Meatball Eggplant

Attention, vegetarians! This moist, flavorful eggplant boasts an amazingly dense, meat-like texture and taste that will make you long for dinnertime. Squat and fat, the dark purple fruits have few seeds and are slow to turn brown after slicing. Perfect for meatless entrées like cutlets, “burgers,” stir-fries, curries, and pastas, or mash for baba ghanoush. Stake plants (or use a small tomato cage) to support them as eggplants mature.

  • Light Full sun
  • Matures 58 days after planting
  • Fruit size 2 pounds
  • Plant spacing 12 to 18 inches apart
  • Plant size 24 to 32 inches tall

Some Bonnie Plants varieties may not be available in your local area, due to different variables in certain regions. Also, if any variety is a limited, regional variety it will be noted on the pertinent variety page.

At a glance
Nutrition Information

Light requirements: Full sun for best yields.

Planting: Space 24 to 36 inches apart.

Soil requirements: Eggplants need well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be 6.2 to 6.8.

Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Moisture is critical to prevent blossom drop and blossom end rot, and fuel developing fruits. Mulch soil to reduce water evaporation.

Frost-fighting plan: A light frost damages plants (28º F to 32º F). Temperatures below 50º F stop growth and cause fruit not to set. If a surprise late spring frost comes into the forecast, protect newly planted seedlings with a frost blanket.

Common issues: Blossom end rot can develop when soil moisture is erratic. Eggplant needs heat. In cold regions, planting in black pots can help warm soil and provide necessary heat to jump-start growth. Plants drop flowers when daytime temps soar above 90º F, nights are below 50º F, or drought stresses plants. Flea beetles love eggplant leaves, but plants yield even when leaves are riddled with beetle holes. Verticillium wilt, a soil-borne fungus, can occur in some areas.

Harvesting: Pick when skin is glossy; dull fruit indicates over-ripeness. Both under-and over-ripe fruit tastes bitter. Pick white eggplants before skin turns yellow. Use pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut eggplants, keeping a short stub of stem attached.

Storage: Store washed and dried eggplant at room temperature if using within one or two days. Otherwise, wrap in a dry paper towel and place in a perforated or loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use within 5 to 7 days.

For more information, visit the Eggplant page in our How to Grow section.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup cubed boiled eggplant:
  • Carbohydrates: 9g
  • Dietary fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Thiamin: 5% DV
  • Vitamin B6: 4%
  • Vitamin K: 4%
  • Manganese: 6%

Nutritional Information

Eggplant is another versatile, low-calorie vegetable that is packed with fiber and a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. One such nutrient, nasunin, is a potent antioxidant that protects the fats in brain cell membranes. Nasunin and other phytonutrients have been seen to have cardiovascular benefits as well. You may want to leave the skin on when baking or sauteing small, dark-skinned eggplants in order to retain extra nutrients. The larger and white-skinned ones are generally tougher and best peeled.