Vegetarian “meatless” meatballs made with hearty eggplant, flavor packed mushrooms, garlic and cilantro, formed into these crazy good balls of delicious joy that you MUST try! Vegetarian, kid-friendly and perfect for spaghetti and meatball dinners!
I love meatballs of any kind. If you love them as much as I do then this easy vegetarian meatball recipe, is for you. These Eggplant Meatballs can be made in only a few easy steps, and are absolutely the BEST “meatless” meatballs I have ever had!
Are you excited???? I am! They don’t fall apart, resemble traditional meatballs, and are full of veggies like eggplant and mushrooms. YIPPEE!!!
These were so good I had to stop myself from eating too many, haha!
Things to love about these Eggplant Meatballs
- Firm on the outside but tender on the inside
- Hearty and full of good for you veggies like eggplant and mushrooms
- Oh so tasty!
- Easy “meatless” meatball recipe with only a few steps
What’s not to love?
What are eggplant meatballs made of?
These vegetarian meatballs are made of only a few plant-based ingredients:
- Eggplant (obviously) – I used a graffiti eggplant but you can use any variety you can find
- Mushrooms – Baby Bella mushrooms work best in this recipe
- Breadcrumbs – Any kind of breadcrumbs work, even gluten-free
- Cashews – pulsed in a food processor
- Parmesan cheese – Shredded
- Herbs – cilantro, basil, oregano
- Tomato paste
- Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper
Can you freeze eggplant meatballs?
Yes you can! They can be frozen either raw or after they are cooked.
To freeze these meatballs raw or cooked: You will need to place them into a freezer-friendly airtight container and separate them with wax paper so they do not stick together. They should freeze for about 2-3 months.
To cook them from frozen: Simply remove them from the freezer, let them thaw on the counter for 30 minutes then cook them per the recipe cooking instructions.
To cook them from cooked-frozen state: Let them thaw on the counter for 20 minutes. Cook them on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 F degrees for 15 minutes. Add them to a pan with your favorite red sauce, cook for a few more minutes in the sauce, serve and ENJOY!
I am literally bursting with excitement over these! I know, I am weird but I just adore healthy, easy recipes that are simply DELICIOUS!
How to make Eggplant Meatballs
- First: Roast the eggplant and mushrooms to get them nice and soft and bring out their vibrant flavors.
- Then pulse the cooked eggplant and mushrooms in a food processor, combine with the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Roll the mixture into even-sized balls and bake on a sheet pan in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes. I recommend using a small ice cream scoop to help ensure they are all the same size for even cooking times.
That’s it! Then you can cook them in your favorite tomato sauce and top them with some more fresh herbs, and you are ready for a “meatless” meatball feast.
What to eat with vegetarian meatballs
There are so many ways to enjoy these meatballs.
- Vegetarian meatball subs – add a few meatballs to some toasted buns and top with tomato sauce and cheese. So good!
- With spaghetti squash, tomato sauce and parmesan cheese or even pesto!
- Combine with your favorite soup or salad
- On pizza – Slice them in half and add them as a pizza topping for a vegetarian meatballs pizza! Yum!!!!
- One medium-sized eggplant peeled and diced - about 2 cups
- One pint Baby Bella mushrooms diced - 2 cups
- Two tablespoons olive oil
- One tablespoon thyme
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup cashews pulsed in a food processor
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- Two tablespoons tomato paste
- One tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Two tablespoons minced cilantro
- Two cloves of garlic minced
- One tablespoon dried basil
- One tablespoon dried oregano
- One egg lightly whisked
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add the diced eggplant to a medium-size mixing bowl, drizzle on one tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper and toss to coat.
- Spread the eggplant out evenly on half of the baking sheet.
- Add the sliced mushrooms to the same mixing bowl you tossed the eggplant in and drizzle them with one tablespoon of olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle on the one tablespoon of dried thyme and pepper and toss. Do not add salt to the mushrooms or they won't brown as well in the oven.
- Lay the mushrooms out evenly on the other half of the baking sheet that the eggplant is on and bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven.Once the veggies are finished cooking, set them aside to cool for a few minutes.
- After the veggies are cooled, add them to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are minced and resemble ground meat.
- Pour the mixture into a medium-size mixing bowl. If you do not have a food processor, then you can still make these meatballs, but they may be a little chunkier. Just use a potato masher to mash them instead of a food processor.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. I just used my hands, but you can use a rubber spatula to mix everything up.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.
- Using an ice cream scoop or just your hands, form about 15-20 even sized balls with the mixture and place them evenly onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.Bake in the 400F degree oven for 20 minutes.
- Toss in your favorite tomato sauce and let them cook for a few minutes in the sauce. Plate, top with some fresh basil and grated parmesan and ENJOY!
- You only need one medium-size mixing bowl and one baking sheet to make these.
- I used a regular size eggplant that yielded about 2 cups once it was peeled and diced.
- To make this vegan, you can sub the egg with a flax egg and sub the parmesan with vegan parmesan cheese.
- You can store these in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days! To reheat: warm them in a pan on the stovetop with your favorite tomato sauce or in the microwave.
- See post for freezing instructions.
- You can enjoy these meatballs in so many ways - see the post for my serving suggestions.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 3
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 182 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 26mg Sodium: 233mg Carbohydrates: 18g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 3g Protein: 12g