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Gluten-free, baby led weaning friendly, vegetarian, vegan option given

It’s finally summer, the season of all those vibrant and aromatic fruits and vegetables. Eggplant is a controversial vegetable in our household. I love it but the rest of the family is not a huge fan of it. Through my dishes, I’m trying to expose the kids to eggplant’s rich flavor and those baked eggplant cakes were a huge hit with both kids. Yes, you read it right! Even baby E ate and she loved them as this recipe is totally baby friendly and great for baby led weaning.

What you will need ans substitutions

  • Vegetables: eggplant and onion. Definitely the star of the show is the eggplant. I love its rich taste and I wanted to shine so I didn’t cover it with lots of other vegetables.
  • Chickpeas. I soaked, boiled, and drained the chickpeas. And I measured this after the whole process. Of course, if this process is long for you, feel free to use canned chickpeas.
  • Binding agent: almond flour, oat flour, egg. I used a combination of almond flour and oat flour as I feel that this gives the best taste and texture. If you want to keep this vegetarian, you can substitute the egg with a flex egg and this should work just fine.
  • Cheese. I used feta cheese. If you are serving to a baby I would suggest to put feta under running water for several minutes to reduce salt. Alternatively you can use any low sodium yellow cheese of your liking (like mozzarella or even cheddar) which you can freshly shred with your box shredder. If you want to keep this vegan you can substitute with nutritional yeast. I would suggest putting a little less amount though.
  • Hemp seeds. I added hemp seeds for extra Omega 3s. You can just omit or use any other nuts or seeds that you want. Just make sure that you crush them before you add them to the mixture.
  • Aromatics: mint, parsley, oregano.

How I served it

Panos chosen his bamboo unicorn plate* this time for himself and the elephant for his little sister. On their plates I served:

  • Warm baked eggplant cakes
  • Grape tomatoes cut appropriately for kids’ age
  • Cucumber stars, cut with our star veggie cutter*
  • Aromatic yogurt and avocado dip for dipping the eggplant cakes. The flavors of the cakes and the dip together are a great combination.

For the aromatic and yogurt dip you will need to mix all the ingredients below in a mixing bowl.

Ingredients

  • ½ avocado

  • 6oz (170.1 grams) full fat Greek yogurt

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped mint

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tips and how to store

  1. In case those aromatic baked eggplant cakes survive, you can store them in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
  2. They freeze beautifully as well. You can bake them, cool them down, and store them in a freezer bag lying flat making sure that they don’t touch each other. When you are ready to enjoy them, take them out of the freezer and defrost them overnight in your fridge or in your microwave.
  3. If you don’t want to wait for the eggplant cakes to bake, you can cook them in the stovetop. Just heat up a little avocado oil or ghee and fry them for 5 min on both sides. They are equally delicious!
  4. You can enjoy those warm out of the oven or at room temperature. In both cases they are delicious.
  5. Those baked eggplant cakes are great for snack on the go, packed lunch for school, or a picnic.

Baked eggplant cakes

Recipe by Panos EatsCourse: MainDifficulty: Easy
Servings

18

cakes
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants (~ 12oz (340.19 grams)), cut in small chunks

  • 1 small onion (~ 4oz (113.4 grams)), diced

  • 1 cup boiled and drained chickpeas

  • ¾ cup almond flour

  • ¾ cup oat flour

  • 6oz (170.1 grams) feta cheese, crumbled

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds

  • (Optionally) 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

  • (Optionally) 2 tbsp mint, finely chopped

  • 1 tsp oregano

  • pepper to taste

  • 3-4 tbsp oil (avocado, coconut or ghee)

Directions

  • Preheat your oven at 370F (187.78 degrees Celsius) and line a sheet tray with parchment paper
  • In a sauce pan, warm up the oil over medium heat and saute the onion until translucent
  • Add the eggplant chunks, stir well, cover and cook over low to medium heat until fork tender for about 10 min
  • Once eggplant is ready, blend with a stand blender or immersive blender the onion-eggplant mixture along with the chickpeas. Blend until chunky, don’t fully blend until puree
  • In a mixing bowl, add the eggplant mixture and add the rest of the ingredients and mix well
  • Form small flat cakes with a spoon (or ice cream scoop) and place in the lined sheet tray. The mixture is very sticky, you will not be able to do it by hand
  • Bake for 30 min, flip and bake for 10 more or until golden brown

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