Saturday, February 23, 2013

Meatless Meatballs

I am not a big meat eater.  The truth is, I could easily go the rest of my life without ever eating meat again.  I never, ever eat pork, but I do enjoy chicken once in a while as well as fish.  Becoming a pescetarian would be an effortless transition for me, and at times I'm not sure why I haven't made that leap yet.  I so rarely eat red meat that the last time I did have a few bites of steak, I was ill the next day.  My body was definitely trying to tell me something!

I tend to eat a lot of vegetarian dishes, and my favorite food to eat is eggplant.  Eggplant parmesan is my absolute fave, but basically anyway that you could prepare and serve eggplant, I'll eat it and love it!  The last time I was in my hometown, we popped into a little Italian restaurant and they had eggplant "meatballs".  Naturally, that's what I ordered, and they were so scrumptious!  I immediately started planning in my head how I would re-create a healthier version of them once we got back to FL.

It took a little trial and error to get these just right, but I think that I've pretty much gotten it down perfect.  These are so easy to make, perfect for a quick weeknight meal.  Even better, make this your meatless Monday option!!  Hope you enjoy!

1 small sized eggplant
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 c. Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
3/4 c. breadcrumbs (I used gluten free brand "Glutino")
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp Italian Seasonings
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
Fresh basil
16 oz marinara sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds, and the rounds into thin strips.
  3. Dice the eggplant, taking care to not make the pieces too big (big chunks do not hold well in the ball form).  Dice enough to equal 1½ cups.
  4. Combine all ingredients, except for marinara sauce, into a large bowl.
  5. Using your (clean!) hands, incorporate all ingredients until well blended. 
  6. Roll in the palm of your hand to form small meatball sized rounds; place on a cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Meanwhile, bring marinara to a simmer.
  9. Serve meatless meatballs with marinara drizzled over top; top with a little more parm cheese and some fresh chopped basil. 

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