Sort of Spicy Eggplant Bites

by Maria Theresa Maggi on September 6, 2015

Sort of Spicy Eggplant Bites

The year Mike was in Cub Scouts long ago, he was assigned the task of making up a game we could play as a family. He carved out holes in an old Bisquick box and had my boyfriend Joe and I stand across the living room at a designated spot from the box and throw bean bags he had made into the slots. The best thing about this game was that Mike saw fit to give everyone a prize, even if they didn’t win, or make their throw into one of the holes. In fact, I think he gave us a hundred points just to start with every time it was we had a turn. We all scored off the charts and had loads of fun. That’s one of the many things I’ve always loved about my boy. He likes everyone to win.

Watering at the Urban Farm Collective’s Bakari Garden feels like that “everyone wins” kind of game for me. I go once a week and spend about an hour fiddling with the hoses, watering and doing light weeding (and maybe make a sketch or two). This has helped keep the garden watered in dry weather but I also win a delightful prize. I get what’s called a “slug” (which is funny to me, considering we’re talking gardens here–but maybe they thought that pun up on purpose, yes?), the virtual currency for working in the garden. I can then “trade in” for a designated amount of fresh veggies and fruits harvested from all the Urban Farm Collective gardens and gathered in a church parking lot in my neighborhood each Monday night at 6 pm. Young people working the gardens all over north portland walk or bike in with bags full of their harvest. Then they relax and catch up with one another, sitting under the trees or up against the church school walls visiting until the clock strikes 6 and one of them rings a bell. The we all get to line up and literally pick from the fruits of our labor. I was easily the oldest volunteer there, but perhaps I was also most delighted. It was like picking out a prize for reading books in grade school.

One of my prizes last week was a beautiful purple and white striped eggplant. Although I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, and at the time it was too hot to turn the oven on, I just had to bring it home. I wish I had photographed it before eating it, and so I could draw it more accurately, but I forgot about it until it was too late.This is my fanciful recreation, sketched from memory, which doesn’t quite do it justice:

eggplant by MTM

I really only decided to post about what I made from it until I was  in the middle of making it because I just had a feeling these little bites were going to be really delicious. And, thankfully, I was right (so I’ll give myself an extra “slug” for following my hunch).

These eggplant bites are moist and flavorful, and the little dab of apricot jam gives them a spicy sweetness that’s hard to resist. I never thought I could eat a whole eggplant by myself in one sitting, but I nearly did. I think I’ll give myself a hundred extra points for coming close.

Maria (moonwatcher)

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lynn September 7, 2015 at 8:06 am

I never know what to do with eggplant, so thanks for the recipe inspiration! Isn’t it great when everyone wins? When I read that I thought of all the positive effects of eating a plant-powered diet. Everyone (and everything) wins – the earth, the animals, our health and even our economy. What’s not to love? 🙂


2 Maria Theresa Maggi September 7, 2015 at 8:55 am

Glad I gave you some eggplant inspiration, Lynn! And thanks for the delightful comment reminding us how a plant-powered diet is a win-win for the planet and all of us on it. Indeed, what’s not to love? 🙂


3 Debra Maslov September 7, 2015 at 9:41 am

Thank you for the delicious recipe…..I will definitely try this soon. Sure loved your story as well – you make life so poetic!


4 Maria Theresa Maggi September 7, 2015 at 12:56 pm

You’re welcome Debra! So glad you will try this out. And really happy you loved the story, too. That means a lot to me.


5 Lee at Veggie Quest September 8, 2015 at 9:40 am

Maria, this looks delicious! Especially since I’ve gotten on an eggplant kick this summer. (Honestly, I’m 35, and this is the first year I’ve realized how delicious eggplant is.) Recipe pinned!


6 Maria Theresa Maggi September 8, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Oh thank you, Lee! I hope you enjoy it. Really appreciate the pin, too. xo


7 Gena September 10, 2015 at 5:53 am

I’m positive I’ll love these, Maria. I adore eggplant, and I make an eggplant “bacon” that’s similar to these, but probably has less delightful “chew.” I can imagine that these would be so tasty tossed over a salad or a grain bowl. Yum!

And I think I like your beautiful memory-driven vision of the eggplant much more than I’d like a photo of the thing itself 🙂



8 Maria Theresa Maggi September 10, 2015 at 1:03 pm

Hi Gena! Thanks! Yes, last summer I mentioned you in a slow cooker eggplant bacon version I came up with–yours is one of the recipes that inspired the seasonings, so thanks all over again for that. These do have a delightful “chew” and are way less time consuming than the slow cooked thinkly sliced version–and well, just a tad different. I planned to do as you suggest, tossing these over salad or grains. But I confess most of them got eaten straight out of the oven. 🙂 Thanks too for the kind words about the eggplant drawing, too. 🙂 xo


9 Veronica September 10, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Such a great community! I like it also when everyone wins. 🙂 I’m not a huge fan of eggplant, but this does intrigue me. If I find myself with one at the farmer’s market, I’ll have to try it out! Perhaps it’ll convert me. 🙂
And I like how Lynn commented that a plant-based diet is a win-win for all – it truly is. Makes sticking to it a little easier.


10 Maria Theresa Maggi September 10, 2015 at 6:34 pm

Thanks Veronica! Not everyone has to like eggplant. I bet this would work on zucchini bites, too. Or a root vegetable like parsnips. And yes, here’s to win-win all around. Eating plants is a good way to live that. 🙂 xo


11 Sharon Herbitter September 24, 2015 at 10:45 am

I bought two eggplants for a recipe that I finally realize I’m not going to make (it’s very involved, but looked so good that I was going to try it — but I’ve been so busy and veggies don’t keep forever…). So this is going to be my solution for at least one of them (maybe I’ll just go ahead and do both!). Eggplant, some sort of rice or quinoa pilaf-y side, a salad — sounds like dinner tomorrow!


12 Maria Theresa Maggi September 24, 2015 at 11:10 am

HI Sharon! That sounds yummy! This really is an easy recipe. Hope you enjoy it!


13 Marlene September 24, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Thank you for this great recipe… I am sharing this with my plant based group!!!


14 Maria Theresa Maggi September 25, 2015 at 8:28 am

You’re welcome, Marlene! Hope your plant-based group enjoys it!


15 Mariana Sarceda September 25, 2015 at 6:48 am

You’ve opened my mind with this recipe. I don’t know how to make my family enjoy aubergines! They are attracted by their size and color but whenever I prepared them, they put an ugly face and rejected it. I’ll give your recipe a chance!!!


16 Maria Theresa Maggi September 25, 2015 at 8:30 am

You’re welcome, Mariana! Happy to help others enjoy augbergines! We can’t have kids making ugly faces at them all the time. 🙂


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