Friday, June 4, 2021

Italian Eggplant Balls - Polpette di Melanzane

These  eggplant balls are a tasty appetizer 
Scrumptious and crunchy on the outside, soft and extra flavorful on the inside. 

Here is something I made for my family the other day. My kids didn't just like these eggplant balls, but they absolutely loved them! I know, I know... who wouldn't right?!?
These cute vegetarian balls are perfectly crispy on the outside, soft and tasty on the inside. Once you try one, it's hard to stop!
These eggplant balls can be served as an appetizer or finger food to your next party. Or, if you really feel like it, it can be a fun and light weeknight dinner next to a big salad. So versatile and a sure crowd-pleaser! 
For this recipe, I cut the eggplant in half and cut a crosshatch pattern into each half (just in the flashy part, not the skin). Stuff with herbs so the flavor sips through the eggplant while baking, making it super tasty. 

Scoop out the flesh when cooked, mesh and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Roll into balls, just like you would for meatball. And fry!

When frying, make sure the oil is at the right temperature. No thermometer?!? No problem. I don't generally use one. The oldest wooden spoon trick always work.  

Heat the oil with a wooden spoon inside. When the oil is hot enough you will see tiny little bubble running up from the bottom of the pan along the edges of the spoon. This is the time! Gently drop the eggplant balls inside and fry until deep golden. 

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Here is the recipe card for you!

Italian Eggplant Balls  - Polpette di Melanzane

Italian Eggplant Balls - Polpette di Melanzane

12 to 14 balls
Manuela Mazzocco
Prep time
15 Min
Cook time
40 Min
Total time
55 Min
These eggplant balls are a tasty appetizer Scrumptious and crunchy on the outside, soft and extra flavorful on the inside


  • 1 large eggplant (1 lb, 450 gr)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • few basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, pepper and dry oregano to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup (70 gr) bread crumb plus about 1/4 cup for breading
  • 1/4 packed cup (25 gr) grated Parmesan cheese
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup (235 ml) tomato sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉.
  2. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, and score the flesh of each half (cut the top in a crosshatch pattern just the flesh, not all the way through the skin on the bottom).
  3. Place them cut-side up on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, chopped garlic and basil. Salt, pepper and oregano to taste.
  4. Bake at 350℉ in the upper part of the oven for 30 minutes or until mostly soft.
  5. Scoop out the flesh as soon as it cools down enough to handle.
  6. Mesh with a fork or in a food processor. In a large bowl, add the mashed eggplant with the egg, 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese. More basil, garlic or oregano if you'd like. Mix while keeping the mixture soft.
  7. Spoon out some of the mixture at a time and roll it between the palms of your hands, without pressing too hard, making balls about the size of golf balls. You should make about 12.
  8. Roll them again in more bread crumbs, as needed.
  9. In a pan or skillet, pour enough oil to fill about half inch of oil. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. I test with a wooden spoon. Place the spoon inside the pan, when you see lots of bubbles rising around the spoon it means the oil is ready.
  10. Fry the eggplant balls into the oil for 2 to 3 minutes until deep golden and crispy, turning on all sides.
  11. Drain on paper towel and serve hot, next to your favorite tomato sauce.
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