I’m way too tired to be blogging now … the kitchen has just been completely Pesach-ed and my brain is completely asleep. But I’ve been working on this recipe for awhile, and I really wanted to share it in time for Pesach.
Vegetarian meatballs are a great dish to have around if there’ll be any vegetarians at your seder table/yom tov table. You could serve these as an appetizer, just two on a little mound of mashed potatoes, or pass around a big bowl of them as a side or even a main. And if you’re trying to serve something aside from potatoes, try them with zucchini noodles or quinoa, if that’s a Pesach option for you.
In the course of testing this recipe, I tried making meatballs out of sweet potatoes (way too dense) and butternut squash (loved the flavor, but also too heavy). This version, with its base of eggplant, mushrooms, and onions, is light and flavorful — and I know I’m going to keep making them long after Pesach is over.
Chag kasher v’sameach to all of you!
Inspired by The Gush Gourmet and many others
Yield: 25-30 meatballs
- 6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carton fresh mushrooms, chopped
- 1 medium/large eggplant, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 eggs
- 1½ cups matzah meal (not whole wheat — too dense)
- Tomato sauce, for serving
1. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp oil. Saute the onion for 10 minutes, until just starting to brown. (Give them a stir halfway through the cooking time to make sure they don’t burn.) Add the mushrooms and continue cooking another 10 minutes. Scoop the onions and mushrooms into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Add 2 more Tbsp oil to the skillet. Add the eggplant, stir to lightly coat in the oil, and cook (covered) for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through. When you stir, scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan and mix them back into the eggplant. I like to add the remaining 2 Tbsp oil at this point, though you could probably skip that if you’d like.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside while you finish the meatball batter.
4. Scoop the eggplant into bowl with the mushrooms and onions. Mash everything with a potato masher. It doesn’t need to be a totally smooth mixture, you just want to help everything come together a little. Add the salt, basil, oregano, black pepper, eggs, and matzah meal and mix just until everything is incorporated.
5. Roll the mixture into 25-30 balls and place on the prepared baking sheet, as close together as needed. Bake for 15 minutes. To finish, bring the sauce you’ll serve with the meatballs to a boil in a large pot. Add the meatballs and simmer on low, covered, for 30 minutes. Once in a while, stir gently to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom and burning. Serve hot with mashed potatoes, zucchini noodles, or if it’s not Pesach, your favorite grain or pasta.