Eggplant “Meatless” Balls!

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There is something comforting about homemade Italian food.  Actually, just mentioning Italian food brings a warm feeling to mind.  All those delicious pastas dishes just bring endorphins.  Those yummy carbohydrates fill you up and keep you satisfied for hours sometimes even putting me into a “food coma.”

I love so many Italian dishes but I usually have to make them myself because I am sensitive to wheat… and most places aren’t serving brown rice pasta.  With people realizing that they have a sensitivity to gluten, wheat, or have celiac disease more places are offering “gluten free”alternatives.  That makes me very happy.

I love eggplant dishes but usually restaurants coat them with breadcrumbs and that doesn’t agree with me very much.

So two years ago, I decided to pursue my Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics at Loma Linda University.  It is a vegetarian campus and in my cooking class everything was meat free.  One of my classes was basically showing us how to host a dinner party. You never know when you will need that skill.   I was volunteered to be the hostess both times my group hosted the dinner me being the “Southern Belle” that I am! 😉

The ladies in my class waiting for the dinner party!

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I’m not sure many of you know how detailed the hostess job is.  We were given a two-page front and back list of “dos” and don’ts.”  Then I went a little farther and bought the latest edition of Emily Post’s etiquette book.

Since it was a multi-course meal.  We even had to have a servant!  I really got into the part by putting on a nice dress with heels.  We only had a couple of hours to prepare and eat, so it was a little stressful.  The table was not large enough and I had to iron the table-cloth, set the table, make the flower arrangements,  make sure the food was ready and plated.  I really played the part of hostess! We were graded on this so it had to be grand! 🙂

Since I have a wheat intolerance and two of my “guests” were vegan the menu had to be planned accordingly to accommodate everyone.

So eggplant balls sounded like a great vegetarian option for an Italian themed dinner!  I made a few without dairy and eggs for my vegan friends and the rest I made with cheese.  They were really simple to make and delicious!

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First, I gather my ingredients.  I have to make my own bread crumbs because of the wheat issue so I just use 1 slice of bread.  I used 1 egg, but make sure it is regular size not jumbo.  If you have a really large eggplant then you might might need 2 eggs or one jumbo.
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Since my pot is not really large I cut it into four pieces.  Ideally it would be nice if you could put a plate on top of them while they boil to have them be fully submersed, but none of my plates worked so I didn’t do that this time.  Boil them till they are mushy looking. Then put it into a strainer and press all the water out of them that you can.  Then you mix in the other ingredients and then roll them into balls.  I actually didn’t “roll” them.  I scooped up some of the mixture and it was basically in the shape of a ball.

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Then into the frying pan they go!  After a few minutes I turn them on each side to make sure it is cooked throughly!  So they don’t exactly look like balls but that is ok they are delicious and that is what matters!  I will work on presentation later by adding a few basil leaves! 😉

If you are preparing this dish for many people you may want to double the recipe.  My eggplant was on the smaller side so it could work for 3-4 people.

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Ellen’s Eggplant “Meatless” Balls

Ingredients:

1 eggplant

1 slice of bread or ¼ cup breadcrumbs crumbs

1 egg (replace with 1 Tbsp. Flax meal and 3 Tbsp. water)

1-2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

4 or 5 fresh basil leaves or dried basil ½ tsp.

½ teaspoon Herbs de Provence

½-1/3 cup flour to coat them in

oil to pan fry them in (I used coconut oil)

Instructions:

  1. Slice the eggplant into four pieces and place into a pot to boil
  2. Boil the eggplant until is “mushy” about 20 mins
  3. Toast your bread and place into a blender to make the breadcrumbs
  4. Once the eggplant is ready, press out all the water with a strainer by pressing on it, to release the water
  5. Mix the egg, herbs, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and eggplant together till well blended
  6. Scoop mixture into balls with a spoon
  7. Coat them in flour
  8. Sauté the balls on all sides, turning them after 3-4 mins on each side on less than medium heat

Note: Adding cooked rice to the mixture could give it a crunch/bite it was missing

It is best served with pasta or a sauce to dip it in.

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