- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) marinara sauce of choice
- 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large (1 1/4-pound/570-gram) eggplant, small diced (do not peel)
- 8 ounces (225 grams) baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped*
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 cups (125 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats**
- 3 tablespoons (15 grams) nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/3 cup (15 grams) packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, minced, or 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- In a small bowl, stir together the chia seeds and marinara sauce. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in an extra-large, deep cast iron or other stick-resistant skillet over medium-high. Add the eggplant, mushrooms, garlic, salt, black pepper, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes and sauté until the veggies are fully softened, about 12 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl
- Add the chia marinara to the eggplant-baby bella mixture and stir to combine. Add the oats, nutritional yeast, basil, and oregano and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes to slightly cool.
- From mixture into 24 balls, about 30 grams each. (Hint: I form them by using a medium [2-tablespoon/30 milliliter] cookie scoop, then rolling into balls by hand.) Place onto the prepared baking sheet, brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and roast until browned, about 25 minutes.
- If you’re not the saucy type, they’re tasty just as is. Or quickly toss hot “meatballs” in simmering marinara and serve over pasta.
Per serving: 220 calories, 12g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 530mg sodium, 25g total carbohydrate, 7g dietary fiber, 5g total sugars includes 0g added sugars, 7g protein
*If prefer, pulse mushrooms in a food processor to finely chop.
**For a smoother appearance, pulse oats in a food processor to coarsely chop. But don’t go overboard by processing into flour!
- Serving Size: 4 “meatballs” each