Aubergine Balls: the Traditional Apulian Recipe

I’m not 100% sure if Aubergine Balls – polpette di melanzane are traditionally from the Apulia region, but what I’m sure about is that my mother used to prepare them very often when aubergines were in season.

If you’re a fan of aubergine balls, you might already know that they can be served in many different ways. However, one of the my favourite and simple ways to enjoy them is with a tomato sauce. The acidity of the tomato sauce complements the rich flavor of the aubergine balls, creating a perfect combination of flavors. So, if you’re a fan of classic Italian flavors, serving them in a tomato sauce is definitely the way to go!

These small aubergine balls are perfect for our vegetarian friends given their meaty texture that resembles meatballs.

Here you can find the recipe of our Zucchini and Potato balls.


Aubergine Balls

Preparation: 20 minFrying Time: 20 min
TOTAL TIME: 40 min
Aubergine Balls served with Tomato sauce from Puglia


  • 4 medium-size aubergines 
  • 100-150 g parmigiano reggiano (grated)
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 bunch of basil leaves, cut in small pieces
  • 1 small garlic clove without green soul, finely minced 
  • 1 l EVO oil or seeds oil to deep fry
  •  salt and pepper, to taste
  •  bread crumbs, enough to roll the balls in 


  • Remove the stalk from the aubergines, then wash and dab them.
  • Cut them in half and then in quarters. 
  • Cook them for about 10 minutes in lightly salted boiling water until soft.
  • Drain the aubergine, and let them cool in a colander.
  • Squeeze them to remove extra water, and place in a bowl. 
  • Smash the aubergines with a fork, add the egg, the cheese, basil leaves, garlic and season with salt and pepper.
  • Combine well. The mixture should be moist but still hold its shape when rolled into balls. If it is too sticky add a bit of breadcrumbs.
  • Place some breadcrumbs on a plate. Moisten your hands, and shape the mixture into neat, round balls. Place them on the plate and roll through until totally coated with breadcrumbs.
  • Pour oil into a frying pot, and put on a high heat (we suggest to use a small deep pot). The oil has to be hot (180 °C). If you can’t measure the temperature try it by putting into the oil a small piece of bread. If it starts bubbling then the oil has reached the right temperature.
  • When the oil is hot fry the balls working in batches until golden. 
  • Drain them on an absorbent paper. 
  • Season with salt.
  • Serve with a fresh tomato sauce.

Tips: You can get a similar result by baking them.

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