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Author Notes: Here we take two recipes that perfectly stand alone on their own and pair them. Awesome ness ensues. To top that off, this recipe can be made vegan and/or gluten-free very easily.
Millet is a very nutritious tiny gluten-free seed, often unfairly forgotten, and it is great for vegetarian meatballs. You can kick this recipe up a notch by serving these rolls smothered in a nice tomato or marinara sauce. —Valentina Solfrini
Makes about 15 rolls
For the millet meatballs
- 5.3 ounces Millet
- 1 small onion
- 1/2 cup thawed spinach, or a packed cup fresh
- A few sprigs parsley, finely chopped
- A few basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1 small potato
- 1 Egg (sub more potato for a vegan version)
- A good grating of nutmeg
- 1 fat garlic clove or two, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Breadcrumbs, to coat (sub any gluten-free flour for a gluten-free version)
- Olive oil for the pan
For the grilled eggplants
- 3 medium long eggplants
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- chopped basil or parsley
- Let's make the eggplants: Slice the eggplants into 1/4 inch slices. If you want to let them purge to be on the safe side, line them in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Sprinkle a bit of salt on each layer, and leave them to drip for some 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
- Heat a grill or a nonstick pan until very hot, then grill your eggplant slices one minute, one minute and a half per side. Make sure they are soft and fully cooked, and add the cooked sliced to a bowl as you cook the rest. Once ready, chop the herbs very finely, and dress the eggplant with the chopped herbs, salt and olive oil to taste (use at least a tablespoon). Toss well with your hands. You can prepare these a day in advance and eat them on their own as well. Keep them well covered in the fridge and they’ll develop their flavor as they rest.
- To make the meatballs, Cook the millet and potato first. While they cook, heat some olive oil in a pan and cook the onion, peas and spinach, adding a pinch of salt. Once both the millet and vegetables are ready, mash the potato with a fork and toss everything together in a bowl and add parsley, basil, salt, pepper and the egg (which you can sub with a bit more potato).
- Wet your hands and form into balls. You can make them larger if cooking on their own, but for wrapping, make them slightly smaller than the width of the eggplant slice. Roll each ball into the breadcrumbs or gluten-free flour of choice.
- Heat some olive oil in a pan, enough to lightly coat the bottom, and once it sizzles slightly when you test it with some flour, add the milletballs. Brown on all sides. This will help them hold together, but they will still be quite soft.
- Once ready, simply roll a milletball into each eggplant slice, and tie it with a piece of chive. Sprinkle more olive oil, chili and herbs. If you made it with potatoes and GF flour, they make for a fantastic vegan, gluten-free option for party food, potlucks or as part of any meal.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Grilled Vegetable Dish