EGGPLANT “MEATBALLS” with HOMEMADE TOMATO SAUCE
Adapted via MidwestVeg.com
Serves: 4 to 6
For tomato sauce:
♦ 1 medium onion, finely chopped
♦ salt and pepper, to taste
♦ 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
♦ 1 tsp dried basil
♦ pinch dried thyme
♦ 4 cloves garlic, minced
♦ 1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
♦ 1 cup red wine
♦ 1 (28-oz) can plum tomatoes, with juice
♦ 1 (14-oz) can tomato sauce
♦ 1 cup water
♦ 2 large eggplants, peeled, diced
♦ 1 shallot, coarsely chopped
♦ 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
♦ 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
♦ 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
♦ 2 tsp oregano
♦ 1/2 tsp salt
♦ Ener-G Egg Replacer for 2 eggs
For making the tomato sauce: Heat a dutch oven over medium heat – add the onion, salt and pepper and cook until translucent (about 7 minutes). Add the spices, garlic, and tomato paste, cooking for an additional 2 minutes. Pour in the red wine, and allow to reduce slightly.
Add the plum tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water. Break up the plum tomatoes with the back of your spoon, and bring to a boil – allow to simmer for 30 minutes (can be made ahead of time – reheat just before serving).
For making the meatballs: Combine the panko, parmesan, oregano, parsley and salt in a food processor. Pulse until fine and well combined. Dump into a medium-large mixing bowl and set aside. Add garlic and shallot to the processor, and pulse until finely minced – leave while preparing eggplant.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and sauté the eggplant for about 15 minutes or until soft and gray in color. Allow to cool slightly – place eggplant into the food processor with the garlic and shallot, and process until smooth and sort of pasty. Add to breadcrumb/onion mixture; next add the egg replacer and mix well.
Carefully form meatballs with the eggplant mixture (should make about 20) – place meatballs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 20–25 minutes at 375°, or until lightly browned.
For serving: pair meatballs with pasta of choice (I opted for whole wheat spaghetti), and top with tomato sauce – serve immediately.
To read more about this dish and my musical pairing, click HERE.