THE GOODIE’S VEGAN EGGPLANT (NO) MEATBALLS

Vegan Eggplant Meatballs from Skinnytaste.com

Servings: 4

Calories: 260 • Fat: 7 g • Carb: 43 g • Fiber: 9 g • Protein: 8 g • Sugar: 1 g

Sodium: 307 mg • Cholesterol: 0 mg


Ingredients:

cooking spray

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 cup cooked white beans (or drained & rinsed canned)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs or panko (or gluten free crumbs)

pinch red chilli flakes (optional)

2 cups quick marinara sauce

Method:

I thought I’d avoid the obvious incarnations of the humble aubergine/eggplant and try and find something a little more interesting to make. How can something such a lovely colour be such a squishy mass of nothing in stews and ratatouille? Stumbling across this courgette/zucchini pasta recipe reminded me that I’d been itching to try out a vegetable pasta too, so it was a perfect combination.

The recipe itself was straightforward, but unfortunately, making courgette/zucchini pasta without a spiraliser (a very nifty gadget) or a mandolin to chop the courgette/zucchini into spaghetti-like strips was a massive pain in the neck. I had the handy help of a sous chef (the lovely boyfriend Mark), but it still took the best part of 35 minutes and a fair bit of swearing to get enough linguine ‘pasta’ for 4 people. It’s definitely cemented the need for a spiraliser in my life – so proceed with caution or at least a free afternoon if you’re in the same boat.

I found the ‘meatballs’ were tasty, but definitely needed the addition of the chilli flakes for a bit of a kick. I think the cannellini beans wiped out the flavour slightly – but this may also be because I used a whole 400g tin, and not the one cup the recipe called for, whoops! Who doesn’t use a whole tin of beans anyway? I didn’t want them to languish in the fridge. So be aware if you want to do the same thing, and season well. I also got way more balls than the recipe said I would – they weren’t huge but a hefty 6 balls each seemed like a much better portion size to me than the disappointing three the recipe said would be provided.

My last tip would be to use good quality ingredients. As this dish uses simple flavours, it’s important that you buy the best you can. I was very lucky in that the courgette/zucchini and the tomatoes for the marinara sauce were both from the family allotment. There’s nothing better than a good quality bunch of tomatoes left to reduce down into a yummy sauce.

I’d definitely recommend making this recipe if you’re looking for something a bit different to your usual pasta accompaniments. I had been in a bit of a pasta rut previously so this was a great change.

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