomato sauce. In Italy, the meatballs stand alone.

Eggplant meatballs or polpette di melanzane in Italian are common in Italy but I appreciate the cooking method in this recipe. Eggplant tends to absorb a lot of oil when cooking, but this recipe cleverly broils the eggplant without oil and then steams it in a tightly lidded bowl.

Nutrient-rich cannellini beans are also a great addition as they are fat-free, high in fiber, and full of protein, not to mention good for the planet. Beans are an eco-friendly farming choice that can actually improve soil fertility. More beans, please!

I have been serving my eggplant meatballs with plain full-fat yogurt. Yogurt is not only good for you but delicious too. My roommate in cooking school was from Turkey, and she taught me the magic of pairing yogurt with savory dishes. Yogurt is used in a lot of delicious ways in the Turkish cuisine.

Looking for more eggplant inspiration? I have two eggplant pasta recipes on the blog – a variation on the Sicilian pasta alla norma with goat cheese and a simple recipe for pasta with eggplant and garlic and red pepper flakes. I also have a recipe for roasted Japanese eggplants and marinated eggplant in saor.

Eggplant meatballs

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe for spaghetti and eggplant meatballs.

Serves 4

  • 1 large eggplant (approximately 1 pound/453 grams), cut into 1/2″ thick rounds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 small can or box of cannellini beans (approximately 15.5 ounces), drained and rinsed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 to 1 cup finely crushed breadcrumbs or panko
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Yogurt for serving
  1. Preheat broiler with rack about six inches from heat source.
  2. Place eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet and broil until blackened on top (about 7 minutes) and then flip and blacken the second side (about 4 minutes).
  3. Transfer to a bowl with the garlic, oregano, and olive oil and toss. Cover immediately with a tight-fitting lid and let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a food processor with beans, egg, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, parmesan, red pepper flakes, and salt.
  5. Pulse until chunky while being careful not to overmix. Add more breadcrumbs if needed.
  6. Shape into 16 balls and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Wetting your hands can help as the balls are sticky.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil and broil until brown on top (about 7 minutes).
  8. Plate and serve with yogurt.

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