Excellent Reasons to Eat Eggplant
It’s true, the humble eggplant can do to help you live healthier!! Eggplant is actually a cousin to tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes, and 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 eggplant that feels heavy for their size and have smooth, shiny skins and bright green stems.
Some of its health benefits include;
- Eggplant contains essential phyto nutrients which improve blood circulation and nourish the brain. But remember—these nutrients are concentrated in the skin of the eggplant, so don’t char and throw it away.
- Eggplant is low in calories, with just 35 per cup. It contains no fat and its high fiber content can help you feel full.
- They provide fiber, which protects the digestive tract. In fact, regular intake of eggplants can protect you from colon cancer.
- For centuries, eggplant has been used for controlling and managing diabetes. Modern research validates this role, thanks to the high fiber and low soluble carbohydrate content of the eggplant.
- Eggplants have a role in heart care, too. Research studies show they can lower ‘bad’ cholesterol. But you must cook them the right way to get these benefits. Fried eggplant soaks up a lot of fat, making it harmful and heavy. Instead, bake it at 400 degrees, which brings out glorious flavor and gives you all the goodness an eggplant holds!
- The heart-healthy benefits of eggplant don’t end with limiting cholesterol. Eggplants are high in bioflavonoids, which are known to control high blood pressure and relieve stress.
I cannot tell a lie, I am not a fan of eggplant, not because it tastes bad, there is just something about the texture, however, even I will give it a try if you chop it up and use them in some of these terrific recipes.
Hasselback Eggplant Parmesan
(This is a beautiful dish once cooked, use it for your next dinner party)
1 cup prepared low-sodium marinara sauce
4 small eggplants (about 6 inches long; 1¾ pounds total)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 teaspoons, divided
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced into 12 pieces
¼ cup prepared pesto
½ cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread sauce in a 9-by-13-inch broiler-safe baking dish. Make crosswise cuts every ¼ inch along each eggplant, slicing almost to the bottom but not all the way through. Carefully transfer the eggplants to the baking dish. Gently fan them to open the cuts wider.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil over the eggplants. Fill the cuts alternately with mozzarella and pesto (some cuts may not be filled). Cover with foil.
Bake until the eggplants are very tender, 45 to 55 minutes.
Combine panko, Parmesan and the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a small bowl. Remove the foil and sprinkle the eggplants with the breadcrumb mixture.
Increase the oven temperature to broil. Broil the eggplants on the center rack until the topping is golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Top with basil. Serve with the sauce.
Serves 4, each serving contains: Calories 349, Fat 23 g, Carbohydrates 24 g, Protein 14 g, Cholesterol 25 mg, Sugars 9 g, Calcium 382 mg, Iron 2 mg, Sodium 405 mg, Potassium 530 mg.
Eggplant Veggie Chicken Tortilla Casserole
2 cups chopped eggplant (½-inch)
2 cups chopped onions (½-inch)
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen (thawed)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon pepper, divided
1 pound chicken tenders
2 cups chopped zucchini or squash ( ½-inch)
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 corn tortillas, halved
1¼ cups canned red enchilada sauce, divided
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Cilantro, for garnish
Lime wedges, for serving
Arrange racks in top and bottom third of oven; preheat to 450°F. Coat two rimmed baking sheets and a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Combine eggplant, onions, corn, 1½ tablespoons oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Transfer to one of the prepared baking sheets (reserve the bowl). Roast on the bottom rack for 10 minutes. Combine chicken, zucchini (or squash), garlic and the remaining 1½ tablespoons oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in the reserved bowl. Transfer to the second prepared baking sheet.
Move the baking sheet with the eggplant to the top rack and place the baking sheet with the chicken on the bottom rack. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and all the vegetables are soft and starting to brown, about 15 minutes. Shred the chicken and transfer it along with the vegetables to a large bowl; stir in 1 cup enchilada sauce. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F.
Arrange 6 tortilla halves on the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Top with 1½ cups of the chicken mixture, then ½ cup cheese. Repeat with 3 more layers of tortillas and 2 more layers of the chicken mixture and cheese. Top the top layer of tortillas with the remaining ¼ cup enchilada sauce and ½ cup cheese. Bake until edges are bubbling and cheese is starting to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges, if desired.
Serves 8, each serving contains: Calories 393, Fat 22 g, Carbohydrates 28 g, Protein 24 g, Cholesterol 81 mg, Sugars 5 g, Iron 1 mg, Sodium 370 mg, Potassium 573 mg.
Baked Eggplant Fries with Lemon Dill Dipping Sauce
1 eggplant, cut into strips
1/3 c. plain soy yogurt
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. onion powder
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 c. whole-wheat seasoned breadcrumbs
1 c. plain soy yogurt
1 tsp. dill
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Fresh black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper. Cut the top and bottom off of your eggplant. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and then into quarters. Next, cut the eggplant quarters into slices roughly 1/4 in. thick. Now cut the eggplant slices into strips roughly the size of French fries. Combine yogurt, parsley, garlic powder, paprika, ground cumin, onion powder, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl. Toss eggplant fries in soy yogurt mixture, coating evenly. Place breadcrumbs on a plate and lightly coat eggplant fries with breadcrumbs. Spread out evenly on trays making sure they don’t touch. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Turn halfway during baking to brown evenly. Serve immediately with lemon dill dipping sauce.
Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour to chill and allow flavors to combine.
Yields 6 servings, without the dip each serving contains; Calories 141, Sugar 4.7 g, Fat 1.3 g, Carbohydrates 28 g, Protein 6 g.
Grilled Baby Eggplant with Onion Salsa
1 cup diced seeded tomato
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped white onion
8 small Indian eggplants, halved lengthwise (about 1 pound)
5/8 teaspoon salt, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl; set aside. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
Arrange eggplant halves, cut sides up, on a work surface; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let stand 15 minutes; pat dry with paper towels.
Combine eggplant halves and 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Arrange eggplants on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill 3 minutes on each side or until tender. Remove eggplants from grill; sprinkle evenly with black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Top each eggplant half with about 1 tablespoon tomato mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and red pepper. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
Serves 8, each serving contains: Calories 62, Fat 4.6 g, Carbohydrates 5 g, Protein 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sugars 0 g, Sodium 155 mg.