Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
1 small eggplant
1 tbsp olive oil
4 oz Shiitake Mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and diced
¾ cup Quinoa
1 ½ cups water
1 large egg
1 egg white
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp chopped basil
1 tsp chopped parsley
Vegetable oil, for frying
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Using a fork, prick holes all over the eggplant. Place eggplant on a baking sheet and roast it in the oven for an hour, until the eggplant collapses/shrivels. While the eggplant roasts, cook the quinoa and mushrooms.
In a small pot, bring 1 ½ cups of water and quinoa to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover with lid. Let cook for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, uncover and fluff with a fork.
In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat for a minute. Add mushrooms to skillet and sauté for 7-10 minutes until golden.
Once the eggplant is cooled, slice in half length-wise. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Give it a chop and discard the eggplant skin. Add eggplant, quinoa and mushrooms to a medium mixing bowl.
Mix in the egg, egg white, Parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, basil and parsley. Mix well.
Line a baking sheet with parchment/wax paper. Form the shiitake/eggplant mixture into large balls. Place on the lined baking sheet. Place the sheet with all the “meatballs” in the refrigerator for 20 minutes while you heat the oil.
Fill a large, heavy-bottomed skillet about ¼ of the way up with vegetable oil. Heat oil over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.
Remove the “meatballs” from the fridge, add four to the hot oil at a time. Fry the balls, turning occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until golden on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon, add to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Fry the next batch in the same way.
Serve the “meatballs” with marinara sauce and your favorite pasta.