Recipe Monday: Miner’s Lettuce & Eggplant-Chickpea Balls

Posted by – June 20, 2016
Categories: Food & Nutrition

Did you know there are many forgotten, rare, and hardly known lettuce greens? These are completely edible and delicious plants that we often write off as weeds—but they’re not! Many can be found on a hike, right in your yard, and possibly even in your garden.

One of my favorites—which is easily found in California—is miner’s lettuce (or Claytonia perfoliata). These greens are rich in vitamin C as well as appreciable amounts of magnesium, calcium, and iron. This plant got its name from the California Gold Rush miners who ate it (many didn’t find much gold and rather needed to eat).

Below we’ve shared a recipe that uses these greens from our newly-released book, A Curious History of Vegetables. In this book is forgotten, rare, and hardly known information about various edible plants. Alongside these fascinating histories and lore are expert gardening tips and recipes for common and rare veggies!

miner's lettuceMiner’s Lettuce & Eggplant-Chickpea Balls with Rosemary-Garlic Oil

Makes 4 servings

  • 4 twigs rosemary, leaves removed from stems and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons blueberry vinegar
  • Herbal salt
  • 2 eggplants
  • 1 cup chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 pinch chili powder
  • Pepper
  • ¾ cup miner’s lettuce leaves

Rosemary-Garlic Oil

In a small pan, sauté the rosemary and garlic gently in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil for about 5 minutes or until well done but not brown. Let cool. Put the vinegar and remaining olive oil in a small serving bowl. Add the rosemary and garlic. Season with herbal salt to taste.

Eggplant-Chickpea Balls

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick the eggplants all around with a fork and bake at 400°F for 1 hour or until the skin is completely shriveled. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl. Peel the skin off the eggplant and add the flesh to the chickpeas and mix well with a fork. Season with the coriander, paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Spread the miner’s lettuce evenly on a plate or clean flat surface. Make small balls (about the size of a golf ball) of the eggplant chickpea pulp and roll in the miner’s lettuce leaves. Arrange the balls on a platter and serve with the rosemary-garlic oil.

Tags: Recipe Vegetarian & Vegan Wolf Storl

About the Author

Maren began her publishing career as an intern at Counterpoint and Soft Skull Press, where she stayed on for more than four years as a publicist and web coordinator. She joined the NAB team in 2015 and is still stoked about it—she gets to read her Rob Brezsny horoscope (Scorpio)​ before anyone else! Maren lives in Oakland with a monstrous Maine Coon and spends the majority of her spare time convincing him to not eat all of her houseplants. Sometimes she has time to write, paint things, garden, or repair furniture.​