Eggplant & Rapini Meatball Subs


for the meatballs:
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, grated
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1 tablespoon minced basil
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 egg

for the eggplant:
2 small graffiti eggplants, striped* and sliced in 1/4 inch wide slices
1 cup matzo meal or bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 egg, beaten

for the rapini:
1 bunch rapini, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 shallot minced

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped olives
1 teaspoon mayonnaise

4 Italian rolls

Whisk together the sauce ingredients. Refrigerate until use. Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium sized bowl, add all of the meatball ingredients. With a gentle hand, combine all ingredients and form into 1 to 2 inch meatballs. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place egg into a shallow bowl. Then mix together the matzo meal and the parsley in a second shallow bowl. Coat both sides of each eggplant slice in egg, then dip both sides in the matzo meal. Heat about a 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet. I suggest coating all of the slices and stacking them on a plate so they are ready for frying before you fry your first batch. Fry each slice in the hot oil, about 3 minutes on each side, until golden.

Saute the rapini, garlic and shallot in olive oil.

*I make vertical stripes using the peeler, leaving some stripes of skin on.

My thoughts:

This seems like an insane amount of work for what is basically a sandwich but it is worth it, I swear. The meatballs bake for roughly the same time it takes to fry the eggplant so everything is hot, crisp and delicious at the same time. Everything just blends together into the best, most flavorful hot sandwich I’ve ever had.


  1. Yum! This recipe is so unique and creative! A fun, and gourmet, alternative to the usual meatball and sub.

  2. This looks really good. Can't wait wait to try it out for myself!