Auntie Donna’s Eggplant Patties

Technology and social media isn’t all that bad when your family is spread out across the country.  A couple of years ago we created a giant family group on Snapchat to keep in touch. There are 10 cousins, half of which have their own kids, and a few of aunts scattered around. Over time I noticed no one would reply to our very important daily conversations like, how’s the weather? What’s for dinner? What did you do today? (very important questions!) My mom, aunt, oldest cousin Carissa, and I took it upon ourselves to create our very own Snapchat group. We called it the OGs (original ganstas, y’all) cause we’re out here trying to keep things 100, k?

The OGs is where we discuss things like food, what annoys us, cloud formations, work laments, raising kids, and family stories. For our moms, it’s a daily ongoing conversation sitting around Aunt Minnie’s table in Chicago back in the 70s. For my cousin and me, it’s a way to stay connected with the Italian blood that runs through our veins and somehow acquire those family stories through Snapchat osmosis.

What does Snapchat have to do with eggplant? A LOT. And not just the actual food known as eggplant. Buuuut that’s another post for another day on another site though… I digress.

I didn’t grow up eating eggplant. My mom did though. She was raised by a full blooded Italian father and honorary Italian mother. My Nana has roots somewhere in Kentucky but she married into a large Italian family so she took to learning the recipes and never looked back. So we consider that side of our family 100% Italian; not sure the genealogy really checks out that way but that’s just how they did it.

My mom wasn’t big on cooking. The youngest of 5 kids, I would bet my Nana was tired of trying to teach her and if we’re being honest, my mom probably wasn’t a willing participant. That’s where my Auntie Donna comes in. Do you guys still call your aunts “auntie”? I do. When I got married I told my husband he’d better call her Auntie, too. He calls his own aunts by their first names only. This was a big conflict in our marriage – which I won of course. #theItalianway

So back to the eggplant. This week I noticed an eggplant in my farm box. I had never cooked with eggplant before! My mom wasn’t a huge fan and if I go to a restaurant, let’s be honest — I’m not out to eat to try the Eggplant Parmesan. So I threw it out to the OGs — any good eggplant recipes??

And this is how this deliciousness was born. This ooey gooey crispy goodness gives major meatball vibes without the meat and without the fat. You could easily make these totally vegan with some nutritional yeast. But if you do that, please keep it between us. I don’t need to go around uttering words like “vegan” “nooch” or “kombucha” around my Italian aunt.

The process is the same as making meatballs. I was born knowing this because I’m part Italian, in case you didn’t know, BUT if you weren’t born knowing what goes into meatballs it looks a lot like this:




Breadcrumbs (pre-seasoned or season em up on your own!).


Throw it all in a bowl and mix with whatever vehicle you’re using. In this case it’s some mashed up eggplant that was previously chopped and boiled.

Form into patties then fry in oil. Done.


By the way, please don’t tell my Auntie that I made this with zoodles and a pre-made jar of pasta sauce. Zucchini noodles are definitely not on her menu.


Instead of breaking this down into a formal recipe for you to follow, I will allow you to have the full experience of learning any recipe from an Italian. Below is the only instruction I got.

So that’s all you’ll get.

Just start adding stuff together until it looks right and fry it.

It’s the Italian way.


Auntie Donna’s Eggplant Patties





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