How to Make The Best Meatless Meatballs With Eggplant and Lentils
There are plenty of delicious non-meatball alternatives out there for us plant-based folks. Turns out, you don’t need beef to make a kickass meatball. These ones are made using eggplant and lentils.
I find eggplant a great substitute for meat-based dishes. Eggplant has a nice meaty texture and great binding potential. It’s also a nice alternative to using mushrooms in recipes, which is a popular ingredient in vegetarian cooking. However, I notice that people either love or hate mushrooms and so I wanted to show you another option for a comforting “meaty dish” in case you’re planning to host a get-together and want to avoid a food preference mishap. Low and behind these vegan meatballs! They are made by combining eggplant, lentils and oat flour for a cozy pasta and meatballs dish that will charm any vegan skeptic.
Why it's healthier: Eggplant is a high fiber and low-calorie food that has been linked to lowering cholesterol, promoting weight loss and managing blood sugar.
Healthy ingredients: Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin A, beta carotene, folate
Eggplant and Lentil Vegan Meatballs
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 25 meatballs
Eggplant and Lentil Meatballs
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 red onion
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 eggplant (about 425g)
- 1/2-1 cup gluten-free oats
- 1 cup cooked green lentils
- 1/3 cup black olives, pits removed and chopped
- 1/2 lemon zest and juice
- 2 tsp tamari
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes
- pinch sea salt and pepper
Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 jar organic tomato puree (700g)
- pinch sea salt
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- splash red wine (optional, but I love it)
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes
- more sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 packet whole wheat spaghetti noodles (450g)
For the Meatballs
- Finely chop garlic and onion and add to skillet with coconut oil. Bring to medium-high heat and cook to soften (10 mins). Chop eggplant into bite-sized pieces and add to the skillet. Cook until softened (15 mins).
- Pour oats in a food processor until flour substance, then transfer to a bowl. Transfer the eggplant mixture to a food processor with lentils, olives, lemon juice, tamari and tahini. Pulse to combine.
- Spice meatball mixture with cumin, nutritional yeast, cayenne, and pinch salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup of ground oats. Pulse to combine. (The oats will help to thicken the meatballs. Texture should be moist, but you want it dry enough to handle with your hands. I needed only 1/2 cup ground oats, but add more if needed).
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Shape meatball mixture into little balls and place on a tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the meatballs are golden.
- Make tomato sauce: add chopped garlic and coconut oil to the saucepan. Bring to medium-high heat and cook until softened (3 mins). Pour in tomato puree and cook on a gentle simmer. Add a generous pinch of salt, lemon juice, and splash red wine. Sprinkle with cayenne, more salt and pepper to taste.
- Add meatballs to sauce and gently mix to combine. Keep meatballs on low heat while you cook spaghetti.
- Cook spaghetti in a large pot of water for 7-8 minutes, or until al-dente. Strain and divide into bowls. Top with saucy meatballs.
Nutrition Notes: Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
Calories: 56kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Sodium: 47mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g