Today is Good Friday, and the end of this year’s meatless Lent Fridays series. Thank you so much for joining me to mark another Lenten season!
I’m rounding out this year’s series with these awesome, vegan “meatballs”.
I sort of hate calling them “meatballs”, but “balls” just doesn’t have the same ring. And they’re made much the same as meatballs – just using cooked eggplant and beans instead of ground meat. The eggplant flavors come through way more than the beans in this, too, so don’t be scared off if you’re not a bean fan. The beans help with binding and texture more than flavor.
We served these with hot marinara and pasta, but you can use them in anything you’d use a meatball for. Sandwiches would be awesome!
If you’re planning to make these ahead, make sure you don’t add the sauce until you’re ready to serve. The sauce does make them a little mushier, so the longer you hold off, the better!
1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 lb. unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp. parsley
1 cup breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil, then add the eggplant. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender – about 12 minutes.
Transfer the eggplant to a food processor.
In the same skillet, heat the remaining olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft – about 3 minutes. Add that to the food processor, too, along with the beans. Pulse until well combined and the beans are mashed.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the parsley and breadcrumbs.
Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Roll the mixture into balls 1 1/2 – 2″ around and place on the sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the balls are slightly browned and feel firm.
Serve with sauce and pasta.
To serve later: Refrigerate meatballs without sauce. To reheat, place the meatballs on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven until warmed through.