Baked eggplant meatballs

Eggplants are one of the most versatile and loved vegetables in Italian cuisine. In addition to the classic parmigiana, they lend themselves to numerous delicious and original recipes. One of them is baked eggplant meatballs, a vegetarian dish that is easy to prepare and very delicious. The eggplant meatballs – prepared without eggs – are excellent eaten on their own, but even better when accompanied by sauces and dips in which to dunk them.
To make these vegetarian meatballs, first you need to cook the eggplant cut into cubes in a pan, then, once cold, they should be mixed with aromatic herbs, spices and a little breadcrumbs, enough to obtain a mixture that you can work easily with the hands. After mixing all the ingredients, simply give the meatballs a slightly flattened shape, roll them in the breadcrumbs and cook in the oven with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The result is delicious vegetarian meatballs with a crunchy crust and a soft interior and a delicate eggplant flavor. Baked eggplant meatballs do not contain eggs or dairy products, so they can also be consumed by those who are lactose or egg intolerant and also by vegans.
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baked eggplant meatballs vegetarian vegan recipe with tzatziki sauce or yogurt by tastycorner

Video recipe of the day

  • DifficultyVery easy
  • CostVery cheap
  • Preparation time30 Minutes
  • Cooking time15 Minutes
  • Serving3 servings
  • Cooking methodOven
  • CuisineItalian
  • SeasonalitySpring, Summer and Autumn

Ingredients for about 15 vegetarian eggplant meatballs

1 black ovoid aubergine (large, about 21 oz – 600 gr)
1 cup breadcrumbs (2.8 oz 80 gr; approximate amount for the meatballs + 2-3 tbsp to cover them; gluten free for me)
5 leaves basil
5 leaves mint
1 sprig parsley
1 pinch cumin powder (optional)
1 clove garlic
1 pinch salt
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


1 Chopping Board
1 Knife
1 Pan non-stick, large and with high sides
1 Bowl
1 Garlic Press
1 Colander
1 Baking Tray
Baking paper

How to make vegetarian eggplant meatballs

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To prepare the baked eggplant meatballs, start by washing the eggplant and removing the stem. Cut it into not too small cubes.

cut the eggplant in to cubes for the vegetarian meatballs

In a large frying pan, heat 4 tablespoons of oil, then when it is very hot, add the eggplant cubes, salt them and cook them over high heat for about 10 minutes, turning them often.

sauté the eggplants until they are soft

When they are tender put out the fire and transfer them in a colander. Let them cool down, then press lightly with the back of a spoon to make sure they lose the water and excess oil.

drain the aubergines in a colander to remove excess water

This way you will need less breadcrumbs to form the eggplant meatballs and they will be tastier. When they are cold, put them in a bowl.

Add the chopped basil, mint and parsley and a pinch of cumin, if you like. Peel the garlic and crush it with the appropriate tool directly in the bowl. Add about 1 cup (2.8 oz – 80 gr) of breadcrumbs.

add herbs, spices and breadcrumbs to the mixture of eggplant balls

Mix, taste and, if necessary, adjust the salt. Try to take a little dough to form the eggplant balls: if it is too soft, add a little more breadcrumbs. Form balls slightly larger than a walnut and crush them lightly .

shape the eggplant-based vegetarian meatballs

Roll them in the breadcrumbs on both sides, making it adhere well. Arrange the eggplant meatballs on a baking tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle them with a drizzle of oil.

sprinkle the vegetarian meatballs with a drizzle of oil and cook them in the oven

Bake them in a preheated fan oven at 356°F (180°C) for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve the eggplant meatballs hot or at room temperature, if you want accompanied by some delicious sauce such as Greek tzatziki.

en_v_ baked eggplant meatballs vegetarian vegan recipe with tzatziki sauce or yogurt by tastycorner

How to store vegetarian eggplant meatballs

If they have leftovers, you can keep the eggplant meatballs in the fridge for a couple of days.

Tips and variations

As mentioned, the amount of breadcrumbs depends a lot on how moist the aubergines are once cooked. Obviously the less you use, the tastier the meatballs will be so the advice is to drain them well in a colander, pressing them with a spoon several times.
If you don’t have an oven with a fan, you can cook the eggplant meatballs in the static oven by raising the temperature to 392 *F (200 °C).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I fry these eggplant meatballs?

Since they do not contain eggs, if immersed in boiling oil they risk falling apart. Better to cook them in a pan in a little hot oil for 6-7 minutes, turning them gently halfway through cooking, or in an air fryer.

What can I accompany the baked aubergine meatballs with?

The taste of the eggplant goes perfectly with the fresh one of the yoghurt, which is why I used the Greek tzatziki sauce. Alternatively, the classic Mexican hot sauce or pumpkin hummus is also good.

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