Living with a non meat eating person has greatly expanded my gastronomic horizons- getting that rich flavour into stocks and sauces simply is not easy when you are accustomed to simply bunging in some meat jus or a few bones from the local butchers. We have eaten this lovely meatball and pasta sauce dish and not just as ‘not’ meatballs either. Mashing up the aubergine and breadcrumbs into the sauce then adding a goodly amount of white or red wine turns it into a very fine base indeed for all kinds of vegetable stews; adding fine sliced fennel turns it into a facsimile of Bouillabaisse. If I had my druthers I would make it with both aubergine and ‘meat’ meatballs though- mine corpulent with beef, a bit of veal and pork as James Villas the wonderful Tar Heel food writer best makes them. But veal is expensive, baby calves are really cute and I cannot be arsed to cook two meals for Mr Veggie and Ms Not Veggie. So Jack Monroe’s wonderful Aubergine veggie version it is and it is none the lesser for it- just different.

Jack Monroe has kindly permitted me to reblog this and other content. Just in case anybody was wondering (stalking….)



These β€˜Not Meatballs’ are adapted from a recipe in The Abel & Cole Veg Box Companion cookbook. They are a great veggie alternative to meatballs, and a favourite in my household. Delicious served with spaghetti and tomato sauce – a simple can of chopped tomatoes heated through at the end with a pinch of salt would be a perfect accompaniment.

Serves 2:

1 aubergine
1 onion, red or white
a fat clove of garlic
1 red chilli or a pinch of the dried stuff
1 tablespoon finely chopped black olives (optional)
3 tablespoons oil
zest and juice of half a lemon, or a tablespoon of bottled lemon juice
a slice of bread, stale or fresh
a fistful of herbs: parsley, mint, coriander or basil all work well

Cut the stems off the ends of the aubergines and halve lengthways. Dice the flesh into chunks and pop into a medium non…

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