This delightful twist on Eggplant Parmesan offers the same incredible taste and a hassle-free cooking experience!
Eggplant Parmesan holds a special place in my heart, especially since I make it for my mother every Mother's Day. However, I must admit that the traditional preparation can be quite laborious. Thankfully, I stumbled upon a TikTok recipe that inspired me to put my own delightful twist on it, making the process much easier. This dish not only retains its incredible flavor but also offers a convenient and straightforward cooking experience. In fact, we had it twice for dinner this week!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Time-Saver: This recipe saves you time and effort while still delivering the same delicious flavors of traditional Eggplant Parmesan.
- Convenient Ingredients: The ingredients required for this recipe are easily accessible and pantry-friendly. You don't need any fancy or hard-to-find ingredients, making it a practical choice for a quick and satisfying meal.
- Cheesy and Crispy: The combination of the eggplant balls, tangy tomato sauce, and gooey melted mozzarella cheese creates a dish that is both cheesy and crispy. .
You’ll need the following ingredients to make these Eggplant Parmesan inspired meatballs:
Eggplants, Olive Oil, Breadcrumbs, Egg, Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Tomato sauce or jar of marinara sauce, Fresh mozzarella cheese.
Tomato Sauce: If using canned tomato sauce, enhance its flavor by boiling it with spices for 10 minutes before using. You can add a pinch of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to elevate the taste.
Fresh Mozzarella: Fresh mozzarella cheese is the ideal choice for this recipe as it provides a creamy and mild flavor that pairs perfectly with the eggplant. Look for high-quality fresh mozzarella in the cheese section of your grocery store. If you can't find fresh mozzarella, you can substitute it with low-moisture mozzarella, but keep in mind that the texture and taste may differ slightly.
How to make Eggplant Parm Meatballs step by step
Here are some quick visual instructions with a brief explanation. Be sure to read through the full instructions with exact ingredient measurements & steps in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Step 2: Peel and dice the eggplants, then coat them in olive oil. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until they become tender.
Step 3: Remove the baked eggplant from the oven and transfer it to a food processor. Pulse the eggplant until it is finely chopped. Add breadcrumbs, egg, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the food processor. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Step 4:Line a baking pan with a layer of sauce, spreading it evenly.
Step 5: Use a 2-inch ice cream scooper or your hands to shape the eggplant mixture into balls. Place the eggplant balls in the prepared baking pan on top of the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the eggplant balls.
Step 6:Arrange slices of fresh mozzarella cheese on top of the eggplant balls, covering them evenly.
Step 7: Bake the dish in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, covered. Then, uncover the pan and broil for an additional 5-10 minutes until the cheese turns crispy and golden brown.
Step 8: Once done, remove from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Enjoy your delicious homemade Eggplant Parmesan Meatballs!
Recipe tips and tricks
- Salting the Eggplant: After peeling and dicing the eggplant, you can sprinkle some salt on the pieces and let them sit for about 20 minutes. This helps draw out excess moisture and can improve the texture of the meatballs.
- Customizing the Seasonings: Feel free to adjust the seasonings according to your taste preferences. You can add herbs like basil or oregano, or incorporate some red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
- Serving Suggestions: Serve your Eggplant Parmesan Meatballs as a main dish alongside spaghetti, or as a delicious appetizer. They pair well with a side of fresh salad or crusty bread.
- Leftover Ideas: If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The meatballs can be reheated in the oven or microwave for a quick and tasty meal the next day!
Frequently asked questions
A: While fresh mozzarella cheese is commonly used in Eggplant Parmesan, you can experiment with other cheeses like provolone, fontina, or even a blend of Italian cheeses.
A: Yes, these freeze very well! Ensure that it is properly wrapped or stored in an airtight container. When reheating, bake it in the oven until heated through for best results.
A: Absolutely! I omit the Parmesan because i'm not really a fan but adding parmesan cheese to the Eggplant Parmesan Meatballs can be a delicious addition. It will contribute a savory, umami flavor and add a touch of richness to the meatballs. You can mix grated Parmesan cheese into the eggplant ball mixture or sprinkle it on top of the eggplant balls before baking. Adjust the amount according to your taste preferences and enjoy the extra layer of flavor it brings to the dish
Tools for this recipe
Check out all of my kitchen essentials in my Amazon store!
Food Processor: I absolutely love this food processor. I have tried many food processors and this one reigns as my favorite!
Eggplant Parm Meatballs
- 2 medium eggplants
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ cup of breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- ½ tablespoon of pepper
- 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- 24 oz tomato sauce or marinara sauce
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Start by peeling the eggplants and dicing them into small, uniform pieces. This will ensure even cooking and consistent texture.
- Coat the diced eggplants in olive oil, making sure each piece is well coated.
- Place the eggplant pieces on a baking sheet and bake them in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes. Keep a close eye on them to ensure they become tender.
- Once the eggplant is baked, carefully transfer the cooked eggplant pieces to a food processor. Pulse the eggplant until it is finely chopped.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the finely chopped eggplant with breadcrumbs, egg, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix the ingredients well until they are thoroughly combined. This will create a cohesive mixture that holds together when forming the eggplant balls.
- Line a baking pan with a layer of sauce, evenly spreading it across the bottom of the pan. This creates a flavorful base for the eggplant balls to cook in and ensures they don't stick to the pan.
- Using a 2-inch ice cream scooper or your hands, shape the eggplant mixture into evenly sized balls. Place each ball on the lined baking pan, on top of the layer of sauce. Arrange them in a single layer, allowing enough space between each ball for even cooking. The mixture should make around 12 eggplant parmesan balls.
- Pour the remaining sauce over the eggplant balls, ensuring they are all generously coated.
- Place slices of fresh mozzarella cheese on top of each eggplant ball.
- Cover the baking pan with foil and bake the dish in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes. The covered baking time helps the flavors meld together and ensures the eggplant balls cook through.
- After the initial 30 minutes, remove the foil to uncover the dish. Switch the oven setting to broil and continue baking for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese on top turns crispy and golden brown. Keep a close eye during the broiling process to prevent burning.
- Once the cheese is crispy and the eggplant balls are cooked to perfection, remove the pan from the oven. Allow the dish to rest for a few minutes to set and cool slightly before serving.