Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs

So my other fellow Philadelphia food blogger friend Emily and I finally got together for an evening of true food blogging. Naturally, there were six eggplants involved, two cameras, and a table full of hungry people. After listing some possible eggplant ideas, we finally settled on these Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs I had seen from Dash of East over on Foodgawker.

If you’ve never checked out Foodgawker, oh my, you must. It’s basically a photo heaven for foodies, and if you’re not inspired to cook afterwards, you’ll at least be hungry for dinner. So many talented food bloggers out there, Dash of East included.

Emily also has an awesome blog called On Food and Baking. If her clever “About” section doesn’t hook you, then her recipes, always full of top-notch ingredients like pistachios, blackberries, and sweet potatoes, certainly will. Oh, and did I mention she recently made Lime and Avocado Popsicles? Yeah, she’s pretty much amazing, just like those popsicles she let me test out.

Anyways, after popping three batches of this recipe out of the oven, we topped off the eggplant-filled meatballs with hummus and Tzatziki sauce. And really, how can you go wrong with those toppings? The end result reminded me of a lighter version of falafel. It’s almost as if we combined baba ganoush and falafel into one ball. Delish.

Emily in action.

Enough garlic and ginger for three batches of this recipe…

Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs

Yield: Serves 4

Slightly modified from _Dash of East


  • -2 medium Chinese Eggplants, about 1 1/2 cups when chopped (we used regular eggplant)
  • -Salt
  • -Olive Oil
  • -2 cloves garlic, minced
  • -1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • -2 eggs, beaten
  • -1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • -1 cup breadcrumbs
  • -Optional: 2 stalks green onion, cut to 1/2 inch pieces (we added 1 scant Tbsp. of fresh thyme into the batter instead)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Slice the eggplant and sprinkle with salt, let sit for about 8 to 10 minutes to draw out water. Rinse eggplant slices in water and pat dry.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat, add 1/4 cup water and saute eggplant slices until tender. Remove the eggplant from heat, and cut into small pieces, about 1/4 inch cubes.
  3. Mix the garlic, ginger, egg soy sauce and eggplant in a medium mixing bowl. Add the breadcrumbs to the mixing bowl and mix well just until all ingredients are combined well. Using a spoon, form golf ball sized balls* with the eggplant mixture and place in a pan that is well oiled with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, turning the balls half way through, until the outside is a golden brown. Optional: Sprinkle green onions on top.
  4. Serve in pita with hummus and Tzatziki sauce, if desired.


*Make the balls slightly smaller if you want them to be a tad more condensed. The larger golf-sized balls we made were a bit moist inside.

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  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    October 5, 2011 at 7:01 am

    Sounds delicious! I have been bookmarking all of your vegan and vegetarian recipes because I’m getting a lot of requests at work. I don’t know if I told you but I made a similar recipe as your tempeh bacon (slightly modified because I had to do it in a demo kitchen, and didn’t have a lot of time) and turned it into a vegetarian BLT! IT was a huge hit. I will post it relatively soon.

  • Reply
    Melissa | Dash of East
    October 5, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Thanks so much for your sweet words! Your eggplant balls look like they turned out great! Love that you paired them with hummus and Tzatziki sauce – yum!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I have been looking for a good “meatball” recipe – do you think these would taste good with marinara sauce and pasta?

    • Reply
      Grace Dickinson
      October 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Yeah, I do. They aren’t as meaty/dense as a soy-based ball, but they’d still be great with marinara I think!

  • Reply
    Hannah (BitterSweet)
    October 9, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Ah, what torture, these look so good! I wonder if I could use that same sort of concept with zucchini… I think I’d better experiment a bit with this. 😉

  • Reply
    October 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    This recipe looks amazing! My sister has recently become a vegetarian and I think that this would be a great recipe to share with her. She is in college and definitely could not eat the entire batch in one sitting. Do these eggplant-balls freeze well? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Grace@ FoodFitnessFreshAir
      November 3, 2011 at 10:00 am

      I think that these would probably freeze okay. Rarely is anything ever as good frozen, but I’m a huge fan of freezing food for later use, so I’d say go for it!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    We will be making these for the second time tonight, and the batch will be much bigger this time. I like vegetarian food but avoid TVP, tofu and other such processed ingredients because it seems to me that they kind of nullify the health/ environmental benefits of not eating meat at every meal. Anyways the point is these are awesome, I would use this to substitute ground beef or meatballs in pretty well any recipe. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      Grace@ FoodFitnessFreshAir
      November 3, 2011 at 10:01 am

      I agree, although a little tofu here and there can go a long way, and I don’t consider tofu to be highly processed. Glad you like the meatballs!

  • Reply
    March 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Made these last night…used ginger from a tube, came out amazing. Thanks for the idea!! I will be making these again!!!!

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