500g eggplant/brinjal/aubergine (about 1 medium), cut into ¾-inch chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or crushed red chillies)
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup raw walnut halves (any nut will do)
¾ cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons minced shallot (spring onion)
½ teaspoon dried parsley
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried basil
½ cup ricotta cheese
approx 300g frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
2. Add the eggplant to a large baking sheet, then drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, red pepper and garlic. Toss to combine, then spread in an even layer.
3. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
4. Decrease the oven temperature to 180 degree celcius.
5. Meanwhile, add the walnuts to the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground--but don’t go so far that it turns into a paste--then add them to a large bowl.
6. Fold in the breadcrumbs, flour, shallot, parsley, oregano, basil, ricotta and spinach; set aside.
7. Add the roasted eggplant to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until the eggplant is chopped well, but there is still some texture. You don’t want to completely puree the mixture.
8. Transfer the eggplant to the large bowl and mix until well-combined. Add additional salt and red pepper to taste, then stir in the egg.
9. Form the mixture into balls about 1 ½ inches in diameter.
10. Place the meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
11. Bake the meatballs for about 25 to 30 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. Serve with a sauce/chutney.
INFO & TIPS
Make awesome snacks or a side.
Recipe credit: Adapted from ohmyveggies.com