There are some foods that make being a vegetarian easy, and the versatile eggplant is at the top of that list. Lucky for those of us in the Northeast, early fall is the perfect time to harvest those purple-skinned vegetable delights.
High in antioxidants and dietary fiber, the eggplant is low in calories and, like mushrooms (another vegetarian staple), is perfect for marinating and sautéing because its sponge-like “meat” texture has the ability to soak up a variety of flavors for all kinds of dishes.
This dish will be sure to please the vegetarians and meat-lovers in your household. Enjoy with your favorite sauce and pasta.
Serves: Serves 6-8
- 3 medium sized organic eggplants, peeled and diced
- 1 cup grated organic Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp. organic olive oil for sautéing and more for greasing your pan
- ¾ cup fresh organic parsley
- 3 organic garlic cloves
- 1 organic onion, quartered
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ½ cup non-GMO panko breadcrumbs
- 1-2 large organic eggs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. First, Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, lightly grease the paper with olive oil and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the diced eggplant and sauté until wet and golden colored on all sides. Pieces are finished when they soften, but not turned to mush -- about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the parsley, garlic, and onions until you have a smooth paste. Add the sautéed eggplant to the food processor mix on high until you have a thick paste. Add eggs and panko crumbs to the the food processor and some salt and pepper, to taste. Continue to mix on high until you have a thick paste. Paste should be able to form into a ball. If too wet, add more breadcrumbs.
Using an ice cream scoop, form the eggplant mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball. Gently roll them and then place on greased baking sheet. Bake meatballs for about 15 minutes, flip and then bake for 15 minutes more. Enjoy!