Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Not so Meaty Meatballs....Vegan Eggplant "Meatballs"

Yes, I have already done a Vegan version of an Italian Meatball with TVP.  But for this recipe, I wanted to create a "meatball" that was soy-free, plant based and fairly light.  I thought that eggplant would be a great vessel for that!

Eggplant has such a subtle flavor and so high in water content, that it holds on to really any flavor that you give it.  I opted to bake the eggplant before forming into balls rather than pan frying it.  This enables me to use far less oil.  Though, if you are tight for time, I would recommend pan frying, since it takes much less time to cook through. 

These are great to serve on top of your favorite spaghetti recipe, or as an appetizer.  If you have a large party, serve with toothpicks and marinara for dipping.  A perfect "finger" food.

Vegan Eggplant "Meatballs"

1 medium sized eggplant
1 tbsp evoo
1 c panko crumbs
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 tbsp favorite tomato sauce
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley 
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 c diced yellow onion
1 garlic clove diced
egg replacer mixed with water

Preheat oven 400.  Peel and cut eggplant into cubes, lightly toss with evoo, salt and pepper and bake for about 20-25 minutes.  
Once eggplant is done baking, remove from oven but DO NOT turn off the oven (you still need it at 400 to bake the balls)!  Combine all of the remaining ingredients from above to the eggplant EXCEPT for the bread crumbs and transfer to blender or food processor.  Pulse just a few times.  You do not want it to be completely blended, just partially!
Transfer back to bowl.  Add in bread crumbs and mix thoroughly.  Throw in more if seems too wet.  Season to taste. 
With your hands, roll about 2 tbsp of the mixture into a ball and place on greased baking sheet.  Repeat until mixture is gone.  Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, rotating the balls about every ten minutes.
Serve as an entree with pasta or as an appetizer with marinara sauce!

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