Kung Pao Eggplant “Meatballs”
Vegetarian; includes gluten-free & dairy-free options
  • 1tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp grapeseed oil, divided
  • 1large eggplant, trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1cup bread crumbs or gluten-free bread crumbs, dairy free if desired
  • 1/2cup hempseeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1tbsp Sriracha
  • 2tbsp honey or agave nectar
  • 2tbsp sambal oelek (fresh chili paste)
  • 1large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together ground flaxseed and 2 1/2 Tbsp warm water and set aside.
  3. In large frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add eggplant and 1/4 cup water. Cook, uncovered, stirring often, until eggplant is tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to food processor along with bread crumbs, hempseeds, minced garlic, onion powder, salt, and reserved flax mixture. Process until mixture just comes together and is uniform in consistency. Be careful not to overmix or meatballs will be gummy. Roll heaping 1 1/2 Tbsp mixture into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until meatballs are browned and crisped on the outside.
  4. Meanwhile, make kung pao sauce. In bowl, whisk together soy sauce or tamari, sriracha, honey or agave, and sambal oelek.
  5. Once meatballs are cooked, in large cast iron skillet or frying pan, warm remaining 1 tsp oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in sauce and cook, stirring constantly until warm, about 1 minute. Add meatballs and gently toss to coat in sauce. Remove skillet from heat and garnish with green onion and black sesame seeds. Leave meatballs in skillet placed alongside toothpicks for guests to serve themselves.
Recipe Notes

Per 2 meatballs: 155 calories; 7 g protein; 7 g total fat (1 g sat. fat); 18 g total carbohydrates (7 g sugars, 5 g fiber); 413 mg sodium