Firm and flavorful vegan eggplant "meatballs", perfect for spaghetti and meatballs or a vegan meatball sub. You'll love this plant-based, oil free comfort food recipe!
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🧄 Ingredient notes
For this recipe, you'll need:
- bread crumbs
- italian seasoning
- ground flaxseed
- fresh basil and parsley
- jar of marinara sauce (or homemade tomato basil marinara)
If you don't have fresh basil, parsley or garlic, you can substitute dried herbs and granulated garlic instead (reduce quantity by one third).
Keep in mind that I normally make several batches of these at a time, so these pictures will show larger quantities than one recipe makes.
One recipe is enough to make about 20 meatballs, which is enough for 4 people to have 5 meatballs each.
Sauté eggplant in a little water on the stove until tender.
Then, pulse in food processor or blender a few times to break it down into smaller pieces.
Add to a bowl with bread crumbs, herbs, seasonings and flax egg. Mix together with a wooden spoon.
Remove your rings because your hands are about to get messy.
Form small golf-ball sized meatballs by rolling the dough in your hands and placing them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
The meatballs should stay round on the cookie sheet.
If your dough is too wet, add more breadcrumbs.
If it is too dry, you can add a little water.
Bake for 45 minutes, until very firm.
👨👩👦👦 Serving suggestions
- Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Vegan Meatball Sub
- Snack Meatballs with mustard or ketchup
- Meatballs and Creamy Mushroom Gravy
Straight out of the oven, these meatballs will be a little dry on the outside. This helps them to hold up when they are added to marinara sauce.
I typically serve these by simmering the baked meatballs in marinara sauce for 5-10 minutes, then pouring over spaghetti.
My husband and kids also enjoy heating the plain meatballs in the microwave and eating them with mustard, ketchup or some kind of sauce.
How long will these last?
These will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
These freeze really well! Freeze them in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- On the stove, simmer marinara sauce until hot, add frozen meatballs to sauce for 5 minutes to heat.
- Microwave 8-10 meatballs on a plate for 1-2 minutes, then dip or cover in sauce.
Can I substitute fresh for dried herbs?
If you don't have fresh basil, parsley or garlic, you can substitute dried herbs and granulated garlic instead.
If using dried instead, use:
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoons dried basil
- 1 ½ tablespoons dried parsley
What is a flax egg?
So, if you mix ground flax seed with a little bit of water and let it sit for a 5-10 minutes, it will start to congeal and basically has the consistency of scrambled egg.
This mixture helps to hold ingredients together. It is useful in replacing eggs in baked goods and "meatloafs" and "meatballs" like these.
How do you make a flax egg?
To make a flax egg, combine 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (also called flaxseed meal) with 3 tablespoons warm water.
Stir together and let sit (preferably in the refrigerator) for about 5-10 minutes.
💜 More recipes you'll love
- Vegan One Pot Pasta Puttanesca
- Vegan No Oil Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
- Fauxveeta Vegan Cheese Sauce
Vegan Eggplant Meatballs
- 1 ¼ pounds eggplant about one medium to large italian eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 4 tablespoons fresh basil minced
- 4 tablespoons Italian parsley minced
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 2 cups breadcrumbs regular or panko
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 24 ounces marinara sauce store-bought or homemade
- fresh basil leaves for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Make a flax "egg": Mix 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water in small bowl or cup and set aside to chill in refrigerator.1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, 3 tablespoons water
- Heat a dutch oven or large skillet over medium high heat. Add eggplant and ¼ cup water. Season lightly with salt and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.1 ¼ pounds eggplant
- Add cooked eggplant to blender or food processor and pulse a few times until the eggplant is mostly pureed (this will not take long). Or, you can use an immersion blender to puree the eggplant in the pan without having to transfer it.
- Transfer eggplant to a large bowl and add garlic, basil, parsley, Italian seasoning, bread crumbs and chilled flax "egg" to bowl. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper and mix with wooden spoon.2 cloves garlic, 4 tablespoons fresh basil, 4 tablespoons Italian parsley, 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, 2 cups breadcrumbs, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Use a soup spoon to scoop up the dough. Then, form small golf-ball sized meatballs by rolling the dough in your hands. Place the meatballs on prepared baking sheet. Continue until all the dough has been used. (The meatballs should stay round when you place them on the cookie sheet. If your dough is too wet and is not holding it's shape when rolled, mix in more breadcrumbs. If it is too dry and crumbly and cracks when you roll it, mix in a little water.)
- Bake until very firm and dark brown, about 45 to 50 minutes.
- Heat marinara sauce in dutch oven or large skillet to warm the sauce. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve over spaghetti, in a meatball sub sandwich or as a main dish and garnish with basil leaves.24 ounces marinara sauce, fresh basil leaves
Recipe inspired by and adapted from Skinnytaste's eggplant meatballs.