Eggplant Pesto “Meatballs”
Who said meatballs must be made with meat? Hearty eggplant is one of the best vegetable substitutes for making meat-less “meatballs” because of its meaty texture and high fiber content.
This recipe comes to us from our friends at Triad to Wellness.
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/4 pounds eggplant unpeeled and cut into 1″ cubes
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or boiled for 20 minutes until soft
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 cups basil, washed
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
Cooking Tip of the Week: Did you know that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain it’s full? Eat slowly and mindfully to avoid overeating.
Food for Thought: We often think of pesto as coming from basil mixed with garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese. You can make pesto your own, however, by experimenting with different ingredients. Try substituting different herbs (like mint or other leafy greens) for basil and experimenting with different nuts (like pistachios or cashews) in place of pine nuts.
Family Dinner Conversation Starter: What sport would you love to learn, and get really great at?
Adult: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Kid: Remove paper from garlic.
Adult: Chop onion, eggplant, and garlic.
Kid: Place 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet and add onion.
Adult: Over medium high heat, sauté garlic until translucent about 3 minutes. Add garlic until lightly browned, remaining olive oil, and eggplant, and brown on both sides. Add water
Kid: Add salt and pepper and cook and stir occasionally until eggplant is soft.
Adult: Remove from heat, transfer to a heat proof bowl, and set aside.
Kid: Measure out garlic, cashews, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and water, and combine in a food processor.
Adult: Process until smooth.
Kid: Measure out basil, lemon juice, and olive oil, and add to food processor while mixing.
Kid: In the bowl, mash eggplant into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher. Add the cashew pesto and mix well. Lastly, measure and add the breadcrumbs and red pepper flakes and stir until well combined.
Together: Roll eggplant meatless balls in about 2-inch diameter approximately 1 1/2 tablespoon of mixture. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet.
Adult: Bake until browned (about 25 minutes) turning once so the eggplant pesto “meatballs” are browned on both sides.
Together: Serve over zucchini noodles or your choice of pasta with tomato sauce.