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Eggplant Pesto "Meatballs"

Recipe by Triad to Wellness Consulting – Photo Courtesy of Kristen Massad
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Entrée
Servings 40 meatballs


Eggplant mixture

  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/4 pounds eggplant unpeeled and cut into 1" cubes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • red pepper flakes optional

Cashew Pesto

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or boiled for 20 minutes until soft
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 cups basil, washed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent about 3 minutes. Add garlic until lightly browned, remaining olive oil, and eggplant, and brown on both sides. Add water, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until eggplant is soft. Remove from heat, transfer to a heat proof bowl, and set aside.
  • In a food processor, add garlic, cashews, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and water. Process until smooth. Add basil, lemon juice, and olive oil while processing. Mix until smooth and set aside.
  • In the bowl, mash eggplant into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher. Add the cashew pesto and mix well. Lastly, add the breadcrumbs and red pepper flakes and stir until well combined.
  • Roll eggplant meatless balls in about 2-inch diameter approximately 1 1/2 tablespoon of mixture.
  • Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet and bake until browned (about 25 minutes) turning once so the eggplant pesto "meatballs” are browned on both sides.
  • Serve over zucchini noodles or your choice of pasta with tomato sauce.


Nutrient Analysis:

Serving size: 8 meatballs Calories: 320 calories, Fat: 15 grams, Saturated fat: 2 grams, Carbohydrates: 40 grams, Sugar: 5 grams, Sodium: 140 milligrams, Fiber: 7 grams, Protein: 7 grams
Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian