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!
- 2 Eggplants (about 3 pounds total)
- 1/2 cup Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Egg, slightly beaten
- 1/8 pound Provolone
- Preheat oven to 350.
- 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.
- 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.
- Arrange the provolone into a stack, then cut it into 12 cubes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve with your favorite pasta sauce.