Eggplant meatballs (polpettine di melanzane) are an Italian Lenten dish. We’ve given our version of these meatless “meatballs” a Middle Eastern twist by flavoring them with fresh cilantro and coriander and serving them over couscous. Timing alert: The eggplant needs to drain for 30 minutes.
- 1 eggplant (¾ pound), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 ¼ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup plain dried breadcrumbs
- I cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese (4 ounces)
- 1 large egg white
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cans (14 ½ ounces each) no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 cup couscous
- In a colander set over a bowl, toss the eggplant with 2 teaspoons of the salt. Let the eggplant sit for 30 minutes to release liquid. Rinse the eggplant briefly under cold running water to remove the salt. Squeeze the eggplant until it’s dry and has lost most of its seeds.
- Steam the eggplant in a vegetable steamer until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature.
- Add the breadcrumbs, ½ cup of the cilantro, ¼ cup of the feta, and the egg white to the eggplant. Mix well to combine. Shape into 16 balls. Dredge the balls in the flour, shaking off the excess.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the eggplant meatballs and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until they are lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, garlic, coriander, and the remaining ¼ cup cilantro and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the meatballs are firm and hot throughout, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the couscous according to package directions, using no salt. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining ¾ cup feta and the meatballs and sauce, and toss to combine.
Nutrition per serving: 370 calories, 8g total fat (3g saturated), 8g dietary fiber, 60g carbohydrate, 17g protein, 740mg sodium.
A good source of: fiber, niacin, potassium, thiamin.
Also see 7 Recipe Ideas for Eggplant.