Flash freezing is the reason why your frozen peas pour out of the bag individually instead of in a big clump. It’s so easy to freeze many fruits and vegetables this way. You can also prep meaty foods like burgers, chicken strips and the like to take advantage of bulk sales. Right now many of us are inundated with late season vegetables. We’re going to turn a flexitarian favorite, eggplant, into savory eggplant meatballs that will be flash frozen and used to make a variety of meals.
Ok, so technically these are actually eggplant balls since there’s no meat in them, but why quibble? Call them what you want, just be sure to make a batch or two.
Serve your eggplant balls as you would any meatball. In the photo above, they’re served with a gotta-try-it Thai coconut sauce from Haute & Healthy Living. We’ve also had them on rolls with tomato sauce and provolone cheese for a veggie take on the famous sub. They’re also great served like Spanish style albóndigas with almonds, olives, cheese,my red pepper jam and of course a good wine.
While we generally enjoy our eggplant balls alone or with sauce, they can easily be served with pasta or rice to make up a more substantial meal.
You’ll find the original recipe in Mark Bittman’s VB6 Cookbook (affiliate link). The first time I made these I didn’t have the white beans called for in the recipe so some mushrooms that were in danger of being neglected were used instead. They worked so well, I’ve added them ever since.
- 1 lb eggplant, unpeeled, and cut into 1 inch chunks
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 - 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup chopped parsley (you can also use dried parsley)
- other herbs as desired (I tend to keep mine neutral flavored)
- bread crumbs
- red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
- In a large dutch oven, saute the onions and garlic in a small amount of olive oil seasoned with a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Add the eggplant and mushrooms when the onions take on a golden color. Season with salt and pepper. Add ¼ cup of water and continue to cook, covered, until the eggplant has softened, about 15 minutes.
- Allow the mixture to cool slightly then, working in batches as necessary, use a food processor to finely chop and blend the ingredients. You don't want large chunks, but you don't want a puree, either.
- As the mix is processed, transfer it to a large mixing bowl and add the parsley and enough breadcrumbs to make a mix that can be formed into balls.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
- Form the mix into any size balls you like.
- Unlike conventional meatballs, these freeze better if cooked first. Cook them at 400°F for 25 minutes or until they've browned and firmed up. They tend to stick, so use a lot of oil or a silicone mat.
- After the meatballs have cooled, place them in the freezer for at least an hour, no need to remover them from the baking tray if it fits. Then transfer them to freezer bags or containers for long term storage.
Having ready to go food in the freezer was always a lifesaver when my children were small. Nowadays I find it helps me continue to eat the flexitarian way by having several veggie based meals ready to heat and eat.
[bctt tweet=”Make a batch of #meatless eggplant balls and freeze them to use in a variety of meals. #flexitarian ” username=”lflexkitchen”]
The other bloggers of Recipe ReDux are also freezer cooking this month as part of the challenge:
Fantastic Freezer Meals:
Share your tips and tricks for making one – or more freezer meals. It’s the end of the gardening season for some of us; let’s store away that produce in heat-and-eat-from-the-freezer-meals. Show how convenient healthy freezer breakfast, lunches or dinners can be!
Make sure to drop by and see what they’re putting in their freezers!