Eggplant and tofu balls with basil pesto Eggplant and tofu balls with basil pesto

Offer a plant-based option this Christmas with Suzy Spoon's eggplant & tofu appetiser balls.


Serves 6


1 hr + 20 mins



Appetiser balls

  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant, diced into 2cm cubes
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbs fresh thyme, chopped
  • ½ cup (65g) pine nuts
  • 500g firm tofu, roughly crumbled
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 3 tbs + 1 cup basil pesto
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 ¼ cup rice flour
  • 2 cups rice bran oil

  • Basil pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup (65g) pine nuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbs lemon juice


Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium. Add the eggplant, onion and carrots and cook for 20–30 minutes until the eggplant is browned and soft.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add the paprika, parsley, thyme and pine nuts and cook for a further 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the eggplant mixture with tofu, tomato paste and 3 tablespoons of pesto. Add the nutritional yeast and flour, and mix until well combined.
With clean wet hands, form the mixture into golf-ball sized balls.
Heat rice bran oil in a fry pan over medium-high heat. Cook the balls in batches until balls brown and crispy all over. Serve with remaining pesto.
To make the basil pesto, combine all ingredients with 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper in a small food processor.
Blend until smooth. Put into an airtight jar or container, cover with a layer of olive oil and refrigerate until ready for use. Store for no more than 4 days.

Originally published in The Costco Connection, Nov/Dec 2022. Pick up the latest copy at your local warehouse or read it online.