Many of us are trying to eat more plant-based food. Eating a plant-based diet improves the health of your gut so you are better able to absorb the nutrients from food that support your immune system and reduce inflammation. I’ve written before about the connection between inflammation and illness. Plant fiber can lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar, and it helps prevent diabetes and heart disease. Even if you only have one meatless day a week, it is a step toward a healthier diet.
Today’s recipe is a meatless version of a favorite dish of spaghetti and meatballs. The meatless balls are made of cooked eggplant, white beans, two kinds of cheese, panko bread crumbs, garlic, and oregano. I make the meatballs 1 1/2″ to 2″ so they retain their shape better. Then they are simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce before serving. I like the classic recipe for marinara in the New York Times. Yum! If you prefer, you can use your favorite pasta sauce instead of marinara.
Garnish with more cheese and serve it with a salad and garlic toast for a wonderful meal.
Eggplant and White Bean Meatballs
Use organic when available. Serves 4
Spaghetti With Eggplant & Bean Meatballs
- 1 eggplant (1 lb) cut in half lengthwise
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil & more for drizzling
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh oregano
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed, drained and mashed
- 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 oz.) plus some for garnish
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus some for garnish
- 1/4 tsp red-pepper flakes
- 3 1/2 cups marinara or tomato sauce of choice
- 12 oz cooked and drained spaghetti
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Arrange eggplant, cut sides down, on lightly oiled baking sheet. Pierce with fork several times.
- Bake 20 minutes or until very tender; cool slightly.
- Scrape flesh from eggplant and put in a bowl.
- Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, parsley, and oregano to eggplant and combine.
- Use a pastry cutter or potato masher to easily mash beans and to combine eggplant and beans.
- Stir in breadcrumbs, egg, cheese, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Adjust salt to taste. If mix seems too wet add a few more breadcrumbs.
- Shape into approximately 18 meatballs.
- Arrange meatballs on oiled baking sheet and drizzle with more oil, shaking sheet until meatballs are lightly and evenly coated.
- Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Bring tomato sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
- Gently transfer browned meatballs with slotted spoon to sauce, turning to coat (meatballs are delicate and can fall apart if handled aggressively).
- Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15 minutes.
- Cook pasta in a large pot of generously salted boiling water until al dente,.
- Drain pasta.
- Serve meatballs and sauce over pasta.
- Garnish with more parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese.
- Serve with a green salad and garlic toast.
If you liked this post, you might like:
Best Vegetarian Chili
Get exclusive free printables & all the news straight to your mailbox!
Please see my Link Parties page for the parties where this post was shared.
15 thoughts to “ Spaghetti With Eggplant & Bean Meatballs ”
Ohh! This is a great veggie option. We love meatballs here and I think I could try my family with this. x
This sounds like a great meat alternative. I bought an aubergine last week and we roasted it with other vegetables but I will definitely try this recipe 🙂
Carol, this dish looks wonderful but I’m a true Italian and I need the meatball, the real meatballs. The beans worry me but the eggplant is a great idea. I might include the eggplant with my meat in my meatballs. I like eggplant. Thanks for a great idea.
Give it a try!
Ooh, this looks good! Spag bol (as we call it!) is a favourite in our house but with a meatless version, I could eat it too!
I thought of you when I wrote it – hope you like it!
Sounds good — I’ve never been a meatball fan though, so I don’/t miss them as we cut also out all the meat we can these days.. But we do like eggplant — sometimes I just roast it whole, as your recipe says, scoop it out when it’s cool enough and then reheat with a whole bunch of garlic (we like it — no vampires around our house!) season with basil, S&P, and whatever, and just serve that as a sauce for any short curly pasta, with a good grind of fresh parmesan on each serving (I suppose that last probably cancels all the good benefits).. A big green salad and good to go! I also love to roast the eggplant cubes and add those to a well-seasoned tomato-based sauce — I think the NYT calls that Norma Sauce. (you have to add the eggplant at the end or it gets too mushy)>
that does sound good – eggplant and tomatoes are a natural combo
Yes, a good veggie option. But beef contains essential nutrients including protein, iron, zinc, selenium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus, pantothenate, magnesium, and potassium.
I am loving all of the fabulous flavor you’ve infused into these meatballs. This really is one amazing meatless Monday treat!
Heidi you always make me smile when I see your commments. I’m so glad we’re friends!
Yum!!! I love Spaghetti and this is a great veggie option. Thanks so much for sharing
yummy! I’m always looking for interesting veggie dishes. We usually only manage one meat-free day a week (because my husband says “meat is my vegetable” ;-)), but if it’s well prepared, he also likes vegetarian food. I’ve never cooked meatballs with Eggplant, this sounds delicious – thanks for the recipe!
All the best
My sweet friend you always say the nicest things! I hope your husband likes them. Have a beautiful day!
We love meatballs. I’ve began mixing turkey with the beef and then only using turkey for a way to spoon feed hubs healthier eating habits. I wonder if I could serve these without him being aware? 🙂 The veggie things you do to keep meals interesting is amazing. Keep them coming. Thanks for sharing at #aclwcc. Pinned & tweeted.