Fantastically Tasty Vegan Eggplant ‘Meatballs’ With Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce

These meatless aubergines Eggplant ‘Meatballs’ will delight vegans and meat eaters alike! Perfect for meat-free Mondays.

If a real food court existed I would be dragged there for crimes against aubergines (eggplants). I always buy them with the best of intentions and then usually forget them until it is too late to revive them.

Wasteful and cruel – guilty as charged. The last time I picked a pair I vowed to use them in a recipe or never buy them again. Luckily I managed to make these amazingly ‘meaty’ no-meat vegan balls in the nick of time!

The recipe came from the Abel and Cole Veg Box Companion book with a few minor tweaks. It is so easy to throw together and will wow everyone – meat lovers included – guaranteed or your money back.

I served these with a piquant tomato sauce and spaghetti but they can also be served as a canapé with some spicy dipping sauce.

These ‘meatballs’ are a little fragile so I would recommend chilling them before frying and serving them on top of the pasta rather than mixing in with the sauce.

The aubergine ‘mince’ can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge – this helps the flavours develop as well. If it is a bit dry add a splash more olive oil and if it is too wet add more breadcrumbs.

Make the breadcrumbs using stale bread – I always save any bits of stale homemade bread to blitz in the food processor for recipes like this one.

Vegan Eggplant Meatballs

Prep Time: 40 minutesCook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutesServings: 4 servings


For the tomato sauce

  • 400 g | 14oz can peeled cherry tomatoes in their juice
  • 3 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
  • 1 red onion finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 slices sun-dried peppers finely diced + 1 tbsp of their oil (from a jar)
  • a handful of green pitted olives sliced (I used Greek Halkidiki marinated olives)
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil to fry as needed

For the vegan balls

  • 2 large aubergines eggplants cut into small cubes
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 100 g | 3.5oz breadcrumbs 1 thick slice of bread – I used stale rye bread
  • a handful of green pitted olives I used Greek Halkidiki marinated olives
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • zest of 1 lemon – reserve some to sprinkle over the finished dish
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil to fry as needed
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley very finely chopped, to serve
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil very finely chopped, to serve


  1. Make the vegan balls. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion, cubed aubergines and a pinch of salt. Fry, stirring with a spoon, for five minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and lemon juice and continue to cook until the aubergines are nicely coloured but not too soft.
  3. Blitz the bread and herbs in a food processor until you have fine crumbs.
  4. Add the aubergines, olives, balsamic vinegar, chilli flakes and lemon zest and pulse until everything comes together. Taste and season.
  5. Form into little balls and place on a large plate lined with a kitchen towel. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Make the tomato sauce. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, over low heat until the onion is soft – about five minutes.
  7. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and stir, breaking the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon. Add the chopped peppers and their oil, the olives, sugar, lemon juice and bay leaf and stir.
  8. Fill the empty can (from the tomatoes) with water and add to the pot. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook until the sauce has thickened – about 30-40 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning (the olives can be quite salty).
  9. Heat a good splash of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry the ‘meatballs’ in batches until nicely coloured all over. You will need to add more olive oil if the pan gets too dry and do be gentle with the ‘meatballs’ – they can be a little fragile.
  10. Serve with spaghetti, tossing the pasta in the tomato sauce first. Top with the aubergine ‘meatballs’ then sprinkle with the chopped herbs and reserved lemon zest.


Share This

You May Also Like

About the Author: Julia Azedae

Food is my passion, and I'm grateful every day that I get to share that passion with others through my blog. I hope to continue exploring the world of food and sharing my experiences with my readers for many years to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *