Eggplant Chickpea Tagine

A simple delicious Tagine Recipe with Eggplant and Chickpeas infused with Moroccan spices served over cinnamon-scented couscous. This flavorful Eggplant Chickpea Stew is vegan and gluten-free!  This flavorful Moroccan Stew or “Tagine” is m…

Delicious, Healthy Tagine Recipe with Eggplant and Chickpeas- seasoned with Moroccan spices and served over couscous. A simple plant-based dinner recipe! #tagine

A simple delicious Tagine Recipe with Eggplant and Chickpeas infused with Moroccan spices served over cinnamon-scented couscous. This flavorful Eggplant Chickpea Stew is vegan and gluten-free!  This flavorful Moroccan Stew or “Tagine” is made with chickpeas, caramelized eggplant, and a fragrant Moroccan spice blend called Ras El Hanout. It’s luscious and hearty yet totally plant-based...

The post Eggplant Chickpea Tagine appeared first on Feasting At Home

Best-Ever Eggplant Meatballs

This eggplant meatballs recipe is truly amazing! The purple veggie makes a surprisingly juicy texture and a delightful Italian style dinner. Ever tried making meatballs…with eggplant? We’d been hearing for years that eggplant makes great vegetarian meatballs, we just didn’t really believe it…until now. Try this amazing Eggplant Meatballs recipe! Garlic, herbs, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese make one insanely juicy and savory meatball. Roasted eggplant makes them moist and textured, vs dry or mushy like lots of vegetarian balls. Combine it with marinara sauce and it’s out of this world delicious. In fact, we took one bite and yelled “Wow!” (True story.) Ingredients for eggplant meatballs It’s a short ingredient list here! All you’ll need to make eggplant meatballs is the following: Eggplant: you’ll need 2 pounds; 3 medium or 2 large (it’s helpful to weigh out exactly at the store! Garlic Jarred sundried tomatoes Italian panko: Panko are large, fluffy breadcrumbs. You’ll need to locate the Italian version, which has added salt and herbs. See below for more! Grated Parmesan cheese: Make sure it’s the powdery stuff: not shredded, which looks like little sticks! Salt and pepper What’s Italian panko? Is there a substitute? Panko is a flaky bread […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This eggplant meatballs recipe is truly amazing! The purple veggie makes a surprisingly juicy texture and a delightful Italian style dinner.

Eggplant meatballs

Ever tried making meatballs…with eggplant? We’d been hearing for years that eggplant makes great vegetarian meatballs, we just didn’t really believe it…until now. Try this amazing Eggplant Meatballs recipe! Garlic, herbs, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese make one insanely juicy and savory meatball. Roasted eggplant makes them moist and textured, vs dry or mushy like lots of vegetarian balls. Combine it with marinara sauce and it’s out of this world delicious. In fact, we took one bite and yelled “Wow!” (True story.)

Ingredients for eggplant meatballs

It’s a short ingredient list here! All you’ll need to make eggplant meatballs is the following:

  • Eggplant: you’ll need 2 pounds; 3 medium or 2 large (it’s helpful to weigh out exactly at the store!
  • Garlic
  • Jarred sundried tomatoes
  • Italian panko: Panko are large, fluffy breadcrumbs. You’ll need to locate the Italian version, which has added salt and herbs. See below for more!
  • Grated Parmesan cheese: Make sure it’s the powdery stuff: not shredded, which looks like little sticks!
  • Salt and pepper
Eggplant meatballs recipe

What’s Italian panko? Is there a substitute?

Panko is a flaky bread crumb mixture used in Japanese cooking for fried foods. It’s also made its way into international cooking because it’s the perfect breading and frying. Italian panko are made with seasonings and salt. Panko is available in most grocery stores and online. You can also find gluten-free panko or Italian panko online, to make this a gluten free recipe! If you can’t find Italian panko, here’s what to do:

  • Use regular panko and add salt and Italian seasonings. See the recipe below for quantities.
  • Look for coarse breadcrumbs instead, or make them! Some purchased breadcrumbs have very fine texture, which isn’t as ideal (but you can still use them). Italian breadcrumbs have the salt and herbs added, so they are a good substitute. If all you can find is plain, use the salt and herbs from the recipe below as well.
Eggplant meatballs

Roast the eggplant small diced, skin on (here’s why!)

The key to these eggplant meatballs is this. Roast the eggplant chopped very small, then mash it with a potato masher before forming the balls. Here’s why:

  • Roasting with the eggplant skin on makes the very best juicy, meaty texture that’s incredibly satisfying. You’ll have some chunks in the meatballs: but that’s good!
  • Using a food processor or blender or removing the eggplant skin makes a texture that’s gooey rather than meaty: not nearly as delicious. Speaking of…

A few tips on forming eggplant meatballs

These eggplant meatballs have lots of texture to the dough, which can make forming them a little different than say, falafel. Here are a few tips on the forming process:

  • Include the eggplant skin right into the the balls: try to evenly disperse them throughout each meatball.
  • You can also discard a few of the skin pieces if it’s hard to form the balls. But again, the skins and chewy parts are what you need for a meaty, interesting texture: so don’t worry that it’s not a smooth dough!
Eggplant meatballs recipe

You’ll need about 1 hour: or they’re great for make-ahead!

Keep in mind: in total, this eggplant meatballs recipe takes about 1 hour to make. We’re obsessed with fast and easy recipes around here, as you may know. But guess what: this recipe is so good, it’s absolutely worth the 1 hour prep time! Here’s what to know about planning and meal prep to make it fit into your lifestyle:

  • Eggplant meatballs save very well: you can refrigerate or freeze! If you can make them ahead, it makes dinner time a breeze! Store them refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months, stored in a single layer in a freezer safe container.
  • To reheat, simply warm them in a skillet with marinara. That’s it! So easy.
  • Or, make them on a weekend or when time allows. If you have the time, it’s a perfect recipe for a Saturday or Sunday dinner.

Make it a meal: main dish, pasta, and more!

Take one bite of these eggplant meatballs and you’ll be amazed by the amount of flavor going on with these babies. Don’t even think of them as a vegetarian meatball: they’re just DELICIOUS. Now, you don’t need to serve them with pasta: but you can. The only thing that’s required is the marinara sauce (use your favorite jar). Here are a few ways you can eat these eggplant meatballs:

How would you serve them? Let us know in the comments below!

Eggplant meatballs

This eggplant meatballs recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free panko.

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Eggplant meatballs

Best-Ever Eggplant Meatballs


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 20 meatballs (4 servings)
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This eggplant meatballs recipe is truly amazing! The purple veggie makes a surprisingly juicy texture and a delightful Italian style dinner.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds eggplant (3 medium or 2 large, about 12 cups diced into 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon jarred sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups Italian panko (use gluten free as needed)*
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not shredded)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For serving, 1 large jar marinara sauce, 8 to 12 ounces spaghetti or bucatini pasta or zucchini noodles

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch chunks by slicing 1/2-inch rings and then cutting the rings into cubes. The size of dice is important for the final texture! (If you weren’t able to weigh the eggplant, measure out 12 cups 1/2-inch diced). 
  3. In a large bowl, quickly mix the eggplant with olive oil and kosher salt (the eggplant soaks up the oil in an instant, so mix as soon as you add it!). Pour the eggplant onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread it into an even layer.
  4. Roast for 25 minutes, then stir and roast 10 minutes more until browned and very tender. Remove and reduce the oven heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  5. Add the warm eggplant to a bowl and mash it with a potato masher until chunky and mostly mashed. Stir in the minced garlic, finely chopped sundried tomatoes, Italian panko and grated Parmesan cheese. Taste and add any salt to taste (we added only 1 pinch; remember that the marinara sauce will also add flavor after baking).
  6. Use your hands to form the dough into 20 balls. You’ll include the eggplant skin right into the the balls: try to evenly disperse them throughout each meatball.  You can also discard a few of the skins if it’s hard to form the balls. But the skins and chewy parts are what you need for a meaty, interesting texture: so don’t worry that it’s not a smooth dough! See the photos above. 
  7. Place the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until lightly browned on top and very browned on the bottom. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, or longer if desired (the balls will firm up). At this point, you can serve immediately, refrigerate for 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months (in a single layer in a freezer safe container). While the meatballs bake, you can boil the pasta or prep the zucchini noodles. 
  8. To serve, add the marinara sauce to a skillet and add the meatballs in a single layer. Heat for 1 to 2 minutes until warmed. Serve over the noodles, then top with grated Parmesan cheese (and chopped fresh basil, if desired). You can also serve as a vegetarian main dish with a few sides, like broccoli and couscous, rice or quinoa.

Notes

*We recommend Italian panko for the best results. If all you can find is regular panko, use 1 1/4 cups regular panko, mixed with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (or 1 tablespoon dried oregano and 1/2 tablespoon each dried basil and thyme). If you can’t find panko at all, you can substitute coarse breadcrumbs — the texture of store-bought is very fine, so chunkier homemade breadcrumbs are ideal (but you can use either). Italian breadcrumbs work in a pinch; adjust the salt to taste. If you eat gluten-free, you can find gluten-free panko online.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Eggplant meatballs, eggplant meatballs recipe

More eggplant recipes

Eggplant is one unexpectedly delicious vegetable, when you cook it correctly! Here are some more eggplant recipes to try:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Classic Moussaka Recipe

Classic Moussaka Recipe
Moussaka is a Greek casserole dish similar to lasagna, with layers of potatoes, eggplant, spiced beef, and topped with bechamel sauce.
READ: Classic Moussaka Recipe

Classic Moussaka Recipe

Moussaka is a Greek casserole dish similar to lasagna, with layers of potatoes, eggplant, spiced beef, and topped with bechamel sauce.

READ: Classic Moussaka Recipe

Pasta alla Norma

We’re going back to Sicily! Pasta alla Norma is a delicious Sicilian pasta dish with eggplant, marinara and basil. I’m excited to introduce you to this dish…

The post Pasta alla Norma appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

pasta alla norma recipe

We’re going back to Sicily! Pasta alla Norma is a delicious Sicilian pasta dish with eggplant, marinara and basil. I’m excited to introduce you to this dish because it is a completely satisfying vegetarian dinner. I’m craving a bowl as I type.

Most pasta alla Norma recipes are made with fried eggplant, but this recipe features roasted eggplant. Eggplant really absorbs oil like a sponge, so this lightens up the dish. Another plus? Roasting eggplant is easier and less messy.

I further lightened this classic recipe by using more eggplant and less pasta, so this dish won’t put you to sleep. It’s nice and saucy, just the way I like it.

pasta alla norma ingredients

I don’t speak Italian, so I first assumed that “norma” meant eggplant. Not the case! Norma is capitalized because she’s a lady. Or an opera, depending on how you look at it.

Here’s the backstory: Pasta alla Norma comes from Catania, a city on the eastern coast of Sicily. Catania is the hometown of Vincenzo Bellini, an Italian opera composer who lived in the early 1800s. One of Bellini’s most famous operas, Norma, is named after its lead character.

Folklore has it that playwright Nino Martoglio, after his first bite of this pasta dish, exclaimed, “Chista è ‘na vera Norma!” (“This is a true Norma!”) That’s quite a compliment.

Continue to the recipe...

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Caponata

Let’s make homemade caponata! This classic Sicilian appetizer or side dish is perfect for late summer meals. This recipe combines roasted (not fried) eggplant with sautéed bell…

The post Caponata appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

caponata with roasted eggplant

Let’s make homemade caponata! This classic Sicilian appetizer or side dish is perfect for late summer meals. This recipe combines roasted (not fried) eggplant with sautéed bell pepper, celery, tomatoes, olives and capers. Red wine vinegar and honey make it irresistibly tangy and sweet. If you generally enjoy these bold flavors, you’re going to love caponata.

Since international travel is largely off the table, I’ve been traveling vicariously through my food. This caponata is the perfect example. I’ve yet to make my way to Sicily to sample authentic caponata, but learning to make this dish has deepened my desire to explore the island. Mark my words, I’ll get there someday.

caponata ingredients

Caponata recipes vary from region to region and household to household. This recipe is where I landed. I took some cooking cues from my ratatouille recipe, which also features roasted eggplant stirred into a simmering tomato sauce. Caponata’s flavors are even deeper and more complex largely due to the intense agrodolce factor, or the interplay between sweet (honey and raisins) and sour (vinegar and capers).

I can’t claim this recipe is entirely authentic, but I hope it offers you a little taste of Sicily.

Continue to the recipe...

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5-Ingredient Eggplant Parm Skips the Fuss, Keeps the Cheese

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, ideas, wow factor. Psst: We don’t count salt, pepper, and certain fats (say, olive oil to dress greens or sauté onions), since we’re guessing you have those …

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, ideas, wow factor. Psst: We don't count salt, pepper, and certain fats (say, olive oil to dress greens or sauté onions), since we're guessing you have those covered. Today, we're making eggplant parm weeknight-friendly.


Usually, eggplant parm goes something like this:

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Baked Eggplant Parmesan

This baked Eggplant Parmesan is truly incredible: coated in a crispy crust that’s magically gluten free. You’ll never make it another way! Here’s one of the ultimate Italian comfort foods, done easier and healthier: eggplant Parmesan! Typically this baby is fried, but we have a secret for you. It’s even better baked, and this version is incredible. It’s from our friend Charlotte Smythe’s new cookbook One Pot Keto Cooking and you will be truly amazed by the flavor and texture. The eggplant is coated in an impossibly crispy coating that’s also magically gluten free and low carb. The secret? Almond flour. It’s a genius trick and you’ll never make this recipe another way. Here’s more about Charlotte’s baked eggplant Parmesan and the book! The secret to crispy baked eggplant Parmesan This baked eggplant Parmesan has the most crispy, flavorful coating and tender interior that every bite is a revelation. We made this recipe for my parents when they were in town visiting, and everyone kept exclaiming: wow! (True story.) The secret to the crispy exterior? Here’s what to know: Almond flour and Parmesan cheese make the perfect crispy coating. Almond flour has the perfect fluffy texture for breading, and it […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This baked Eggplant Parmesan is truly incredible: coated in a crispy crust that’s magically gluten free. You’ll never make it another way!

Baked eggplant Parmesan

Here’s one of the ultimate Italian comfort foods, done easier and healthier: eggplant Parmesan! Typically this baby is fried, but we have a secret for you. It’s even better baked, and this version is incredible. It’s from our friend Charlotte Smythe’s new cookbook One Pot Keto Cooking and you will be truly amazed by the flavor and texture. The eggplant is coated in an impossibly crispy coating that’s also magically gluten free and low carb. The secret? Almond flour. It’s a genius trick and you’ll never make this recipe another way. Here’s more about Charlotte’s baked eggplant Parmesan and the book!

The secret to crispy baked eggplant Parmesan

This baked eggplant Parmesan has the most crispy, flavorful coating and tender interior that every bite is a revelation. We made this recipe for my parents when they were in town visiting, and everyone kept exclaiming: wow! (True story.) The secret to the crispy exterior? Here’s what to know:

  • Almond flour and Parmesan cheese make the perfect crispy coating. Almond flour has the perfect fluffy texture for breading, and it crisps up like a charm in the oven. Alex and I don’t eat gluten free, low carb or keto exclusively, but this method is our new favorite.
  • Make sure to buy grated Parmesan. That’s the cheese with the texture of snow: not the kind that looks like long sticks (that’s shredded). Grated has a similar texture to almond flour, and makes the perfect gluten free breading.
Baked eggplant Parmesan

Choosing eggplant: long and thin is preferred!

Another tip for making baked eggplant Parmesan: choose an eggplant that is on the long and thin side, if you can find it. Many large globe eggplants (the Italian variety) can have a rather fat bulb at the end. When you slice it to make an eggplant round, the rounds at the widest part of the eggplant can come out massive. We had this problem because we were working with a very large eggplant.

Try to find eggplants that are longer and thinner, to make for a more manageable size of rounds. It’s not a deal breaker: it just looks prettier. It tastes amazing no matter what the size of eggplant!

How to serve this baked eggplant Parmesan

This gluten free baked eggplant Parmesan is so tasty, you’ll want to eat the entire pan. (We almost did!) You can serve it either as a side dish or a main. If you’re serving it as a vegetarian dinner recipe, you’ll want to add some filling sides or try the casserole variation (see below). Here’s what we’d recommend:

  • Add pasta (gluten free or legume). Go Italian style and serve this eggplant Parmesan with pasta (long or short noodles). If you eat low carb or gluten free, you could try your favorite gluten free or legume pasta.
  • Add a big salad. Try it with a big salad, like Caesar Salad topped with chickpeas, or this Perfect Italian Salad.
  • Serve as a side with fish. Try it alongside lemon caper salmon, pan fried cod, or grilled tilapia.
Baked eggplant Parmesan

Try the casserole variation! (like a lasagna)

Want to turn this baked eggplant Parmesan into an even more filling vegetarian dinner recipe? Try it in the casserole style variation! This makes it into a lasagna-style baked main dish. Here are some notes about this variation:

  • Double the eggplant and breading. You’ll make the eggplant the same way, but double the quantities so you can stack it in a 9 x 13″ pan.
  • Layer the baked eggplant with marinara and mozzarella in 2 layers. You’ll need double the mozzarella cheese here. Place a layer of eggplant, then marinara and mozzarella, and do this twice.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese melts. Then top with fresh basil! More instructions are in the recipe below.

And that’s it! We know you’ll love Charlotte’s gluten free baked eggplant Parmesan as much as we did! Keep reading for more about her book.

One pot keto cooking

About the book: One Pot Keto Cooking

This baked eggplant Parmesan recipe is from the new book One Pot Keto Cooking by our pal Charlotte Smythe. Charlotte is an incredible recipe developer and photographer and the book is simply stunning. It’s full of delicious low-carb meals for the busy cook that are all cooked in one pot. It does include meat, but if you eat pescatarian like we do, there are plenty of vegetarian and seafood options. You’ll salivate over each one! Congratulations, Charlotte, on this masterpiece!

Grab a copy of the book: One Pot Keto Cooking by Charlotte Smythe

This baked eggplant Parmesan recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, keto, and low carb.

Print
Baked eggplant Parmesan

Baked Eggplant Parmesan


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This baked Eggplant Parmesan is truly incredible: coated in a crispy crust that’s magically gluten free. You’ll never make it another way!


Ingredients

  • 1 medium large eggplant, about 1 pound (long and thin preferable) OR see casserole variation*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or 1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano and thyme)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups jarred marinara sauce
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (we used a combination of fresh mozzarella and shredded)
  • Fresh basil, to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. 
  2.  Cut off the ends of the eggplant and cut it into 3/8-inch slices. 
  3. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl and set it aside.
  4. Combine the Parmesan cheese, almond flour, Italian seasoning, and kosher salt in another shallow bowl and set it aside. 
  5. Dip each eggplant slice into the egg and then the Parmesan cheese mixture. Transfer the coated eggplant slices to the prepared sheet pan in a single layer, about 1/2-inch apart. Use two sheet pans if you do not have one large enough to fit all the slices. 
  6. Bake the eggplant for about 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through, until tender and golden brown. 
  7. Remove the eggplant from the oven (go to Casserole Variation* if desired). Add 2 tablespoons of the marinara sauce on top of each eggplant slice and add an equal amount of mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce. 
  8. Return the pan to the oven and continue to bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown. Top with torn basil. Serve with pasta (gluten free or legume pasta) or a few side dishes, or the casserole variation makes for a more filling main dish.

