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Aubergine (not meat) balls

Serves 2

Vegetarian (depending on the cheese used), vegan (if cheese omitted or substituted)


For the balls:
1 aubergine, diced
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 chopped red chilli or a pinch of dried 
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
zest and juice of a lemon
a slice of bread, stale or fresh
a handful of basil leaves
salt & pepper

For the tomato sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil 
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, diced
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
salt & pepper
1 tsp sugar (optional)

150g pasta
salt & pepper


  1. Start by making the sauce: heat the oil in a small pan and add the onion & garlic. Fry on a low heat for a minute or two until soft. Add the tomatoes & seasoning, cover, turn the heat low, and leave to simmer gently. This will cook while you do everything else; just stir it every now & then. Near the end of the prep check if it tastes a little tart: add some sugar if it does.
  2. In a large frying pan (or shallow pan) heat the 2 tbsp oil and add the onion, garlic, chilli, aubergine, and some salt. Cook for about 15 mins, stirring occasionally, until the aubergine is soft. At that point add the lemon zest & juice & cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Tear the slice of bread up into a food processor & add the basil leaves. Add the cooked aubergine mixture & blitz until smooth.
  4. Start cooking the pasta according to the packet instructions. While it's cooking, clean out the pan used for the aubergines & add some fresh oil. Heat gently, form the aubergine mixture into balls (mine made 6) and add to the pan. Fry until golden brown and then flip. Put on kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil.
  5. Assemble your dinner by mixing the pasta through the tomato sauce & dividing between 2 serving bowls. Add the aubergine balls & top with Parmesan, if desired. Enjoy :-)

This recipe tastes even better made with vegetables from Community Harvest Whetstone :)
Aubergine (not meat) balls in bowls