Eggplants are filled with nutritional benefits, but not many people have an eggplant recipe in their regular rotation. Whether you call them eggplants, aubergines, or just “the big purple one,” eggplants are a savory fruit with numerous health benefits.
With 3 simple eggplant recipes in hand, you’ll have broader options available in your healthy lifestyle. Keep your options open and healthy. Here is why eggplants are so important to your diet.
When you eat eggplants, you’re getting fiber, copper, vitamin B1, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin B3, vitamin K, folate, and phytonutrients for powerful antioxidants.
One great benefit of eggplants is that they contain nasunin. This remarkable antioxidant doesn’t just protect the body from free radicals, it’s a scavenger of them, meaning that they go out and seek these harmful elements and attack them.
They are proven to protect against lipid peroxidation, effectively protecting your cells from degradation.
If you’re growing eggplants, their harvesting season is between August and October. They’re typically available in markets year-round, but you might find that they’re best when purchased during their growing season. This can affect the taste of your eggplant and the results of these recipes.
The following list of easy eggplant recipes gives you several great options for adding eggplant to your diet.
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 lb. firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 scallions, sliced, and separate white and green portions
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red serrano or jalapeno pepper, sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Prepare the rice.
In a small bowl, whisk hoisin sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch and set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the tofu for 8-10 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add remaining oil to skillet and now begin cooking the eggplant, white parts of scallions, garlic, pepper, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook, tossing frequently to thoroughly coat the eggplant. After cooking for about 8 to 10 minutes, add the hoisin mixture, tofu, and the green part of the scallions, then cook a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens. Serve with rice and sprinkle with fresh basil.
Because it’s stir fry, this recipe is fairly easy to customize. Add your favorite vegetables to the mixture by putting them in with the eggplant and cooking them all together.
If you do add a lot of vegetables, you may find that you’ve increased the serving size, and, as a result, you’ll need to make more of the sauce.
If you love eggplant parm, then this twist on the classic will leave you delighted. By pre-baking the eggplant planks first, you create your “roll-up” and then you cook just like you would a pasta casserole.
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large eggplants sliced lengthwise (try to get 16 slices)
Salt and pepper
1.5 cups marinara sauce
2 large eggs
1 15-ounce container of ricotta
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 cups grated mozzarella, 8oz total
1/2 cup grated parmesan, 1.5-oz total
Preheat oven to 450°. Divide oil between 2 baking sheets with sides. Divide eggplant slices between the baking sheets. Rub in oil and flip to get both sides of each slice coated. Season with salt and pepper.
Bake the eggplant slices, rotating the sheets and flipping the slices halfway through for even cooking. After 12-15 minutes the eggplants should be softened and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and drop oven temperature to 400°. Let the eggplants cool.
In a 9x13” pan, spread 1/2 cup of marinara. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, ricotta, oregano, one cup mozzarella and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Place 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on one end of an eggplant slice and roll-up. Transfer this to your prepared baking sheet. Repeat for all eggplant slices.
Top baking dish full of eggplant roll-ups with remaining marinara and mozzarella, then sprinkle with parmesan. Bake until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. This is typically about 20-25 minutes.
This recipe features bulgur wheat in addition to the healthy eggplant. Bulgur is a quick addition to any meal because it cooks up fast. This whole-grain food also adds ever-important fiber, protein, iron, and vitamin B6.
1 cup bulgur wheat
1 eggplant, thinly sliced
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. cherry tomatoes halved
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 cup basil leaves, torn
Heat your broiler. Cook the bulgur according to package directions. Arrange eggplant slices on 2 baking sheets and brush with 3 tablespoons of oil. Broil until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Transfer the eggplant to a large bowl and stir in the tomatoes, vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir and fold in the basil. Transfer bulgur to a large bowl, add eggplant mixture and serve.
The Bottom Line
These three eggplant recipes give you some ways to add healthy eggplants to your diet. Not only do eggplants give you a lot of nutritional benefits and powerful antioxidants, but they’re also great for people who are looking for meat alternatives.
With this in mind, how many of your other tried and true recipes can you alter to remove the meat element and substitute eggplant? Or can you simply add some eggplant to your favorites to give them a little more depth of flavor?
Once you know how to cook eggplant and how delicious it is, it’s easy to make it a regular menu item in your kitchen.