Creating my grocery list each Saturday is like pulling teeth. No matter how many times I say “I want to make such and such” when it comes to actually putting my menu together, my mind goes blank and I have to start from scratch. It happens every week without fail. Of course when General Mills asked me if I was interested in creating a collection of recipes for their Tablespoon blog, ideas came flooding in. Within a half hour, I had about 15 recipe concepts that I couldn’t wait to try! (If only my weekly planning could go so easily…)

Since eggplant is one of my favorite late summer vegetables, I chose to focus on how incredibly versatile this vegetable could be — my collection ranges from a stir fry to a dip to a Latin American inspired dish. I’m really happy with how the collection came out. A few of my original ideas had to be scrapped, but the 5 that I whittled it down to are solid. Easy, beautiful, and — most importantly — tasty. I’ll be sharing a few of the recipes here, but be sure to pop on over to Tablespoon.com to check out my 5 New Eggplant Ideas.

No collection of eggplant recipes would be complete without eggplant “meatballs.” The first time I had these was at my bridal shower, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Meatless meatballs are a healthy alternative to those made with beef or pork, and these are much more flavorful than what you would find at the grocery store. My recipe has been through a few incarnations over the years, but my favorite version has a piece of melty provolone tucked inside and is baked for a crispy exterior.

These eggplant balls are delicious on their own or with pasta, but I think the best way to eat them is on a sub. Simply rub the cut edge of a sub roll with some garlic, add a few warm eggplant balls and your favorite pasta sauce, and — if you want a real treat — top with a few slices of provolone. Broil for about 3 minutes — just long enough to melt the cheese and toast the bread. With a batch of these in your freezer, a meatball parmesan sub is never more than a few minutes away!

Provolone Stuffed Eggplant "Meatballs"
 
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This healthy alternative to meatballs has a cheesy surprise in the center. Serve with your favorite sauce over pasta or on a sub roll for a treat the whole family will enjoy!
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 Eggplants (about 3 pounds total)
  • ½ cup Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Egg, slightly beaten
  • ⅛ pound Provolone
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Peel the eggplant, then use the coarse side of a box rater to shred it. Toss the shredded eggplant with 1 tsp kosher salt. Use your hands to squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
  3. Discard the liquid and add the shredded eggplant to a bowl with the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and egg. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together. The mixture should be moist, but not too soggy - add more bread crumbs if needed.
  4. Arrange the provolone into a stack, then cut it into 12 cubes.
  5. Divide the eggplant mixture into 12 equal portions. Form each portion into a ball. Use your thumb to make an indentation in each ball and tuck a portion of the provolone inside. Roll the balls to seal the provolone inside.
  6. Place the eggplant balls on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the bottoms have turned golden brown. Turn the eggplant balls and bake for an additional 10 minutes to brown the other side.
  7. Serve with your favorite pasta sauce.