Aubergine plantballs

Aubergine plantballs

Irresistible plant-balls made with aubergine and black olives. It’s a very simple recipe pleasing children and adult-alike. Serve my plantballs with tomato sauce and your favourite carb – rice, pasta, bread, you name it.

I used to be obsessed with Leon meatless balls. They served them on brown rice with a dash of tomato sauce. It was a mouth explosion at the first bite. I ordered them all the time with the excuse that I wanted to understand how they were made so to replicate them at home. Aubergine, breadcrumbs, and what else? One day they took them out of the menu! Trying to recover from the shock, I decided it was time for me to experiment in the kitchen.

My friend Google helped me to detect the missing ingredients, apparently I wasn’t the only one grieving the Leon’s change of menu. Black olives that was the secret! How I couldn’t realise that they were one of the ingredients!

Since then I have been making these plantballs over and over again, serving them with rice, pasta, wraps or even on their own straight from the fridge. I loooooove them.

Over the years I have changed them slightly, adding a bit of oregano and onion. I am so excited to share my simple recipe with you. It is really an effortless meal, but you got to be patient with the aubergines.

We talked about this here with miso aubergines but I strongly believe that people who hate aubergines is simply because they haven’t properly cooked them. Aubergines can be mischievous! We might think they are ready after 8 minutes, but boy we are wrong! Keep cooking them till they are mushy and have completely changed colour from white to deep brown-purple. Then we can continue our conversation and start an ode to the aubergine.

Another trick to perfectly cook the aubergines? Dice them very very finely and pan fry them without any oil! It sounds mad but it actually works. Aubergines cook much more quickly and they are even more delicious. I want to thank another friend (Tiktok) for teaching me this trick.

It’s been a while since I have shared in my beloved blog a proper post. The truth is I kind of lacked the inspiration for writing. My appetite never diminished so I kept cooking but when it came to writing I felt words were simply not coming out of my head.

What’s going on?

Summer is now in full swing, and I can feel the passage of season in my bones – I am an old lady, ain’t I!

For a start, I feel constantly completely exhausted – I hope it’s just not me, tell me in the comments if you are also falling asleep fast nowadays. I am ‘a little’ paranoid and quickly thought to have all possible diseases in the world, tested twice for Covid just in case. But it turns out it’s all just for very simple reasons. My blood is turning British and it seems I can’t face heat above 25 degrees! As soon as the thermometer goes up, I am down. I love the sun, but really struggle with my hot tiny London flat and crammed London tube. As soon as summer heats, I just want to stay outside, lying flat in the shades of a tree, eating ice-cream all day long.

Secondly, I feel life is beginning again and it’s difficult to dissect these emotions and put them down to paper (or the internet hehe) while it’s all happening. Picnics, walks, drinks, gigs, holidays are finally here! And what about after summer? I have nothing, zero, nada planned after August and my control-freak mind is losing it! I have put no thought in Autumn and feel restless. The weather is so nice that I even started running again. The sun is also out till late and I feel I need to savour every moment….all while still fighting my complete tiredness.

So, here I am, juggling this paradox of feeling exhausted and excited at the same time.  Isn’t this what summer is all about? The weight of winter still on our shoulders while our eyes full of sunshine and blue skies.

Today I decided to stop fighting my juggling act. I’ll live how I feel, resting when needed, running when I want to. Today I am going back to pen and paper (or more likely keyboard and internet) leaving here my confused thoughts (you’re welcome). I’ll then rush to the kitchen and make my favourite plantballs with lots of tomato sauce again. And then I’ll do nothing for the rest of the day.

Yes, this is what summer is all about: fresh aubergines sizzling in the pan and long, sweet naps taken at the park.

Aubergine plantballs

Course: Mains


Prep time


Cooking time



Irresistible plant-balls made with aubergine and black olives. It’s a very simple recipe pleasing children and adult-alike. Serve my plantballs with tomato sauce and your favourite carb – rice, pasta, bread, you name it.


  • 1 aubergine

  • 1 medium onion

  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves depending on how much you like garlic

  • 3 spoons of extra-virgin olive oil

  • 100 g pitted black olives

  • 400 g chickpeas

  • 50 g breadcrumbs

  • Zest and juice of an unwaxed lemon

  • 1 spoon of oregano

  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

  • 1 spoon of tomato paste

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • To serve
  • 220 g brown rice

  • Half a small onion or 1 shallot

  • 1 spoon of oregano or a few basil leaves

  • 300 ml excellent passata (tomato sauce with no condiments)

  • Fine sea salt to taste


  • Chop all the veggies
  • Cook the aubergine, onions and cloves for 15 minutes with extra-virgin olive oil
  • Transfer them to a food processor and blend with the rest of the ingredients. Add more breadcrumbs if the mix is not solid enough.
  • Scoop out the delicious mixture and form 35 tiny plantballs. Transfer them to a baking tin and shower them in oil. Bake them for 20 minutes at 200 C
  • While you wait for your fantastic plantballs, chop a small onion or a shallot and let it fry for 2 minutes with a spoon of oil. Now add the chopped tomatoes and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Add some oregano before turning off the stove.
  • Boil some brown rice following the pack instruction.
  • Plate it up: first the rice, second the sauce, third plantballs and a few basil leaves for a chef kiss D E L I C I O U S!

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