The Christmas meal is something I look forward to every year. Usually my parents host and everyone cooks up a feast. This will be our first Christmas meal with two vegetarians in the family. I’m sure you’ve seen me mention it a time or two, but my two sons became vegetarians about four months ago. For Thanksgiving, they ate everything but the turkey. For Christmas, my mom asked if I would make a vegetarian recipe the boys could enjoy, like maybe eggplant “meatballs”.
How I pulled it off
If you’re a part of the Mom Fabulous Facebook page, then you might have joined in on our eggplant conversation. You see, I’ve never purchased an eggplant or even remotely tried to make anything with it. But, I was up for the task of trying something new! How did these turn out? Absolutely fantastic. Plus, they received approval from my boys and husband, which is always a win in my book!
I’ve seen recipes where these were made with gluten-free flour, panko breadcrumbs or Italian seasoned breadcrumbs. Since I was adding fresh garlic, basil and Parmesan cheese, I decided plain Progresso™ bread crumbs would be absolutely perfect. I purchased all of my ingredients at Walmart and I’m happy to say, this is a very affordable recipe! (By the way, the bread crumbs are usually on the baking aisle.)
You might be tempted to skip adding fresh garlic, or basil or even purchasing pre-grated Parmesan cheese. My suggestion would be don’t. Adding these fresh ingredients, plus delicious and always reliable Progresso™ Bread Crumbs, send the flavor of these over the top.
Step one: Dice one medium eggplant, leaving the skin on. (The skin holds a lot of flavor and you won’t notice it’s there, but you might notice if it’s not there!)
Step two: Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced eggplant and a little bit of water (around 1/4 cup) and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Step three: Transfer the cooked eggplant to a food processor or blender (I used my Ninja blender and it turned out perfect) and process until it has a smooth consistency.
Step four: Transfer eggplant to a bowl and add Progresso™ Bread Crumbs, egg, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, freshly chopped basil and fresh garlic. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.
Step five: Mix with spoon (or hands) until well mixed. Scoop about a Tablespoon of the mixture into hands and roll into balls. Place balls on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Step six: Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes, or until browned.
Step seven: Pour one jar of marinara (or tomato sauce of your choosing) into the same skillet you cooked the eggplant in. Add the eggplant “meatballs” to the skillet. Spoon a little bit of marina sauce on each “meatball”, sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and add a little chopped basil. Cook until sauce is heated.
Step eight: Place pan under broiler for about 2 minutes to melt the cheese just right.
Serve with a salad and pasta if you’d like.
I can’t wait to bring these to our Christmas dinner and for everyone to try them. I’m definitely marking these down as a family favorite!
Have you made anything with eggplant before? If so, what?!
Here’s the printable version of the recipe. Enjoy!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Progresso™ The opinions and text are all mine.