Update the classic spaghetti and meatballs with this recipe for eggplant "meatballs" paired with a tomato sauce that's unlike anything else. Baharat brings something special to this savory sauce made from cherry tomatoes. It’s kinda of paprika-y cinnamon-y, and cardamom-y. It adds a subtle layer of spice that's not overwhelming, but different in a really good way.

Eggplant Meatballs With Baharat Spiced Tomato Sauce [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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For the Eggplant Meatballs:

  • 1.75 pounds eggplant
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1/3 cup rough-chopped purple onion
  • 1 cup of gluten-free rolled oats
  • Salt, as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 30 ounces grape tomatoes
  • 1 heaping cup rough-chopped white onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 big fat garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baharat (see notes)
  • 1 scant teaspoon of fresh serrano pepper slices
  • Salt, to taste
  • Gluten-free spaghetti


  1. Cut the eggplant into 8ths lengthwise. Sprinkle salt all over and let it sit for 30 minutes. Pierce flesh all over with a fork, and then nuke it for 5 minutes. Let it cool for a sec, and then pat off the excess salt and squeeze out the excess moisture.
  2. Combine the eggplant with the remaining vegan meatball ingredients in a blender. Pulse it so that you get a chunky, not smooth consistency.
  3. Scoop big fat heaping tablespoons of the vegan meatball mix and form into balls. You should end up with about 20. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes at 450°F. Remove from heat.
  4. Break the spaghetti up into thirds. Place in a deep, wide skillet over medium heat (no water yet!) and toast them, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes. They should darken somewhat. Add water to the skillet and cook to al dente.
  5. Drain, add a drizzle of oil to prevent sticking, and set aside. Give the skillet a quick wipe down.
  6. To make the sauce, place all the tomatoes in the skillet over medium heat. Smash them up with a flat-bottom cup. Start your timer now. Add the onion, thyme, bay, garlic, baharat, and serrano. Cook for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 10-15 more minutes.
  7. Pile up the spaghetti, sauce, and vegan meatballs in serving bowls.


Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice blend. Check your local Middle Eastern grocery store or the international aisle of the closest grocery.

Nutritional Information

Per Serving: Calories: 255 | Carbs: 52 g | Fat: 3 g | Protein: 9 g | Sodium: 401 mg | Sugar: 17 g Calculation not including spaghetti of choice. Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.


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