polpette di melanzane (eggplant meatballs)

This Italian recipe is a fantastic meatless version of meatballs, they are absolutely amazing and packed with flavour and perfect if you love aubergines, like me. Also they are great if you are having a dinner party or date night (just halve the quantities for two) I absolutely adore them.


Serves 4

  • 2 large or 3 smaller aubergines(egg plants)
  • Olive oil or mild flavourless coconut oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced 
  • 200g of bread crumbs 
  • 100g of finely grated parmesan (or vegan parmesan) 
  • 2 egg yolks 
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh very finely chopped parsley 
  • A nice big grating of nutmeg (I like about half a teaspoon) 
  • Olive oil or flavourless coconut oil for frying 

If you’re serving them with pasta

  • 500g of any long pasta 
  • Sugo
  • Basil leaves to garnish 


Preheat the oven to 180c and cut the aubergines( egg plants) in half and put them on a baking tray, slather them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes then leave to cool.

Remove the soft flesh from the aubergines and place in a sieve and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. I actually found it easier to do in a mesh bag (washed) that I bought to put my vegetables in from the supermarket. The more liquid you squeeze out, the firmer the balls will be. 

Add them to a large mixing bowl with the egg yolks, garlic, chopped parsley, bread crumbs, nutmeg, parmesan and salt and pepper. Mix everything together, I use my hands. 

Take a spoon of the mixture and mould into round balls, any size you fancy, mine are a bit bigger than quails eggs.

Heat about half an inch of oil in a frying pan (I used a non stick frying pan as I found they stuck to the bottom of a regular pan) and fry the balls gently until dark golden, very gently turning them (they are softish) so they are cooked on all sides, you might have to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan. Drain on a clean tea towel. They are softer than a meat meatball so I bake them for another ten minutes to firm them up a bit. 

They can be served on their own as snacks with drinks, Italian tapas style (I like them with a squeeze of lemon):

Or with some pasta and sugo: they can then be added to the sugo and cooked for a further ten minutes. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet and serve with the sauce and polpette with lots of parmesan and basil leaves or chopped parsley. 

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