An easy, tasty vegetarian homemade eggplant meatball recipe! Eggplant (aubergine) pairs with feta cheese for an amazing flavor. Even people who don’t usually like eggplant will devour these healthy veggie balls!
Eggplant is the rising star of the Happy Veggie kitchen. After the opening words of my last eggplant-related post, you’d have been forgiven for thinking you’d never see it around here again. That the baba ghanouj love was a fluke.
Not so. The eggplant and I, we met again. And we agreed upon his participation in a vegetarian meatballs recipe. And we freakin’ loved it.
Make no mistake. The eggplant hater in your life WILL enjoy this recipe. You don’t even have to tell them it’s there. This is recommended if feeding picky children. You can tell them later. Or not.
Let’s talk about the evolution of this eggplant meatball recipe.
One day, I decided to take a chance on this no-meat meatballs recipe on Abel and Cole’s website. Albiet, begrudgingly, because I totally hate eggplant, but the only thing stronger than that was my need to try every vegetarian meatball recipe I could get my hands on. Meatballs are one of the few meat dishes I miss. I have no recollection of how they taste, I think I just like the idea of them and the way they make spaghetti and tomato sauce an even more awesome dinner.
A whole lot of veggie meatball eating later, not only am I obsessed with their recipe, I have even branched out to my own eggplant meatball experiments, using the base from the Abel and Cole recipe but trying new flavor combos.
And then… a star is born.
This is the one that blew me away. It is a breadcrumb-based meatball (extra carbs woo hoo!) which gets a savoury, meaty vibe from the eggplant- and then they go off and sit in the background while green olives, feta cheese, garlic and basil sit on top. Together, all of these bold components are greater than the sum of their parts.
For added fun, I sometimes use pimento stuffed green olives in this. It is perfection. You don’t have to do this (if you want a little spice kick, an easy alternative is to fry up some chili flakes alongside the eggplant) but you do have to ensure your green olives are really yummy and flavorful. Do not substitute plain black olives. They won’t be able to cut through in the same way.
OK, sorry to be nitpicky. I just really want you to love this recipe like we do!
The meatballs are pan-fried which is always kind of weird and awkward, because they go a little deformed and flat at the sides. If you know how to keep them perfectly round, do tell. I suspect it involves deeper oil?
OK. I think that’s enough with the formalities. Lets get cooking!