Notes

Reprinted with permission from One-Pot Keto Cooking by Charlotte Smythe

*Casserole variation: Double the recipe and use 2 pounds of eggplant and double the breading ingredients. After baking for 20 minutes until tender, spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13″ pan. Place half the baked eggplant in a layer on the bottom, then top with 1 cup marinara and 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Add the second layer of eggplant with another 1 cup marinara and 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Bake 20 minutes until the cheese melts, then top with torn fresh basil leaves. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Baked eggplant parmesan, Eggplant parmesan

More eggplant recipes

We love eggplant around here! If you do too, here are some recipes you also might enjoy:

  • Perfect Roasted Eggplant Baking until it’s tender makes for unreal flavor. Serve it as a side dish, or toss with pasta!
  • Roasted Eggplant Pasta An impressive plant based dinner, it works for weeknights or parties.
  • Easy Eggplant Pizza Use eggplant for the crust to make eggplant pizza! These mini pizzas are tasty and easy to make, covered in garlicky sauce and gooey cheese.
  • Grilled Eggplant Here’s how to make perfectly grilled eggplant! These tricks make it come out tender every time.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Eggplant Parmesan

Classic for a reason, Italian baked Eggplant Parmesan is comfort food at its best. Breaded eggplant slices are layered with mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, and tomato sauce, and baked until bubbly. Continue reading “Eggplant Parmesan” »

Classic for a reason, Italian baked Eggplant Parmesan is comfort food at its best. Breaded eggplant slices are layered with mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, and tomato sauce, and baked until bubbly.

Continue reading "Eggplant Parmesan" »

Panko-Crusted Eggplant Fries with Curried Cashew Aioli

This vegan Panko-Crusted Eggplant Fries recipe uses ground flax instead of egg. Serve these fried with Curried Cashew Aioli for dipping! Miraculous Flax Eggs Can we talk about the miracle of flax eggs?

Panko-Crusted Baked Eggplant Fries with Curried Cashew Aioli
This vegan Panko-Crusted Eggplant Fries recipe uses ground flax instead of egg. Serve these fried with Curried Cashew Aioli for dipping! Miraculous Flax Eggs Can we talk about the miracle of flax eggs?

The Very Best Thing to Do With Your Watermelon Rinds

Shortly after I turned 20, my family moved from central Illinois to Southern California, swapping snow boots for sandals; we also traded in two apple trees for a grove of lemons, avocados, pomegranates, figs, and jujubes. A few years ago, I started my …

Shortly after I turned 20, my family moved from central Illinois to Southern California, swapping snow boots for sandals; we also traded in two apple trees for a grove of lemons, avocados, pomegranates, figs, and jujubes. A few years ago, I started my quest to grow heirloom vegetables, which frustrated and rewarded me in seemingly equal quantities—only a few hinona kabu turnips came up the first year, but the dan hobak (known as kabocha to most folks) immediately blanketed the backyard, flowering with dozens of sweet squashes-to-be.

My mother, who grew up on a farm in South Korea, was overjoyed that she could be outside all year round —even after she fell from the top of her fig tree and broke her little toe. “Look at all these figs I picked!” she exclaimed, sitting on the ground with her toe swelling up. “Make sure you take all the figs inside and wash them right away, or their juice will attract bugs,” she instructed my father when he deposited her on her bed, shaking his head and going to call the doctor.

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