When talking about meat alternatives people tend to think of tofu, seitan, and tempeh. While these products are definitely three of the most popular in the meatless group, as many people have now learned, it’s completely possible to emulate meat using vegetables. Mushrooms, beets, and beans all make for great plant-based alternatives, and soon you may start seeing a new one: the “Meatball Eggplant.” Yup, that’s literally what the gardening community is calling the new modified vegetable, that has a remarkably meaty texture.

We know what you’re thinking. Using eggplant as a meat alternative? That’s old news. While that is true, eggplant is most certainly considered a nice, “meaty” vegetable to use in dishes, this new breed is not like any eggplant that has existed before. First off, it has no seeds. Secondly, it contains significantly more water than its traditional counterpart.


Since this variety contains more water, less oil is able to sink into the vegetable while on the pan, resulting in a more refreshing and less oily product. These differences may not seem all that ground-breaking, but according to George Ball, the CEO and Chairman of W. Atlee Burpee & Co. Seed Catalog, the new vegetable breed is already making its way into the home-garden market this spring at full-speed. In fact, sales of the eggplant are already rivaling those of tomatoes and peppers. Additionally, when put to a taste test, Ball shared  “It won hands-down when compared to both veggie burgers and meat.” Pretty impressive!

Considering increasingly more people are looking to include whole, organic, good-for-you foods in their diets, and are starting to avoid processed foods or foods with soy and gluten, this eggplant may just be a step in the new direction for plant-based alternatives … possibly. What do you think? Will you be swayed by this new meaty vegetable? Or are you satisfied with your current go-to’s? Tell us in the comments!

Image Source: Hearty Eggplant Burger