Eggplant & Tempeh ‘Meatball’ Sub

high protein

Aside from the faithfully Italian seasonings, this sub is a major upgrade from the Joey Tribbiani special from the 90s… Best enjoyed with wholehearted acceptance of the likelihood of making a mess!

Preparation time Prep: 20 mins
cook 30 mins
Skill level Easy Peasy

You will need:

  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or sub water)
  • 1 eggplant, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 x 300g packet tempeh, made with soy or beans
  • 1 – 1 ½ cup wholemeal or spelt flour, or flour of choice (start with 1 cup)
  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans, or nut/seed of choice
  • ½ cup parsley, packed
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax or chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons salt, to taste
To serve
  • 2 cups pasta sauce
  • 4 wholemeal rolls
  • Lettuce leaves, if desired
  • Vegan cheese, if desired


  • 1Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • 2Heat the oil in large fry pan over high heat. Sauté the onion for 2 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, eggplant and sauté until the eggplant is slightly golden. Add ½ cup water and turn down the heat to medium. Cook until the eggplant is tender.
  • 3Add the cooked eggplant mixture and the rest of the ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until just combined making sure not to process it too much to prevent it turning into a puree. Add more flour if your mixture is still wet.
  • 4Scoop heaped tablespoons of the mixture onto a lined baking tray. Using very wet hands, shape the mixture into balls. You should have around 20–25 balls.
  • 5Bake the meatballs in the oven for 20–25 minutes or until the outside is slightly brown. Allow to cool on the baking tray.
  • 6Add the pasta sauce to a large fry pan and heat through. Add the meatballs and gently mix until each one is coated. Cut open the rolls and fill with the meatballs, lettuce and vegan cheese, or as desired.
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