Eggplant!

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The Healthy and Versatile Eggplant

It’s that wonderful time in summer when eggplants, in their many shapes and colors have taken over more than a few tables at the farmer’s market. While eggplant is readily available throughout the year, its peak season is right now, from early August through October.

From choosing the right fruit (yes, eggplant is a fruit!), to storing it and of course, eating it, here’s everything you need to know about eggplant! Along with tomatoes, sweet peppers, and potatoes, eggplant is a member of the nightshade family. There was a time when it was thought that raw eggplant was poisonous, but that’s not the case.

When eaten raw, eggplant has a somewhat bitter, but pleasant taste and spongy texture. Once cooked, though, the taste becomes milder and a bit richer. It also takes on a soft, creamy texture.

Eggplant can be used in a variety of recipes and blends well with lots of vegetables and spices.

Not only is the eggplant abundant, and very versatile, it is known for being low in calories, high in fiber, and great for digestion and blood circulation. Give some of these yummy recipes a try!!

Simple and Easy Oven Roasted Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplant
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (in a pinch I use non-stick spray).
  2. Cut eggplant into large cubes (about ½ inch). Place in a large bowl, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Toss well, spread on pan, roast 20 minutes. Turn and roast for an additional 10 minutes. Edges should be caramelized; insides should be soft. Cool and transfer to a plate.

Parmesan Eggplant Bake

Ingredients

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a deep 9×9-inch baking dish or a similar-sized casserole dish, with non-stick spray.
  2. Cut zucchini into ½ inch slices and place in a large mixing bowl, each piece should be about ½ inch cube. Slice the eggplant into ¼ inch thick rounds, stack the rounds and cut into ¾ inch piece cubes. Add to the bowl with the zucchini. Halve the cherry tomatoes and add them to the bowl. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, then add the garlic, salt, pepper, 1/3 cup of cheese, and half of the basil. Toss to combine.
  3. Transfer the vegetables to the prepared baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, cover the pan with foil, then bake an additional 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and basil.

Serves 6, as a side dish.

Twice Baked Eggplant

(a healthy twist on the twice baked potato)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup chopped onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used shredded)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh oregano (or dried)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the stem off of the eggplant and cut in half lengthwise.
  2. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Place cut side up on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
  3. Reduce oven heat to 350°F.
  4. Once eggplant cools, scoop out the insides, cut them into cubes. Keep skin intact.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the eggplant cubes and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, mix together cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, basil, a pinch of salt, pepper and egg. Stir in the eggplant/onion mixture. Spoon into the eggplant shells and transfer to a lightly buttered baking dish.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes in a 350°F oven. Sooo creamy and delicious!!

Eggplant Pizza Bites

Ingredients

(Low carb recipe)

  • 1 large narrow eggplant, cut into ¼ inch thick rounds
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1 cup low sugar pizza or marinara sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Additional toppings as desired, often I will add turkey pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, etc.)

Directions

  1. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt, let sit on paper towels for 10-15 minutes and wipe dry. This will draw out the additional moisture,
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl combine the garlic, olive oil, and Italian seasoning. Brush the mixture onto both sides of the eggplant rounds and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove eggplant from oven and flip the slices, top each slice with a tablespoon of the pizza or marinara sauce, (add any other toppings here), and sprinkle of the cheese., Return to the oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is fully melted (adjust time to cook additional toppings if added).

Serves 4.

 

One-Pot Eggplant Curry

(Totally vegetarian)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants, cubed
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons yellow curry paste
  • 1 14 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil to medium, add onions, garlic, bell pepper, and eggplant, and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  2. Slowly add coconut milk and curry paste to the mix, and season with salt, pepper, and cumin.
  3. Place a lid on the pot, stir occasionally, and cook for around 15 minutes. Eggplant should be cooked through but not mushy. Serve in bowls over rice.

Yields 4 servings.