Eggplant. Gross, right? Before you close this webpage and run screaming in the other direction, hear me out. Eggplant is actually an amazing addition to your vegan meal plan. Not only is it rich in essential vitamins and minerals, eggplant also packs an impressive amount of fiber. Plus, it’s even been shown to be effective in controlling high cholesterol.
Okay, but does it taste good? And what about that funky sponge-like texture? Admittedly, eggplant does feel really weird to the touch before it’s been cooked. However, when it’s sautéed or baked, eggplant takes on a surprising meat-like consistency – similar to a portabella mushroom.
If you’re gluten-free or trying to cut back on carbohydrates, eggplant holds up wonderfully as a stand in for pizza crust and bread. Eggplant also goes great in fall soups or diced and mixed into an Asian stir-fry. You can get it at the supermarket year round, but eggplant is at its best from August through October when it’s in season.
As you can see, eggplant is extremely versatile and the options are practically endless. If you’ve never tried this purple beauty before, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why we’ve picked two of our favorite recipes to get you started.
Eggplant, Caramelized Onion and Tomato Pasta
Adapted From: Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters
- 1 large eggplant
- olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced (about 2 cups sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 handful basil leaves, chiffonade or chopped
- 1 handful parsley leaves, chopped
- kosher salt
- 1 lb. penne
- sherry vinegar
- 2 cups tomato sauce (You can use store bought or make this one)
- red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the eggplants into cubes, about 3/4 inch, toss with a little olive oil and spread them out in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast for 25 minutes or until the eggplant is just browned.
- Start boiling the water for the pasta. When the water is ready, cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- While the eggplant and pasta is cooking, heat a large sauté pan with the olive oil and onions over medium heat. Sauté the onions until caramelized. If you haven’t caramelized onions before, check out this post. Once they’re nice and brown, add the garlic and cook for just a minute, and then add a splash or two of sherry vinegar to the pan. Add the eggplant, tomato sauce, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Heat the sauce to simmering. Drain the pasta, add it to the tomato sauce pan, and toss gently. Finally, add the basil and half the parsely to the pan.
- Serve the pasta with a little sprinkle of the chopped parseley.
Thai Basil Eggplant
From: Vegetarian Gastronomy
- 1 large Italian eggplant
- 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 white onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 14-oz. block firm tofu
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Fresh basil leaves
- Vegetable oil
For the sauce:
- 4 1/2 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1-2 teaspoons chili sauce
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
Click here for detailed instructions from Vegan Gastronomy.
Vegan Eggplant Pizzas
From: Oatmeal with a Fork
Serves: 12 “pizzas”
- 1 large eggplant, sliced into ½ inch rounds
- Cooking spray
- Toppings of your choice
Click here for detailed instructions from Oatmeal with a Fork.