Celebration of Community and Invitation to Join + Vegan Eggplant Appetizer

Let out a deep sigh of relief, because we made it through the long, hot summer and into October! Isn’t it exciting?! I love the beginning of seasons. It feels fresh, new, and homey. This month also marks a full year since Ashley joined the Mary Lee Kitchen team. Her desire and passion for food and faith was present in every conversation, making her a natural fit to write for the team. Ashley, thank you for pushing me, helping us stay organized, encouraging me, and continuing to set a higher bar for Mary Lee Kitchen!Eggplant AppetizerAshley has been one of my closest friends for the past five years and has walked side by side with me through my food allergies, figuring out dating, marriage, and the challenges that happen in your twenties. She and her husband are a part of my community and I am so grateful for that.

My community is a group of a dozen friends that I spend time with around dinner every week. They are a vital part of life, but it took me a long time to understand that. “No man is an island,” says John Donne. We are not born to live on this land alone.Eggplant Appetizer 6This past year has been one of the hardest years that my husband, Victor,  and I have gone through since being married. I tell you this because if we did not have our community to walk with during this year, I don’t know where I would be.  There are moments where I get tired of my community, not because I don’t love them, but because being a part of a community takes work and I don’t always have the energy.

However, without my community, my dreams would not be a reality. I would still be sitting in my bed crying about my life purpose, which I still do at times, but with community there are less days. Community comes and goes, but at the center of all of it is food, drink, and a desire to be known by other individuals.Eggplant AppetizerI am grateful for the community that I have had growing up, throughout college and others seasons of my life, and the community I have now. The simple act of inviting great people over for dinner on a regular basis can be the foundation of a loving, supportive community. At Mary Lee Kitchen we want to help you create or include people with allergies into your communities. For all of these reasons, Mary Lee Kitchen is so excited to announce our online community! Beginning now, you may enter a recipe that is sensitive to a variety of food allergies, along with a final picture of the recipe and signed waiver. Beginning in November, we will begin sharing your recipes on the Mary Lee Kitchen blog to create a virtual community that is more widely inclusive for people with food allergies and dietary restrictions.Eggplant AppetizerThere will be some bumps that we face as we begin, but please consider being a part of the Mary Lee Kitchen Community, because we want to welcome all people to the table. Enter your recipes here!

NOW…Let’s begin this month with an eggplant appetizer, in celebration of Vegan Month!

Eggplant Appetizer

Vegan Eggplant Appetizers + Tahini Toppings
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 40
  • 3 Eggplants (preferably long and thin)
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • ¼ C Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • ⅓ C. Organic Tahini (found at Whole Foods)
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice (1 whole lemon)
  • 2 Tbsp Freshly chopped Basil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Feta Cheese (use a soy cheese or make this optional)
  1. Wash and dry eggplant, then slice ¼” slices. Place them in a bowl and cover with Kosher salt. Let them sit for 1-2 hours. Preheat oven to 375℉. Strain out excess water, and then rinse. Pat dry.
  2. Place a cooling rack into a jellyroll pan or baking sheet, this will help both sides of the eggplant cook. Roast for 35 minutes.
  3. While roasting, in a blender combine: tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic cloves, and 1 Tbsp of Basil together. Slowly pour in the olive oil, while blender is going.
  4. Remove the eggplant and top each slice with a dollop of tahini sauce. Top with basil and feta cheese (optional).






About the Author:

A native Texan who, after being diagnosed with food allergies and Celiac Disease in her mid-twenties, wanted to help others who drastically had to change their diets later in life. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband, where she operates Mary Lee Kitchen.

One Comment

  1. […] the meal I described above, but it is also a staple in many Mediterranean dishes. Elizabeth made an eggplant appetizer with Mediterranean flavors for this blog back in October of last […]

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