Friday, 14 June 2013

Daring Cooks June 2013: Aubergine No-Meat Meatballs with Pasta

A slight break from my birthday recipes for Daring Cooks!

The June Daring Cooks’ challenge sure kept us rolling – meatballs, that is! Shelley from C Mom Cook and Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to try meatballs from around the world and to create our own meatball meal celebrating a culture or cuisine of our own choice.

There were so many things I wanted to try for this challenge but time got away from me. I am obsessed with Italian Wedding Soup but have never made it myself. However, I had things that needed using up and chose to do that rather than go out and buy all new ingredients, but I will make some of the other recipes and the things other people made in due course! I had aubergines lurking in the fridge that needed using and a search found these fantastic aubergine no-meat meatballs. I had no idea what they were going to taste like and when I took that first bite, they were so good. Different from meat meatballs but really really good. So much so that I've mnade another batch which I've frozen.

Aubergine No-Meat Meatballs with Pasta
(from Abel and Cole and The Metro)
(Serves 4)

olive oil
2 aubergines, cut into a small dice
1 smallish onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper
zest 1/2 lemon
squeeze lemon juice
handful of pitted black olives
pinch of chilli powder
A large handful of fresh basil or 1 tbsp chopped rosemary leaves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 mug of breadcrumbs
a bunch of fresh basil
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
2  400g tins of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
300g dried spaghetti or penne
25g Parmesan cheese, for grating

Place a large frying pan over medium heat. Sizzle the aubergine, onion and garlic in a bit of oil till soft and starting to colour. Add more oil, if needed. Season well.

When it's almost done, add a squeeze of lemon juice and the lemon zest.
Tip it into a food processor with the olives, chilli, balsamic vinegar and breadcrumbs. Whizz it up till everything comes together. Or just chop and mix everything up on a large cutting board.

Taste the mix. Add more herbs or spice if needed. If it’s a bit dry, add a splash of olive oil. If it’s too wet, add more breadcrumbs. Shape into balls. Two aubergines will give you about a dozen rounded tablespoon-sized balls.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil for the pasta.
Heat a large pan on a medium heat and add 2 glugs of olive oil. Add the onion and stir for 7 mins or until softened and lightly golden. Then add the garlic. As soon as they get some colour, add the larger basil leaves then add the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil and season to taste.

Sizzle the balls in olive oil till golden all over.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. Drain, and return the pasta to the pan. Spoon in half the tomato sauce, adding a splash of the reserved water to loosen.
Pile onto plates with the rest of the sauce and meatballs on top. Sprinkle over the small basil leaves and some grated Parmesan. Serve.


  1. These look fab - what a clever idea! I bet they'd be great baked in a gratin with lots of gooey mozzarella on top as well :-)


  2. What a great way to use what you have, and what a delicious looking meal you made! I hope you have a chance to try Italian wedding soup soon - it really is quite delicious. Thank you so much for cooking with us this month!

  3. They sound fantastic! Will have to try them :)

  4. G'day! Sounds delish, TRUE!
    I wish I could reach through the screen and sample some of this NOW! :)
    Cheers! Joanne
    The Daring Kitchen Cooks Challenge too!

  5. I am finding so many recipes I want to try, and these are a must. Sound just delicious, and perfect for doing a meatless night.