Eggplant Meatballs


These eggplant meatballs are a creative way to enjoy eggplant! They are packed with savory flavors that are sure to please just about everyone. Cooking the eggplant prior to forming the vegetarian meatballs is a quick way to release moisture to help hold them together.

Eggplant Meatballs
Photo: Photographer / Jen Causey, Prop Stylist / Kay Clarke, Food Stylist / Chelsea Zimmer
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
35 mins


  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 2 medium eggplants (about 2 1/2 pounds total), peeled and cubed

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

  • ¼ cup whole-wheat panko

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish

  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat or brown-rice spaghetti

  • 2 cups low-sodium marinara sauce


  1. Put a medium pot of water on to boil.

  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the eggplant and cook, stirring often, until the eggplant is browned and very tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and repeat with 2 tablespoons oil and the remaining eggplant, adding garlic during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Transfer to the bowl; let the eggplant mixture cool for 5 minutes.

  3. Add egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan, panko, basil, Italian seasoning and salt to the eggplant mixture; stir to combine, lightly mashing the eggplant pieces. Form the mixture into 12 balls (about 2 tablespoons each) and place on a plate.

  4. Cook pasta in the boiling water according to package directions; drain and keep warm.

  5. Meanwhile, wipe the skillet clean; heat 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add 6 meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and meatballs. Transfer the browned meatballs to the plate.

  6. Add marinara to the skillet; cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls; top each serving with 3 meatballs, 1/2 cup sauce, 1 tablespoon Parmesan and, if desired, additional basil.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

607 Calories
32g Fat
72g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 3 meatballs, 1 cup pasta, 1/2 cup sauce & 1 Tbsp. Parmesan
Calories 607
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 72g 26%
Dietary Fiber 14g 50%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 19g 38%
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 54mg 18%
Vitamin A 547IU 11%
Vitamin C 12mg 13%
Vitamin D 13IU 3%
Vitamin E 4mg 27%
Folate 98mcg 25%
Vitamin K 20mcg 17%
Sodium 637mg 28%
Calcium 198mg 15%
Magnesium 114mg 27%
Potassium 846mg 18%
Zinc 3mg 27%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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