Easy Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs

I didn’t know what it was, but my taste buds were in love. It was slightly mushy, but the flavor was fantastic. And it made my bowl of pasta even more delicious and colorful. How was that even possible, since I was eating at a local restaurant in the capital city of Italy?

Melanze (in Italian) is known as eggplant or aubergine in English. It’s a vegetable shaped like a large bean with a green sprout on top, with thick purple skin, tender flesh, and small seeds on the inside. And it’s absolutely delicious (in my humble opinion)!

It’s commonly served as eggplant parmesan or as a side dish with a red sauce. But this recipe is for eggplant meatballs–sans meat.

Like most meatball recipes, this includes an egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs. But instead of meat, you will use the flesh of an eggplant.

First, peel and slice the eggplant into rounds, then bake for thirty minutes. Allow that to cool before mashing it up with a fork or your hands. 

Then, combine it with your meatball ingredients: egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs. Mix it all together, then roll into mini meatballs.

Bake for ten minutes, then flip them over and bake for an additional ten minutes. 

The tender flavor of eggplant will knock your socks off, and your kids will probably like the mild flavor and soft texture as well. Plus, an extra sprinkling of cheese or a dollop of red sauce on top will make these eggplant meatballs even more delicious!

Easy Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs

Eggplant meatballs

A vegetarian twist on meatballs, made with eggplant, cheese, and Italian herbs. Who knew a vegetarian meatball could be so easy and so amazing!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • Approximately 1 lb eggplant, peeled and sliced in ½ inch discs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 Tbsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp basil
  • 1 Tbsp parsley
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel and slice eggplant into ½ inch discs. Cover with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for 30 minutes until the eggplant is soft.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and allow eggplant to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg, then mix in the breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs. Stir in the eggplant until it falls apart and everything is combined.
  5. Form into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 10, rotate balls, then bake for an additional 10 minutes.


Serve with extra cheese on top or your favorite red sauce.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 223Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 893mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 8g

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