Provolone Stuffed Eggplant “Meatball” Subs

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 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"
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
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!
Serves: 4
  • 2 Eggplants (about 3 pounds total)
  • ½ cup Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Egg, slightly beaten
  • ⅛ pound Provolone
  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.


  1. Yum! I’ve been craving a meatball sub for a while now and this sounds perfect! Definitely going on my “to make” list :)

  2. Yum,yum,yum!!!

  3. Eggplant is, without a doubt, one of my most favorite veggies. I can’t wait to go check out those recipes! these subs sound amazing…I am definitely using this meatball recipe when my next craving hits!

  4. these look tasty!

    I have a random eggplant prep question – are the seeds edible? I assume so since most recipes seem to include them.

    Maybe I got an off eggplant last time, but I tried to make a stuffed eggplant recipe with roasting the eggplant and scooping out the innards to add the “stuffing” mixture. I had to scrape out the seeds since they seemed very bitter to me

    • They are edible, but they can be bitter – especially the larger seeds. If I remove them or not depends on the recipe. Something like a stuffed eggplant I do because otherwise you end up with a mouth full of seeds, but if I’m slicing the eggplant thinly or mixing it all up like in this recipe I don’t usually bother. It wouldn’t be “wrong” to take them out for this recipe if you want to, just a little bit of a pain.

  5. What a great recipe, this looks delicious! :)

  6. This is totally my kind of meal! It sounds so delicious with the cheese melted inside of these veggie balls!

  7. So creative. I love it! Meatless meatballs. Yum!

  8. This looks so delicious and I wish it was my dinner tonight! Love eggplant…

  9. What a great idea. It’s kind of like a hand-held version of eggplant Parm — only more healthful. ;)

  10. This recipe looks amazing. I wonder if they can be frozen after cooking for later use, just like regular meatballs? I’m usually cooking for myself so there will definitely be leftovers.

  11. Wonderful use of the eggplant–this sub looks so decadent. Can’t wait to see your other recipes too. Thanks for sharing this one with Souper Sundays–it is in the round up. ;-)

  12. Can’t wait to try these!

  13. Yum, this looks amazing! So tasty…what a great idea! :)

  14. Yum! I LOVE eggplant parm sandwiches. I’ve never made them into meatballs, but I have had store-bought eggplant “meat”balls. So good. I’m drooling.

  15. These were absolutely delicious! They were so good that instead of sharing with my parents like I intended to, I had to keep them for myself! Great recipe!!!

  16. Love the meatless version. We love eggplant in our home–must try soon!

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