Italian meatball recipe [without the meat]

Italian meatball recipe

Italian meatball recipe is a real classic and delicious dish that you’ll find in each and every region of Italy. Of course depending on the area of the country you’ll find different versions according to the local traditions.

I recently spent a few days in what I consider one of the nicest regions of Italy: Veneto. Is such a wonderful place filled with art, typical Villas which are known as Ville Palladiane (from the architect Andrea Palladio who lived in the 16th century). Veneto is the region of nice cities like Venice, on the lagoon, Verona, known for the Arena where you would go if you wish to attend to an Italian Opera show.

Ville Palladiane are more concentrated around the area of Vicenza. These villas are really majestic in fact they were originally built for the aristocrats. Many architects around the world took inspiration from these villas to accomplish their projects. What I find charming about these villas is the concept upon which they were built. The architect Palladio considered these villas not only as a property but more of a cultural retreat, a place of relief and comfort where you could find peace after a busy day in the city.

Anyways if you ever come to northern Italy, besides Venice, I suggest you to visit some of these Villas.

But you might ask: what does all of this have to do with Italian meatball recipe?

Ok. So, as I mentioned I was in Veneto and I’ve tried a different recipe for meatballs which actually should be called eggplant-ball recipe because the main ingredient was eggplants.

This Italian meatball recipe was so good that I had to ask how it is made and I’ll share it with you right here.

But first let me show you a picture of one of the famous Villa Palladiana:

Italian architecture

Here is the Italian meatball recipe [no meat] for you to try:

  • Italian meatball recipe: Eggplant-ball recipe


3 eggplants
2 slices of bread
2 eggs
2 oz Asiago cheese
2 oz Pecorino cheese
1/8 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove
extra virgin olive oil
peanuts oil

Italian meatball recipe


  1. Cut eggplants in small cubes and cook them in a skillet with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a garlic clove for about 15 minutes. Add salt.
  2. Once eggplants are moist and cooked, and all water from them is reduced, turn off the heat and let them cool.
  3. Pour milk in a bowl and soak bread in it, then squeeze it and put it in another glass bowl.
  4. Add eggs, grated Pecorino cheese, Asiago cheese cut in cubes, salt and pepper. Add eggplants and mix well.
  5. Now work this mixture in small balls and if it’s too moist you can coat your hands with some flour.
  6. Coat eggplant-balls in flour, place them nicely and separated on a plate and refrigerate for about 15 minutes so that they become more solid.
  7. Pour peanut oil in a skillet and turn on the heat on medium high, drop you eggplant-balls in oil only when the oil is really hot so that your eggplant-balls will be fragrant and crisp. To make sure that oil is really hot drop a little flour and see if it bubbles, also make sure that you don’t wait too long and burn the oil.

I also seasoned some extra eggplants with garlic, hot pepper and fresh parsleyto eat as a side dish:

Italian recipe

This was a pretty easy meatball recipe although it doesn’t require meat.

If you want to make it lighter, if you don’t want to fry them you can bake them in preheated oven at 425°F.

You can make this Italian meatball recipe to serve as an appetizer, just make sure that in this case your balls are tinier.

If you like spaghetti and meatballs you can make the eggplant-balls recipe I’ve just shared with you and add them to your sauce for meatballs.

  • Italian meatball recipe: here is how you make sauce for meatballs:


1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 small carrot
extra virgin olive oil
2 fresh minced basil leaves
a spoonful of black olives (without the stone)
plain fresh tomato sauce
freshly ground black pepper

Italian meatball recipe


  1. Slice onion and cut garlic clove in two halves. Cut carrots in thin round slices.
  2. Cook onion, garlic and carrot in extra virgin olive oil until onion turn light gold and carrots are moist.
  3. Add black olive and stir for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add tomato sauce, fresh basil, salt and pepper.
  5. Stir every now and then and cook for about 1 hour. If the sauce gets dry add a half glass of warm water.
  6. Bring water to a boil, add salt and cook spaghetti for about ten minutes.
  7. Drain spaghetti in a colander and pour them in the sauce stir well.
  8. Serve spaghetti and sauce on a plate and – at the very end – add your eggplant-balls on top.

You don’t want to drop your eggplant-balls in the sauce because you want them to be crisp, just make sure you cook them at the last minute so that you serve them hot and fragrant.

  • Bottom line

There are various way to prepare Italian meatball recipe this was a veggie version and an easy meatball recipe without meat.

I hope you enjoyed it and if you have your favorite meatball recipe I’ll be happy to know about it or maybe you would like to ask me how to make a traditional Italian recipe your heard of.

If instead you want more classic versions of the Italian meatball recipe make sure you try the three recipes I’ve shared in this article.

Meatball recipe: all Italian classic

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