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cooked eggplant meatballs in tomato sauce topped with cheese and parsley in a skillet

Vegan Eggplant Meatballs

These meatless Italian eggplant balls are made without breadcrumbs. They're full of flavor and have a similar texture to real meatballs!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12 balls
Calories 87kcal



  • Whisk together the 1 tablespoon milled flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water to make a flax "egg." Set aside and let thicken for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil (you can put parchment paper on top of the baking sheet before spraying with cooking oil if you want).
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant cubes and ¼ cup of water. Let the eggplant cook down for 10 to 12 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer the cooked eggplant to a mixing bowl. Use a potato masher to mash it into a paste. Alternatively, you can use a food processor or blender to do this step. Let the eggplant cool for a few minutes before completing the next step. Prep the ground oats and other ingredients while it cools.
  • Add the thickened flax "egg," ground oats, Italian seasoning (see notes for a sub if you don't have Italian seasoning), salt, red pepper flakes, and garlic to the bowl. Mix well.
  • Use your hands to form the mixture into 12 balls. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet in an evenly spaced, single layer. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • A few minutes before the eggplant meatballs are finished baking, prepare your pasta of choice according to package instructions. Pour a jar of tomato sauce in a large skillet or saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat. When the meatballs are finished, place them in the skillet and let them simmer in the tomato sauce for a few minutes.
  • Serve the meatballs and tomato sauce over your pasta of choice or veggie noodles (try zucchini or kohlrabi noodles!). You can also stuff them into hoagie rolls to make "meatball" subs. Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs if desired and parmesan cheese (if you do not need it to be vegan). Enjoy!
  • Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!


  • My San Marzano Tomato Sauce works really well in this recipe.
  • If you don't have Italian seasoning, use 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 2 teaspoons dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1 teaspoon dried rosemary.
  • If you need this recipe to be fully gluten-free, use oats that are labeled as gluten-free and serve with gluten-free or legume-based pasta or rolls.
  • For some extra protein, add a can of white beans to the tomato sauce while it simmers.
  • Store leftover eggplant meatballs in the fridge for up to 5 days. To freeze, let them cool completely after baking and transfer to a plate. Put the plate in a flat area in the freezer. Leave it in there for a couple hours until the meatballs are frozen solid, then transfer them to a labeled bag. Store for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat the meatballs in tomato sauce in a skillet or saucepan with a lid for several minutes until warmed through. You can reheat the meatballs straight from frozen if needed, but you can speed up the process by letting frozen meatballs thaw in the fridge overnight.
  • Nutrition facts are only for the meatballs and do not include the pasta.


Serving: 1ball | Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 409mg | Potassium: 316mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 301IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg