great aunt mary’s eggplant meatballs

Serve these fellows piled on top of spaghetti, or smother them in homemade marinara and make a classic ‘meatball’ sub.
Tip: Do a little extra prep work for a really special dinner: Make a quick batch of cashew Parmesan cheese (super easy, and needed for this recipe anyway!), prepare a classic marinara, and/or bake a loaf of rustic bread.

eggplant meatballs2

Great Aunt Mary's Eggplant Meatballs
  • 2 pounds eggplant, cubed (skin left on)
  • Olive oil (a few spritzes to lightly coat eggplant)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup panko (plus ½ cup more if needed)
  • 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh basil)
  • 2 tablespoons cashew Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, spritz eggplant cubes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to fully coat.
  3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spread eggplant cubes on baking sheets. Roast for 20-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through to ensure even cooking. When the eggplant are tender, remove from oven, transfer to a large bowl (do not discard parchment paper), and allow to cool for five minutes or so. Mash the eggplant with a potato masher or pulse a few times in a food processor.
  4. Add diced onion and minced garlic to the eggplant mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon. Stir in 1 cup of panko, Italian seasoning, basil, and cashew Parmesan cheese. Taste mixture and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Mixture should be moist enough to roll into a ball but not overly wet -- if it's too wet, add some or all of the remaining ½ cup panko.
  5. Scoop out 2 tablespoons or so of the mixture into your hand and shape into ball (slightly smaller than a golf ball). Place on the same parchment-paper-lined baking sheet you used for the eggplant cubes. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, turning at the halfway point so that sides are evenly browned.
  7. Remove eggplant meatballs from oven and let set for 5 minutes before serving over pasta with marinara or in an eggplant meatball sandwich.
Once baked, your eggplant meatballs will get firmer as they cool. I recommend making ahead of time and reheating them in marinara in a saucepan over the stove when you're ready to serve. Makes around 24.


easy tahini-free rosemary hummus

Foregoing the tahini called for in many hummus recipes means dropping lots of fat without sacrificing the creamy texture or rich flavor.


Easy Tahini-Free Rosemary Hummus
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained (liquid reserved) and peeled (see Notes below!)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • Paprika or smoked paprika for serving (optional)
  1. Add chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and rosemary to a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as many times as necessary until everything is well blended. If needed, add some of the reserved chickpea water one tablespoon at a time and/or the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and continue blending until hummus reaches your desired consistency.
  2. Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and sprinkle with paprika or smoked paprika before serving (if desired).
Using peeled chickpeas means pinching the skins off each bean by hand, and it takes some time! Don't bother if you want the extra fiber from the skins (or don't mind a more rustic hummus), but know that removing them will make the hummus much creamier. Personally, I put on some music and just get in the peeling zone...