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Vegetarian Eggplant Parm Meatballs

Vegetarian Eggplant Parm Meatballs with Spaghetti

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Recipe Details


We’re meatball purists, so imagine our surprise when we fell in love with these insanely flavorful meat-less ones! Eggplant, pecorino cheese, and just a touch of breadcrumbs make for a winning consistency that’s just as dense and flavorful as the real thing. Served with al dente noodles and Nello’s small batch marinara sauce, this twist on spaghetti and meatballs and eggplant parm is one you’ll definitely want to make again.


  • Vegetarian

Quick facts

Serving size
Prep & cook time
Cooking Skill
By Chef Andrea

By Chef Andrea

Nutritional info

Ingredients & Equipment

What we send

  • parsley
    1/8 ounce
  • basil
    1/4 ounce
  • eggplants
  • yellow onion
    yellow onion
  • garlic
    1 clove
  • tomato paste
    2 teaspoons
    tomato paste
  • breadcrumbs
    1/2 cup
  • grated Parmesan
    1/2 cup
    grated Parmesan
  • flour
    1/3 cup
  • spaghetti
    6 ounces
  • 14-oz jar marinara sauce
    14-oz jar marinara sauce

What You’ll Need

  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 10" large pot
  • 12" large nonstick pan

Cooking Steps

  1. Prepare Ingredients

    Prepare Ingredients

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse all produce. Finely chop parsley leaves, discarding stems. Roughly chop basil leaves, discarding stems. Cut eggplants into ¼-inch dice. Peel onion and mince. Mince garlic

  2. Sauté Onion and Eggplant

    Sauté Onion and Eggplant

    Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and eggplant and sauté, stirring frequently, until eggplant is soft and no longer spongy, about 15 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper and transfer to a large bowl. 

  3. Form Eggplant Balls

    Form Eggplant Balls

    Add breadcrumbs, parsley, all but 1 tablespoon pecorino, and 1 egg to bowl with eggplant. Season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Using your hands, mix well and roll tightly into 10 equal balls about 1½-inches in diameter. Add flour to a small plate and season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Roll eggplant meatballs in flour to fully coat.

  4. Brown Eggplant Meatballs

    Brown Eggplant Meatballs

    Wipe pan from eggplant and onion clean and add  2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add eggplant meatballs, shaking off excess flour, and brown on all sides, flipping occasionally, 6-8 minutes total. Once browned, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

  5. Boil Pasta

    Boil Pasta

    While eggplant meatballs brown, generously season boiling water with salt. Stir in spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water, then drain and set aside.

  6. Season Pasta and Plate

    Season Pasta and Plate

    Wipe pan from eggplant clean and add marinara sauce over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then add cooked spaghetti. Stir in reserved pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce thickens. Add eggplant meatballs to pan, turning to coat. Divide spaghetti and eggplant meatballs between 2 plates. Garnish with basil and remaining pecorino.

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