Vegan Eggplant “Meatballs” with Marinara

eggplant meatballsMeatball Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ Cup Fregola, or Israeli cous cous
  • 2 Cups bread crumbs, preferably from stale whole grain bread
  • 1 handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  • ¼ Cup boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax (to replace two eggs)
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp. oil of choice


Pre-heat oven to 375, puncture eggplant with a fork, place on a sheet pan and bake 1 hour. In a bowl place bread crumbs, pour boiling water over porcini, let steep 30 minutes, add flax, pour into breadcrumbs, add seasonings. In a pan heat oil over medium heat, add onion and garlic, cook 5 minutes, add fregola, cook 3 more minutes, add to breadcrumbs. Scrape the eggplant out of its skin, add to breadcrumb mixture, using a hand blender, combine until it resembles regular meatball mixture. Chill for 20 minutes or so, shape into 20 meatballs on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, cook 35 minutes. While those bake make marinara.

Marinara Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 28 oz can Italian tomatoes
  • 2 tomatoes chopped, I got lucky as my friend brought me a bag of her beautiful garden tomatoes today.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 handful basil, chopped


In a medium sauce pan place everything except basil add ½ Cup water or wine, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, you can leave it chunky or blend for a smoother texture. Add cooked meatballs to sauce, cook 5 minutes, top with basil,serve over pasta or with a salad.

  • Sam

    Hello! This looks amazing! I love eggplant and I never seem to have enough recipes to allow me to eat it as often as I’d like while still having variety in my diet. My hope for this recipe is to make a large batch, then freeze the “meatballs” for future use over past or as sandwiches. I have two questions: 1) do you think I should cook the balls before or should I shape them and freeze them, then cook them from the freezer? 2) I am not vegan or vegetarian and I am not familiar with nutritional yeast, what is it? Can I substitute it for something else? Is it a vital ingredient?
    Thank you so much for the recipe, and thank you in advance for the reply. 🙂

  • Grit Estl

    Looks really yummy 🙂 Can fresh mushrooms be used instead of dried ones?