Fit Pantry - a Fit Foodie's thoughts, tips and recipe

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Baked Eggplant Balls "Meatless Meatballs"

We served ours with the Chimicurri sauce and it was really good! :)

I love discussing recipes with Mom. We both like to find ways to modify the recipes to our liking. Me, I like to find alternative ingredients to make it healthier and or less calories. Mom, considering her experience playing in the kitchen, likes to find ways to make the process more efficient and less time consuming. Both of us would swap some ingredients to something that we normally have handy in the pantry.

Our object of disperiment (discussion/experiment) this time is meatless meatballs made out of eggplants. Now, I normally don't like to cook or eat eggplant, but this looks promising enough that I was willing to give it a shot.  Instead of baking the eggplant to soften, we peeled and cooked it in a pan, and use food processor to finish the job. So here it goes:

Meatless Meatball a.k.a. Baked Eggplant Balls

  • 1 small Eggplant (about 12 oz)
  • 1/2 cup of Cannellini* beans (if using canned, rinse well)
  • 1 large clove of Garlic, use garlic press or minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Cilantro (or basil or flat leaf parsley)
  • 1 cup whole wheat Panko style breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp Sea/Himalayan Salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
    (Use ingredients in green color for vegan option)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese  |  2 tbs Nutritional Yeast 
  • 1 large egg   |  1.5 tbs Olive Oil 
  • Olive oil spray
*using kidney or pinto beans would be all right too, but the color of the balls will be much darker.

Make about 20 golf ball size. Serving size: 4.  
Cooking time: 10 min stove + 25 min oven
Prep time: 20 Min
Count suggestion for 21 DAY FIX portion: 1 Green + 1/4 Red

Heat up the oven to 375° then start prepping the mixture. Remove the stem and peel the eggplant using peeler, cut into really small cubes (like a quarter size from pictures below) or slice thin. Make sure they are all about the same thickness for uniform doneness. The smaller/thinner the cut, the faster it will cook in the pan.

Heat up a pan and keep med-high heat and cook the eggplants until soft - no oil needed.

Keep tossing to make sure no burnt chunks and until the eggplant turns to darker color.  Turn off the heat and let it cool.

While the eggplant is cooling, rinse the beans well (if canned). Chop the cilantro (coarse if you are using food processor, if not, finely chop).

In a food processor mix in: egg, beans, garlic, cilantro, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Take out the eggplant and add it to the mixture. Pulse until everything is mixed well.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and fold in the panko until all well mixed.

Spray a cookie sheet or baking pan with the oil. Roll the mixture into about the size of a golf ball. Place the balls on the baking pan, spray the top lightly and put them into the oven.

Spray the top of the balls with oil.  Bake on middle shelf for about 20-25 minutes, until the balls cooked and harden. You could flip them on the last 5 minutes if you also want browning on the top side.

When they are ready to serve, sprinkle the top with some parmesan cheese and garnish with the leftover parsley or cilantro.

Today I was using pinto beans. Same great taste, just a much darker color; looks more like real meat, doesn't it? :)

If you make this recipe, tag @fitpantry on Instagram. Enjoy! ;)

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