Sunday dinner is taking a different twist today. We have been eating a lot of comfort meals lately and many have been meat based. Today, we are enjoying one of our favorite meatless Sunday sauce recipes. My husband brought home a nice large eggplant today with hopes I’d make eggplant parmesan again. Since we just had that last week, I decided to turn this beautiful eggplant into a meatless meatball for our sauce. We’ve had this meal before and it is a nice change of pace from the traditional meatball, and surprisingly quite tasty.
My brother and my niece are both vegetarians. George grew up on the same meals as I did and has commented on my recent blog posts. I knew he wouldn’t be eating them though and began to wonder how to offer meatless versions of these family traditions. I will be experimenting with that concept over the coming months and hope my brother will join me.
During the recent snowstorm, I made a Chicken Schnitzel and George commented how the meatless gravy on spaetzle is often not quite as good as the version we grew up on. We spoke that day about the mushroom gravy that goes on my Schnitzel. This mushroom based gravy is only used to top the chicken. That recipe just needs one tweak to be meatless – change the chicken broth to vegetable broth in the recipe. For Sunday sauce it’s easy to whip up marinara, but for us meatballs are a huge part of this favorite meal. If I decided to never eat a meatball again, I’d surely be looking for ways to replace them in my sauce. This eggplant “meatball” is one way to start thinking about alternatives to meat in Sunday sauce. Today’s menu will include – Sunday Sauce with Eggplant Meatballs served over homemade, hand cut pasta. Both will be accompanied with a nice robust glass of Merlot and football playoff games.
Meatless Meatballs – Eggplant
- 1 large Eggplant
- 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 1 egg
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Pour glass of Merlot and turn on Alexa for dancing in the kitchen.
- Cut eggplants in half lengthwise and trim off ends. Make a few slits on the cut side and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Place the eggplant on a baking sheet, skin side down.
- Cook at 400 degrees 30 – 40 minutes, depending on size of eggplant.
- Remove eggplant and allow it to cool before handling.
- Scoop out the soft insides of the eggplant into your Kitchen Aid mixer with paddle attachment.
- Add cheese, egg, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs to the bowl and mix on low until combined. You may need to add more breadcrumbs if mixture is very soft.
- Roll the mixture into balls and dredge in flour. Fry the balls in olive oil until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes.
- Add to sauce and serve immediately. There is no reason for these meatballs to cook in the sauce. They are cooked and ready. For less saucy eggplant balls, just serve plain with sauce on side.
Last week I shared my sauce recipe, along with the recipe to make easy homemade pasta. Both recipes can be found by clicking on this link –
Since the eggplant was large, I was also able to make Eggplant Lasagna. Super easy and great for a gluten free lasagna. This meal is made and assembled exactly like the traditional version. The substitution was eggplant for lasagna noodles. Slice the peeled eggplant lengthwise. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Let cool, then assemble as usual.
How have you tweaked your meals to include meatless versions? Please share some of your recipes with me. I am always looking to try something new. If you make this recipe, please leave me a note to tell me how it was, including any tweaks you made to improve it.