You’re going to love these wholesome and flavor-packed vegan eggplant meatballs baked to perfection and served with homemade marinara and zucchini noodles. It’s a delicious and low-carb vegan meal the whole family will love.
Vegan meatballs, friends!
Growing up, my mom made a vegetarian meatball that I absolutely loved. In fact, it wasn’t until I was much older that I realized meatballs were, in fact, made with meat. Who could have guessed?
Once I learned where meatballs came from, I lost a taste for even my mom’s vegetarian meatballs. Only recently, since having kids, have I rediscovered them in all their vegan glory. My rediscovery started with Gardein’s meatless meatballs. And while I love these, I even more recently decided it was time to start making my own.
Inspired by that childhood recipe, I started testing out some of my own meatball recipes and eventually, I came up with these Italian Eggplant Meatballs.
Let’s take a closer look.
Best Vegan Substitute for Meatballs
There are several ways to make vegan meatballs. I’ve seen recipes with kidney beans (like the ones I grew up with), tofu, tempeh, nuts, tempeh, and grains. For this recipe, I choose eggplant because:
- I love the flavor
- I love the texture
- They are packed with nutrients
Eggplant is one of those amazingly underrated vegetables that can be the star of so many vegan entrées. I love it in curries, on pizza, and of course, vegan eggplant parmesan. And knowing how well the flavors of Italian cooking and eggplant go together, I decided they would make the perfect base for these vegan meatballs.
How to Make Vegan Meatballs
These eggplant meatballs can be made in 3 simple steps. All you need to do is:
- Sauté the eggplant until it is tender
- Blend it with all the other ingredients
- Bake them until they are crispy and brown
Best Egg Replacer
When making meatballs, it’s necessary to have some sort of binder that holds them together. Traditionally this is eggs.
For vegan meatballs, I took a look over my Guide to Replacing Eggs and determined that the best egg replacers for this recipe are flax eggs. Flax eggs have strong binding powers due to their protein and do not leave any unwanted taste or texture.
Alternatively, you can use a chia seed egg for a similar effect. To make a chia seed egg, combine 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit until it becomes thick and gelatinous.
My Go-To Vegan Parmesan
The last ingredient we need to look at is vegan parmesan.
For this recipe, I recommend Violife parmesan. I first discovered Violife when traveling around England and, friends, it was the BEST vegan cheese I had ever had. It is creamy, melty, and tastes exactly how I remember parmesan to taste. I find their cheeses at Whole Foods but you can also check out this map to find Violife near you.
Tips and Tricks
To get the perfect vegan meatball, here are some important tips to keep in mind:
- thoroughly sauté your eggplant to bring out the rich flavors.
- do not over-mix your eggplant mixture or you’ll end up with a gummy paste.
- adjust the spices/herbs as you desire. The flavors in this recipe are highly flexible.
- store your meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Follow these tricks and you will have delicious meat-free eggplant meatballs everytime!
Serving and Storing
You can make all kinds of meals with these meatballs. Serve them over pasta with a homemade marinara sauce for a classic spaghetti and meatballs dish, stuff them in a baguette for a delicious meatball sub, or serve them as an appetizer at your next holiday party.
This article is no way is vegan but does offer some creative suggestions on how to serve meatballs.
For these eggplant meatballs, I love tossing them in classic marinara and serving them over zucchini noodles for a light and refreshing meal that highlights two of my favorite vegetables.
More Eggplant Recipes
Do you love eggplant too? Or perhaps you are ready to give it a try after a long hiatus? Then make sure to check out some of my favorite vegan eggplant recipes:
- Moroccan Stuffed Eggplants
- Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
- Eggplant and Caramelized Onion Pizza
- Eggplant Chickpea Curry
- Kung Pao Tofu with Eggplant
But before you go, let’s take a look at these vegan eggplant meatballs below.
You're going to love these wholesome and flavor-packed vegan eggplant meatballs baked to perfection and served with homemade marinara and zucchini noodles. It's a delicious and low-carb vegan meal the whole family will love.
Keyword: eggplant meatballs
Servings: 20 meatballs
Calories: 61 kcal
Author: Sarah McMinn
- 12 oz Marinara Sauce
- 2 large zucchini
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Chop the eggplant into 1" pieces. Heat olive oil over medium heat and add eggplant along with 1/4 cups water. Sauté for 10 minutes until eggplant is slightly brown and tender.
Transfer it to a food processor along with all the other ingredients for your eggplant meatballs. Process until you have a uniform batter. Be careful not to overprocess or the meatballs will become gummy. Some texture is desirable. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Roll the meatball mixture into balls 2 heaping tablespoons in size and place on the prepared parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until meatballs are browned and crispy on the outside.
When the meatballs are done, add them to a saucepot with marinara sauce until the marinara sauce is heated all the way through. Toss with zucchini noodles and serve with fresh parsley and vegan parmesan.
- Store your meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Don't like eggplant? Try out these Tempeh Meatballs instead!