Eggplant "Meat" Balls with Chimichurri

The hefty purple nightshade is a delicious swap for meat in this vegetarian recipe. Choose firm eggplans that feel heavy for their size with glossy, smooth skin.

Eggplant "Meat" Balls with Chimichurri
Photo: Brie Passano
Hands On Time:
20 mins
Chill Time:
15 mins
Bake Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 15 mins
25 "meat"balls and 1/2 cup chimichurri


  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and coarsely chopped (5 cups)

  • 1 8 ounce pkg. cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

  • ½ cup cashews, finely chopped

  • ¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (3 oz.)

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • Chimichurri Sauce (below)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. Arrange chopped eggplant and mushrooms on prepared pan and drizzle with olive oil; toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake about 15 minutes or until tender and beginning to brown. Remove from oven; set aside to cool.

  2. Once cooled, transfer veggies to the bowl of a food processor. Cover and pulse until finely chopped and mixture resembles the texture of ground meat. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

  3. To the vegetable mixture add bread crumbs, cashews, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, egg, cilantro, tomato paste, soy sauce, garlic, and crushed red pepper; mix well. Cover and chill at least 15 minutes before shaping.

  4. Line rimmed baking pan with parchment paper; set aside. Shape mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (about 2 Tbsp. each) and arrange in prepared pan. Lightly coat tops of meatballs with cooking spray. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and firm. Serve drizzled with Chimichurri Sauce; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Chimichurri Sauce

In a food processor or blender combine 1 1/2 cups packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano, 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot, 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp. lime juice, 3 cloves minced garlic, and 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper. Cover and blend or process until finely chopped, scraping sides as necessary; set aside.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

509 Calories
38g Fat
31g Carbs
16g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 509
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 38g 49%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 57mg 19%
Sodium 792mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 39.2mg 196%
Calcium 289mg 22%
Iron 4.6mg 26%
Potassium 923mg 20%
Folate, total 92.1mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.4mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.4mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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