Monday, February 20, 2017

Parmesan Eggplant Meatballs


I was super irritated the last few summers with the meager supply of eggplants at my local *big box* garden center. Am I really the only person in my town who grows eggplants at home? Can’t the garden centers carry a few plants for the eggplant lovers out there? Apparently not.

Anyway, last year I wanted the classic globe shaped vegetable, but ended up with a Japanese variety. They were way too narrow for eggplant bacon, and I hated to waste them (they grew like crazy!), so I had to find another way to use them. Luckily I found the perfect recipe. Even those of you who are eggplant shy, will enjoy these little beauties.

This is how they look directly from the oven.
Obviously mine were not beautifully shaped balls, but it didn't matter. 


Parmesan Eggplant Meatballs (veganized by me, originally found in the 'Heirloom Gardener' catalog) 
Here’s what you need:
1 ½ pound of firm, small, peeled eggplants, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 T olive oil
½  t salt
½ C fresh parsley
1/3 C fresh basil
1 C panko bread crumbs
2/3 C vegan parmesan cheese (my favorite recipe can be found HERE)
2 eggs (I used 2 flax eggs)

Last night's dinner : I pulled the eggplant meatballs directly from the freezer and fried them. Delicious! Crunchy on the outside and creamy and tender on the inside. 

Here’s what you do:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss eggplant cubes, garlic cloves, and salt with oil and bake in a foil covered baking sheet for 30 minutes, or until everything is nice and soft. Allow to cool and remove any excess moisture by squeezing it out. (To speed along the process, you can chill the veg in an ice bath by putting the hot veg in a big bowl, and then placing the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water.) Increase oven temp to 375.

In a food processor process the parsley and basil until coarse. Add the eggplant, bread crumbs, parmesan, and eggs and blend until its nice and smooth.

Line a baking sheet with parchment, use wet hands, form meatballs about 1 ½ inches in diameter, bake 25 minutes at 375 degrees.

I froze these in dinner-size portions and they have behaved beautifully right from the freezer.


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