The.Boy and I are barely less than two weeks out from our half marathon, and he is really insisting that we start carb loading.
Personally, I’m more concerned about our turmeric consumption because ANTI-INFLAMMATORY = faster leg recovery time = a happier 13.1 (and I’m kind of crunchy like that)…but FINE I’ll make pasta JUST THIS ONCE, if he insists.
Twist my arm, why don’tcha.
I’m pretty sure the.boy’s favorite ever meal is spaghetti with meat sauce, but since we all know that’s not going to happen around here, I accomodated him with some meatballs.
Eggplant “meat-free” balls to be precise.
You might have noticed I’m vaguely obsessed with these, as I’ve put them into soup and smushed them into veggie burgers, but rightfully so! They’re all sorts of fantastic. The.Boy hates eggplant, but he’ll eat these willingly, and then beg for leftovers the next day. That’s a veggie ball success story right there.
And so long as we’re throwing tradition to the wind, I thought we could also stray from the classic tomato sauce for something a little more…green.
Like kale. And pesto. And peas.
All in one glorious spaghetti eggplant “meat”ball bowl.
If anyone asks, spring made me do it.
And I kind of really liked it.
- 1 large eggplant, unpeeled
- salt, to taste
- 1 cup + ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs, divided
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp minced parsley
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- extra virgin olive oil, for frying
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 5 oz baby kale
- 1 lb frozen peas
- 8 oz pesto
- 8 oz burrata
- To make the veggie balls, cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Bring 2 quarts of water with 1 tbsp salt mixed in to a boil over high heat. Add the eggplant and boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the eggplant is cooked, pressing them down into the water regularly. Drain in a colander and push out as much water from them as you can using the back of a spoon. Finely chop the eggplant.
- In a bowl, combine the eggplant, 1 cup of panko, cheese, parsley, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Mix in the egg.
- Roll the eggplant mixture into small balls that are about 1-inch in diameter and set them on a platter. Put the remaining panko in a small bowl and roll each ball in the breadcrumbs to coat evenly. Set the coated balls on a clean tray.
- Pour the olive oil into a 10-inch skillet to a depth of ½ inch. Turn the heat to medium and when the oil begins to shimmer, put a test ball in the skillet. If it sizzles immediately, then the oil is hot enough. When the oil is ready, carefully put the balls in the skillet in a single layer.
- Fry, turning gently with a spoon, until browned all over, about 3 minutes total. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining balls until all of them have been cooked. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti to the pot and cook until al dente, according to package directions. In the last 2 minutes of cooking, add in the kale and frozen peas. Drain, reserving ⅓ cup of cooking water.
- In a large bowl toss together the pasta, kale, peas, and pesto, adding cooking water as necessary to loosen the sauce. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve spaghetti with the eggplant balls and topped with the burrata.
More warm weather pastas:
From Around the Web:
Quick Asian Noodle Salad from Simple Bites
Lemon Asparagus Linguine with Garlicky Panko from Oh My Veggies
Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Cucumbers, Lemon, Dill, and Feta from Two Peas and Their Pod
Greek Pasta Salad from Chelsea’s Messy Apron
Simple Vegetable Pappardelle from A Zesty Bite