What’s in Season…Eggplant

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What’s in Season…Eggplant

Eggplant a cousin to tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes, gets its name from the first varieties of its kind, which were white, round, and egg-size. But now you can find eggplant in green and the most common, deep purple. Eggplant is generally available year round but at your local Farmers Market you will most likely find it beginning in July and almost into October in some cases. When purchasing, look for eggplants that feel heavy for their size and have smooth, shiny skins and bright green stems. Here are some new and different ways to enjoy your eggplant.

Penne Pasta with Sausage, Eggplant and Feta

4 1/2 cups cubed peeled eggplant (about 1 pound)

1/2 pound bulk pork breakfast sausage

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

6 cups hot cooked penne (about 10 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta)

1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Cook eggplant, sausage, and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until sausage is browned and eggplant is tender. Add tomato paste and the next 3 ingredients (through tomatoes); cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place pasta in a large bowl. Add tomato mixture, cheese, and parsley; toss well.

Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 535, Fat 18.9g, Protein 25.5g, Carbohydrate 67.5g,

Fiber 4.6g, Cholesterol 57mg, Iron 4.5mg, Sodium 884mg.

Healthier Eggplant Parmesan


2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon water

2 cups whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 (1-pound) eggplants, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices

Cooking spray


1/2 cup torn fresh basil

1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 (16-ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Remaining ingredients:

1 (24-ounce) jar premium pasta sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 ounces thinly sliced mozzarella cheese

3/4 cup (3 ounces) finely grated provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 375°. To make eggplant, combine 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon water in a shallow dish. Combine panko and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano in a second shallow dish. Dip eggplant in egg mixture; dredge in panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere and shaking off excess. Place eggplant 1 inch apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden, turning once and rotating baking sheets after 15 minutes.

To make filling, combine basil and next 6 ingredients (through egg).

To assemble, spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of eggplant slices over pasta sauce. Sprinkle eggplant with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Top with about 3/4 cup pasta sauce; spread half of ricotta mixture over sauce, and top with a third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup provolone. Repeat layers once, ending with about 1 cup pasta sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes. Remove foil; top with remaining third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup provolone. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese melts; cool 10 minutes.

Serves 10, each serving contains; Calories 318, Fat 15.1g, Protein 19.3g, Carbohydrate 26.8g,

Fiber 4.8g, Cholesterol 99mg, Sodium 655mg.

Eggplant with Capers and Peppers

1 medium eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds)

1 medium red bell pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

3 tablespoons capers

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat broiler. Pierce eggplant several times with a fork; place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 30 minutes or until blackened, turning frequently. Cool eggplant slightly; peel and chop.

Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and chop.

Combine eggplant, bell pepper, onion, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; toss well.

Serves 8, each serving contains; Calories 43, Fat 2g, Protein 1.2,g Carbohydrate 6.6g, Fiber 3.1g,

Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 172mg.

Grilled Eggplant and Yogurt Dip

1 pound eggplants, preferably a smaller variety

1 medium minced fresh onion, divided

3 minced garlic cloves, divided

1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (or parsley)

Preheat a gas grill (or the broiler); the rack should be no more than 4 inches from the heat source. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise up to the stem, but do not cut through, so the eggplants open like a book. Spread about 2/3 of the onion and garlic between the eggplant halves, and press the two sides back together.

Grill the eggplants, turning once or twice, until they are blackened and collapsed, 10-15 minutes. Don’t worry if the skins burn a bit.

Meanwhile, mix the remaining onion and garlic with the yogurt; then season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne.

When cooked, let the eggplants cool a bit, then peel off the skins and let cool further. Roughly chop the eggplants, reserving any juices, then mix with the yogurt dressing. Chill if time allows, or just serve at room temperature; garnish with mint or parsley.

Yields 12 servings, each serving contains; Calories 34, Fat 1g, Protein 2g, Carbohydrates 6g, Fiber 1g, Sodium 46 m.

Written By

Photo of Tammy Kelly, Ed. DTammy Kelly, Ed. DCounty Extension Director (252) 527-2191 (Office) tammy_kelly@ncsu.eduLenoir County, North Carolina
Updated on Sep 4, 2014
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