How to make meatless meatballs? One answer is from eggplant aka aubergine. Who would have thought, right? I certainly wouldn’t. Little did we know before our plant-based days and we used eggplants only for making this veggie dip. But roasted eggplants have this amazing texture and fairly neutral flavor, so with proper seasoning they can be turned into many tasty things. If you would like to try eggplants for the first time or just looking for recipes using eggplants, this vegan meatball recipe might be exactly what you need.
These aubergine meatballs recipe needs only 5 ingredients, vegan and gluten-free. The roasted eggplants and the oats will give you texture and marjoram will give you zing. Yes, you heard us right. Not everything has to be seasoned with basil and oregano even if we love Italian spices. The idea to use marjoram comes from the seasoning of sausages we grew up with. We were just experimenting with lentil loaf recipes (not yet on the blog but stay tuned) using marjoram when we thought of trying it also in our favorite eggplant meatballs recipe. And it worked. At least for our taste buds.
So the star of this homemade meatless meatballs recipe is eggplant.
It is technically a fruit, but we rather think of it as one of the nightshade vegetables.
According to Cronometer eggplants are great to boost the fiber content of any dish. It is high in Vitamine B1 and B6 as well as copper and manganese. Furthermore, purple fruits and veggies are usually high in antioxidants just like eggplant. If you are interested in learning more, here is an article about the 7 surprising health benefits of eggplants.
Let’s start – So how to make eggplant meatballs?
First, you need to roast the eggplants, which is easy to do. I usually use a glass container (like this one) as you can roast them oil-free in them. After washing the eggplants I cut them in half vertically and place the halves upside down. You need approx. 30 minutes and the eggplants are ready.
Before adding the remaining ingredients, I usually peel and blend the roasted eggplants first with a hand blender (like this one). Now, you can add the oats, the brown rice flour, the flax egg, and the seasoning and mix them with a wooden spoon. We also have one with a smile-shaped hole, although it would be great to have a sign Mum’s Best Weapon on them.
Now the mixture for your healthy vegan eggplant meatballs is ready. I usually pop it in the fridge for approx. 20-30 minutes so that the oats and the flax egg can work their magic and get all ingredients to stick together so to speak. After that, it will be easy to form small veggie balls, which can even be fun for the kids to help out with.
Take two – Let’s finish your meatless meatballs, shall we?
Now, take your frying pan (if it is truly non-stick like these ones, then you wouldn’t need any oil) and give your eggplant balls some nice brown color. It takes only a couple of minutes for each side, really just to add some color. When ready, drop them into a nice marinara sauce.
Going the extra mile
You can use store-bought tomato or marinara sauce, but if you would really like to step up your game why don’t you cook it from scratch. Here is our Hearty Marinara Sauce recipe. Now, all you need is to try this easy, healthy and delicious homemade eggplant meatballs recipe and share it with your family and friends.
This Easy Vegan Eggplant Meatballs recipe is vegan, vegetarian and WFPB-friendly (whole foods plant-based). However, it is only gluten-free if you buy certified gluten-free rolled oats like this one. Oats are naturally gluten-free, although they are usually cross-contaminated with other grains. If you are interested to read more about oats, you can always visit UK’s Coeliac Website.
If you try this recipe, let us know. Leave a comment and rate it below.
Shop this recipe
Oven-safe glass container | Hand blender | Wooden Spatula | Non-stick frying pan | Certified gluten-free rolled oats | Brown rice flour | Nutritional yeast | Marjoram | Ground flax seeds | Store-bought marinara sauce
What more you need to try it? If you’re ready, watch this short video:
Easy Vegan Eggplant Meatballs Spaghetti
How to roast the eggplants?
- Wash the eggplants then cut them half vertically. Take the eggplant halves to an oven-safe glass container and turn them upside down (peel is up).
- Preheat oven to 400 F (200 degrees) and roast the eggplants for 30 minutes. Take them out and let them cool until it is comfortable to touch them with your bare hands.
How to make the vegan eggplant meatballs?
- Peel the eggplant and puree them with a hand blender.
- Leave in the fridge for 20-30 minutes for the oats and the flour to absorb any excess moisture.
- Now you are ready to form the small eggplant balls. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and form the balls with your hands. It should not stick to your hands but has to be a bit soft to the touch.
- Take a frying pan and heat it on medium heat. Add a bit of coconut oil or olive oil if you don't have a non-stick pan. Fry them for a couple of minutes each side to give them a nice brown color.
Final touches - Spaghetti Marinara with Eggplant Meatballs
- Cook your spaghetti according to instructions on the package.
- Prepare homemade marinara sauce (our recipe is here). When the eggplant balls are ready, pop them in the sauce to warm them up before serving.
- When spaghetti is ready, pour the marinara sauce and eggplant balls on it. Sprinkle them with fresh basil or parsley and you are ready to serve. Good appetite!