Tamari-Ginger Meatball & Eggplant Casserole

Tamari-Ginger Meatball & Eggplant Casserole

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From: EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2017

Eggplant soaks up the flavors of ginger, garlic and tamari in this Asian-inspired casserole recipe. A hot pepper in the topping adds a bit of heat, but opt for sweet if you prefer.

Ingredients 6 servings

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Original recipe yields 6 servings
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  • 2 pounds eggplant, preferably Japanese (see Tips), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium tamari
  • ¼ cup Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1½ pounds lean ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 4 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped lightly salted peanuts
  • 1 small red hot or sweet red pepper, seeded and minced


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  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Place eggplant in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (or similar-size 3-quart baking dish). Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Bake until starting to brown, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine tamari, rice wine (or sherry), sugar, vinegar and water in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  4. Combine pork, garlic, ginger, white pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Using about 3 tablespoons for each, form the mixture into 18 meatballs. Place cornstarch in a shallow dish. Roll meatballs in it until well coated. (Discard any remaining cornstarch.)
  5. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the reserved sauce and cook, turning the meatballs to coat with the sauce, until it is slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the meatballs, sauce and scallions to the eggplant.
  6. Bake the casserole until the eggplant is very tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted in a meatball registers at least 165°F, about 15 minutes.
  7. Combine cilantro, peanuts and red pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the casserole just before serving.
  • Tips: A smaller, thinner variety with deep purple skin, Japanese eggplant has little to no bitter seeds and a mild, sweet taste. It's great for roasting, grilling and stir-fries. Choose firm eggplants with no bruised areas.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 3 meatballs & 1 cup eggplant
  • Per serving: 369 calories; 18 g fat(4 g sat); 4 g fiber; 27 g carbohydrates; 26 g protein; 36 mcg folate; 66 mg cholesterol; 10 g sugars; 4 g added sugars; 314 IU vitamin A; 15 mg vitamin C; 41 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 598 mg sodium; 510 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (25% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2
  • Exchanges: 3 vegetable, ½ other carbohydrate, 3 lean meat, 2½ fat

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