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Eggplant meatballs in oval pan sprinkled with Pecorino Romano and basil leaves.

Eggplant Meatballs (Polpette di Melanzane)

Eggplant meatball recipe with basil, Pecorino Romano cheese and garlic.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 395kcal
Author James


  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs
  • ¾ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 ounces water


  • Begin by preheating oven to 350f and setting rack to middle level. Cube eggplant into approximately 1" pieces.
  • Crush and make a paste of 3 garlic cloves. Rough chop a ½ cup of fresh basil leaves.
  • In a large pan on medium-low heat, saute garlic in a ¼ cup of olive oil. After 2 minutes add the eggplant into the pan and mix thoroughly. Add 3 ounces of water to the pan, cover and let cook for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and move softened eggplant to a large mixing bowl. Let the eggplant cool for a few minutes, then add the 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs, ¾ cup Pecorino Romano, 1 tsp black pepper, ½ cup chopped basil and 2 beaten eggs. Mix well to incorporate the ingredients.
  • With wet hands form eggplant meatballs and place on an oiled wire rack or a parchment paper lined sheet pan. Bake the eggplant meatballs for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Place the eggplant meatballs in your sauce of choice and serve hot. Enjoy!



  • Unseasoned breadcrumbs are recommended to let just the basil and cheese shine through.
  • Use any type of firm, fresh eggplant.
  • Make sure the eggplant isn't too hot before adding the egg, cheese and remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl.
  • Roll the eggplant meatballs with wet or oiled hands to avoid sticking.
  • No extra salt was added due to the inherent saltiness of Pecorino Romano cheese.
  • The eggplant meatballs only need about 5 minutes of cooking in the sauce of your choice.


Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 37.6g | Protein: 12.6g | Fat: 21.7g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 600mg | Potassium: 406mg | Fiber: 6.4g | Sugar: 6.4g | Calcium: 223mg | Iron: 3mg