Back at it again with a yummy vegetarian dinner! You’re going to be amazed how easy these meatballs are to make yet how filling and hearty with no meat. Plus, I serve them in a ricotta tomato sauce over my favorite go-to, zucchini noodles. If you don’t have a noodle spiralizer, run to your nearest Marshall’s, they have them for like $5…I’ll wait right here and try not to eat all this cheese!
What you’ll need:
- A food processor/Magic Bullet
- Vegetable noodle spiralizer – I have one like this and it works just fine, but they do make fancy ones too.
- 2 large/medium saute pans
- Baking tray or oven-safe dish (large enough to hold your meatballs)
- The rest of the obvious utensils you need to cook/eat with
Ingredients – Enough to serve 2 with some left overs
- Cooking spray
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces – Just pick a normal sized one, you’ll want about 1.25 pounds. Fun fact, they are called aubergines here in London for what we can tell no apparent reason.
- Ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp chopped basil
- 1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, beaten
- About a half cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese – You’ll need more for putting on top to serve. Also, I totally don’t actually measure the cheese, just put as much as you need. Cause,…cheese ❤
- A bit of chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- 1 jar tomato sauce of your choice
- About a cup or 2 of chopped fresh mushrooms (optional)
- About a half package of ricotta cheese
- 3 unpeeled and washed zucchinis – OR if your local market sells pre-noodled zucchini, you’re welcome to get a package or 2 of that. I just find sometimes those are a bit mushy unless they make them that day.
Okay, it may look like a lot of ingredients but really very few steps. Once you’ve made the meatball mixture its all downhill from there!
- Heat the oven to 375°F.
- Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place olive oil into one of your large nonstick skillets over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and 1/4 cup water. Season with the salt and pepper to taste and stir until tender (about 10 to 12 minutes).
- Transfer cooked eggplant to your food processor and pulse a few times.
- Transfer to a bowl and add bread crumbs, beaten egg, grated Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic and chopped basil into the eggplant. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
- Roll your eggplant mixture into balls about 1-2 inches wide. Spray the baking sheet with oil and transfer your meatballs.
- Bake until firm and browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Chop off the ends of your zucchinis and spiralize into the second large skillet. (When you get to the end it gets a little difficult, I chop these into small pieces and add in or save for another recipe.) Add in a bit of olive oil and saute on medium-high heat until soft (less than 10 minutes). This is also where I add the chopped mushrooms but you can leave them out if you’re not a fan!
- Begin heating the sauce in the first skillet you used for the eggplant. Return the cooked meatballs to the sauce and add in the ricotta and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Pour over the cooked zucchini noodles, garnish with basil leaves as desired and serve with more freshly grated Parmesan.