Make these 5 ingredient vegan eggplant meatballs in just 30 minutes! They have a dense texture and are full of flavour. Perfect with spaghetti and a quick tomato sauce, topped with vegan parmesan cheese.
Vegan Eggplant Meatballs (aka aubergine balls)
Aubergine/eggplant gives a dense and ‘meaty’ texture to these balls.
I’ve kept any spices to a minimum so the garlic and oregano don’t overpower the balls – making them perfect for fussy kids, as well as grown ups.
Our whole family love these balls and they’re a great way to subtly introduce the flavour of aubergines.
My husband always said he hated eggplant, but after he tried these, he's converted and enjoys them now!
These vegan balls are a perfect addition to a plate of spaghetti.
I also love them in a 'meat'ball sub sandwich or on their own dipped in smokey baba ganoush.
Ingredients for Eggplant Meatballs
You will need:
eggplant (aka aubergine) - choose a nice firm one.
red onion - or substitute yellow/brown onion.
garlic - leave it out if you don't like garlic.
breadcrumbs - use store bought or make your own by whizzing a few slices of bread in a food processor or blender until fine.
dried oregano - this adds a lovely Italian flavor. You can also use Italian seasoning, thyme or rosemary.
Then the pantry staples of oil, salt and pepper. That's it.
Just a few ingredients and less than 30 minutes and you can have these flavourful, dense and delicious vegan meatballs.
Spring cleaning the pantry
Hurrah, the sun is at last peeping from between the dark clouds of winter.
But wait, I can’t bask in the sunbeams streaming through my living room because they’re illuminating dust on the mirror.
The windows are no longer a place to view the spindly brown branches of trees outside and now all I can see are the streaks of outside grime and a few yogurt fingerprints from my little mess makers.
I hope it’s not just me. Please tell me that you’re in desperate need of a spring clean too.
Short of calling my kids urchins and sending them up the chimney to sweep it out, I’m making an effort now to make them help out.
Sure, they can make their beds and ‘tidy’ their rooms (by tidy I of course mean that they use their little arms like bulldozers to sweep all toys from the floor under the bed).
But I want to harness their boundless energy and channel it into something productive.
I’ve tried strapping sponges to their feet in a fun game of ice skating/mopping the floor, however after an initial few minutes of productivity they inevitably squelch off in search of something better to do.
For now, I’m getting them to help me spring clean the pantry.
They love to group and categorise things, so they can sort through the cupboards and hopefully learn about new foods along the way. It’s a great opportunity for me to sort through the pantry and ensure nothing expires and goes to waste.
We’ll need to fuel this flurry of cleaning activity, so I suggest using up those tins of tomatoes (I’m sure I’m not the only one who seems to stockpile them!) to make a sauce for these tasty aubergine (aka eggplant) ‘meatballs’.
It’s a great way to get more veggies into the meal and they’re delicious with easy vegan parmesan cheese.
How to make vegan eggplant meatballs
This recipe is super easy. Just mix up the ingredients and fry! Check out the step by step instructions below.
Then scroll down to the recipe card for the full instructions and ingredients list with amounts.
1 - fry the aubergine/eggplant and onions until soft, then add them and all other ingredients to a food processor
2 - whiz ingredients until it forms a thick paste, but keep some chunks for texture
3 - roll the mixture into balls and fry until golden.
Scroll down for the full recipe and ingredients list.
Looking for more vegan dinner recipes? Try these!
Vegan Peanut Stew
Red Lentil Dahl
Get the easy eggplant meatball recipe
Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out for you!
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Spaghetti and Aubergine ‘Meat’balls
For the tomato sauce (optional):
- 1 teaspoon oil (olive, rapeseed etc...)
- ½ onion diced
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 can (15oz/400g can) chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
For the eggplant meatballs:
- 1 teaspoon oil plus more for frying
- 2 eggplants / aubergines finely diced
- 1 red onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic diced
- 1 + ½ cups (175g) breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoon plain flour
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 9 ounces (250g) dried spaghetti
- 2 tablespoon
vegan cashew parmesan https://veggiedesserts.com/easy-vegan-parmesan-cheese/
For the tomato sauce (optional):
- Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring often for 5 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, puree and oregano, as well as ¼ of the tin of water and allow to simmer and reduce while you make the eggplant meatballs.
For the eggplant meatballs:
- For the meatballs, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the aubergines, onion and garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until soft and cooked through.
- Add the aubergine mixture, flour, breadcrumbs and oregano to a blender or food processor, and whiz until it comes together in a sticky mixture. If it’s too dry, add a little olive oil and if it’s too wet, add a small amount of breadcrumbs.
- Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls. Heat some more oil in a frying pan and cook the balls, in batches, until browned all over and cooked through.
- While cooking the eggplant meatballs, cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions.
- Serve the spaghetti topped with tomato sauce and eggplant meatballs.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.
These sound delicious. Do I need to peel the eggplant first?
No need to peel them. Enjoy!
My kids said its the yummiest thing i have ever cook.. 😂😂
Thanks for sharing the recipe. 🥰
Thees look amazing! I just picked up some eggplant at the fruit stand! I'm excited to try them! What could I use as a gluten free sub for breadcrumbs? I was thinking oat flour or rice flour? Thank you!
Hi, both of those should work as substitutions! Or whiz a few slices of gluten free bread in a blender or food processor. I hope you enjoy them!
I have tried different versions and they are always soft in the middle. I have also tried more bread crumbs. I love them but my daughters who is vegetarian says they are too soft . The outside is amazing and yummy.
I am so excited to try this dish!
Hello, these look wonderful and can't wait to try them. Can they also be frozen or would they fall apart on defrosting?
Can u make the meatballs in advance and keep in the fridge ?
Hi Julie, absolutely. They should last a day or two covered in the fridge. 🙂
Made these last night, and while the flavour was fantastic, they ended up being mush on the inside. Any tips for making them denser and chewier? Thanks!
Hi Jay, what I did to make them denser was I added an egg to mix in the blender. Then when forming the mixture into balls I would coat them in oat flour and fry them till they are crisp on the outside. Then I put them in a 350 F oven for about 30 mins. They turned out perfectly just like a regular meatball.
These look fab. I'm always looking for new ways to get veg into my kids, I'll definitely try these.
I love alternative takes on classics and this sounds so tasty. I definitely will be giving it a try.
oh these looks wonderful! We're a veggie family so will defo be trying them out! x
Oh these sound tasty not to mention healthy- one to
add to the cook book for me
Hi there, I just made these and everything was going beautifully until th frying step. The browned coating stuck to the bottom of the pan every time I tried flipping them--I couldn't actually get a coating on them... Any advice on how to fix this?
That's a shame that they stuck to the pan. You might need a little more oil, or to get the oil hotter before adding the balls and then giving them a quick toss to coat. I hope that helps!
I can’t say I have ever tried aubergines before so I really don’t know what there flavour is like. I think it’s a interesting way of making the balls thought to replace the meat!
I would never have thought to make eggplant into meatballs but this looks absolutely delicious and a healthier option I think. Thanks for the recipe
Oh my these sound delicious.
I think even my fussy eaters would try them
My mouth is watering! They look incredibly delicious and perfect for a mid-week meal.
I love this, looks so yummy. will definetely save this as I'm a vegetarian and I'm always looking for new and exciting recipes.
Oo now these look delicious and as a vegetarian I'm always on the lookout for new tasty recipes to try, thank you 🙂