Asian-Style Eggplant "Meatballs"

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 12 "meatballs"
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Ingredients

6 cups small cubed eggplant, peel left on (from 1 medium eggplant)

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered 

1/2 cup unsalted raw cashews 

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs 

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger 

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro 

2 tablespoons minced fresh mint 

2 cloves garlic, grated 

1 large egg, lightly whisked 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place eggplant in a large mixing bowl and slowly drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir and drizzle in an additional tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Spread on a prepared baking sheet.
  3. Combine mushrooms and remaining teaspoon oil and spread on remaining baking sheet.
  4. Bake eggplant and mushrooms 10 minutes, then stir and bake an additional 10 minutes. (Reserve one baking sheet with parchment paper to use again.)
  5. Reduce oven heat to 400 degrees F.
  6. Pulse eggplant a few times in a food processor until coarse in texture. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Pulse mushrooms until coarse and add to the same bowl. Pulse cashews until coarse and transfer to bowl. (Processing everything together will make the mixture too mushy; be sure to take the time to process the eggplants, mushrooms and cashews one by one). Add panko, ginger, cilantro, mint, garlic, egg and salt and pepper to the mixture and stir to combine.
  7. Use a small ice cream scoop or yours hands to scoop eggplant mixture into 12 balls and arrange on reserved lined baking sheet. Bake until crispy and browned, about 20 minutes.

Cook’s Note

I like to serve as part of a noodle bowl with vermicelli noodles, pickled onions, steamed broccoli, chopped cucumbers, mint and cilantro leaves, drizzled with my favorite teriyaki sauce.