Our vegetarian eggplant "meatballs" give a unique take on the classic hoagie!


  • 2 medium eggplants, peeled and cubed (approximately 8 cups)
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 tsp. Gourmet Santa Maria Sea Salted BBQ Rub
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup Subtle Rustic Red Sauce (or prepared chunky style Italian red sauce)*
  • 6 to 8 fresh basil leaves per hoagie
  • 4 hoagie buns


*Check out our recipe for Subtle Rustic Red Sauce, or use your favorite prepared red sauce.


In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and saute until very soft and browned, 12 to 15 min., stirring often. Transfer eggplant to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher until there are no large pieces and the texture is closer to mush. Mix in shallots, ½ cup of each cheese, Gourmet Santa Maria, and panko. Form into 12 to 15 meatballs (slightly larger than a ping pong ball). Set meatballs back in the bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 30 min. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In the same skillet, heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook on all sides (assuming about 6 sides on a round meatball) until most of the exterior is nicely browned, 1 to 2 min. per side. To assemble: Slice hoagies lengthwise about three-quarters of the way through, so the hoagie still holds together. Remove a portion of the bread from inside and add a layer of sauce and basil leaves. Top with eggplant meatballs, more red sauce, and a generous portion of the remaining shredded cheeses. Place in the oven for 4 to 5 min. to melt the cheese and warm everything through. Serve hot.


4 hoagies

Thanks To

Savory Spice Test Kitchen

Make This Recipe!

Make this recipe how many times?
Savory Spice Shop Ingredients
Gourmet Santa Maria Sea Salted BBQ Rub 1 oz bag $2.70
Have a Savory Spice recipe you would like to share?

"I've made a few purchases and have been REALLY happy with quality your products and service! There are quite a few products and blends I can't find anywhere else. I also really appreciate the prices - even with the shipping."
-Jeff H. of Milwaukee, WI

Customer Reviews ( Add a Review )

There are no reviews yet. Won't you be the first to add one?