Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan "Meat"balls

So my gratuitous v-day post was last week, but I made this recipe around the same time and all I could say is "Damn these are good" every single time I ate one. I never posted my recipe for veggie infused meatballs, but this is a staple to me. The perfect transformation of a food I love so very much to something soooo much healthier. The secret is that I add lots of hidden veggies to my meatballs. Seriously, no one will know since they a chopped up in the food processor. So I though why the hell not add the meat at all.... and use eggplant!! Since you are going to cover it in marinara anyways later on, why not add a little fresh mozzarella cheese over top. So this magical concoction was born!

Why is this a Foodgasm?

This has EVERYTHING you love about Eggplant Parmesan, even the breading, in a crispy little ball dripping in marinara and melted mozzarella cheese. They are NOT fried, they're baked! So you are losing LOTS of calories and fat and keeping ALL the flavor. These are sooooo good, I am making them twice and I almost NEVER make the same thing twice! Even better: they are not nearly as time consuming as Eggplant Parmesan.

So I don't have kids yet. But you know, I think that kids would eat these guys up! If you have vegetarian friends coming over- you can make this and both eat meatless, healthier and be completely satisfied. Actually this is one dish that makes me think, maybe I can be vegetarian someday. It is that good. Another great thing is you can make this as an appetizer or serve these over pasta as an entree.

What You Need

1 large eggplant (about a pound)
I medium onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
About 1 cup marinara
About 5 oz. fresh mozzarella
OPTIONAL: 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (I did not originally add this, but wish I did!)

How to Make It

Preheat oven to 400ยบ
1- With a box grater grate 1 large eggplant. it is a bit of an arm workout, but it should not take too long.
2- Put shredded eggplant in a bowl and press on top of it with a few sheets of paper towels. Repeat until paper towels are not completely dripping in water.
3- Fluff the eggplant back up with a fork or your hands.
4- Add 2 eggs, 2 cups unseasoned bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper to taste. Combine well.
5- Grease a baking sheet with olive oil and roll into balls and place on baking sheet.
6- Bake for 25 minutes.
7- Cover in marinara sauce and a small piece of fresh mozzarella cheese.
8- Bake for another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Nutritional Info 

Each serving will yield 3-4 eggplant parmesan "meat"balls depending on how large you make them. Nutrition Facts include 1 cup marinara and 5 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese.