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Eggplant Meatballs over Cauliflower Puree and Pesto

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins


Eggplant Meatballs:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 unpeeled eggplant cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 shallot or 1/4 yellow onion peeled and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
  • 3/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 large egg beaten

Cauliflower puree:

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • Salt

Easy Everyday Pesto:

  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon pistachios
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt


To Make the Meatballs:

  • In a large saute pan, set over medium-low heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is warmed, add the eggplant, a few pinches of salt and water. Cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Give it a good mix and then add the garlic and shallot or onion. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth.
  • Transfer to a bowl, along with the crushed red pepper, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, basil, Italian parsley, bread crumbs, cheese and beaten egg. Mix until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge to chill for about 20 to 30 minutes. This will make it easier to scoop.

To Make the Puree:

  • Meanwhile, make the cauliflower puree. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and cook until softened about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove about 1/2 cup of the cauliflower water and set aside. Drain the cauliflower and transfer to a high-powered blender. Add the butter and creme fraiche (or yogurt) and a splash or two of the cauliflower broth. Pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Give it a taste and add salt. I added about 1/2 teaspoon. You may need to give it a stir just before serving.

To Make the Pesto:

  • To a blender, add all of the pesto ingredients and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. Salt to taste. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

To Cook the Meatballs and Assemble:

  • In a non-stick skillet or medium skillet, set over medium heat, add a teaspoon or two of oil. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop out meatballs, dropping them on the warm skillet. Repeat until you’ve filled up with the skillet. Cook on each side for abut 2 to 3 minutes, until seared on two sides. Remove from skillet and set aside and repeat with the remaining mixture.
  • Divide the puree amongst bowls.


*Feel free to use store-bought pesto, if you’re looking for a short cut feel free to use store-bought pesto OR tomato sauce.
*If you don’t want to make the cauliflower puree, I bet this would be delicious over polenta or rice or couscous or pasta or spaghetti squash.


Serving: 4g