Eggplant is one of those healthy foods we often overlook because we just don’t know what to do with it. When we think of eggplant, we usually think of deep fried. Because it has a tendency to be dry, it soaks up more oil than most fried foods, so fried eggplant is especially full of unhealthy saturated fats. Without all that oil however, we can get the healthy benefits of its high fiber content and vitamins including C, K, and B6 and minerals including potassium, magnesium and copper. Below are three family favorites in my house using eggplant: 1) an appetizer; 2) a side dish; and 3) a main dish.
Baked Eggplant Bruschetta (appetizer)
- 1 medium sized eggplant, sliced
- 1 -2 lg. garlic cloves, minced
- 4 T extra virgin olive oil
- 6 large tomatoes, peeled, and chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup minced fresh basil leaves
- 1 – 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Slice the eggplant and place slices in cool water to soak for about 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil
- Mix the bruschetta:
- Heat the garlic over medium heat.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, and vinegar. Stir in the basil.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Drain the eggplant and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Arrange the eggplant slices on the baking sheet and spoon the bruschetta mixture on top.
- Place in the oven and bake approximately 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve warm.
Japanese Miso Eggplant (side dish)
- 1 medium sized eggplant
- ┬╝ cup water or chicken broth
- 1 – 2 T miso
- 1/8 cup soy sauce
- 1/8 cup sake (cooking wine)
- 2 – 4 T sugar
Slice the eggplant (about 1/4 inch thick)
Soak eggplant slices in cool water and set aside while you prepare the miso sauce
In a small pan over medium heat, mix the water or chicken broth, miso, sake, soy sauce, and sugar. Bring to a boil and taste. Add more sugar if desired. Turn heat down to low and simmer.
Drain the eggplant slices and place in a medium sized sauce pan. Pour miso mixture over the top and simmer for about 30 – 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot steamed rice. According to Nutshell Nutrition, this combine healthy meal is highly recommended as it contains wide variety of nutrients that our body needs.
Roasted Eggplant with Buckwheat Noodles (main dish)
- 1 medium sized eggplant
- 1 pkg. Japanese soba noodles
- Sesame or peanut oil
- Salt, pepper, and chili powder (to taste)
- 2 T ground sesame seeds
- 2 – 4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
- 3 – 4 T rice vinegar
- 3 – 4 T soy sauce
- 1 – 2 T fresh grated ginger, or ┬╜ t. powdered ginger
- 2 – 3 T sugar
- 5 – 6 carrots, grated or Julianne sliced
- Cilantro and cucumber for finishing garnish
Roast the eggplant: slice it in half lengthwise and place under broiler, skins facing up, until skin is black and crispy (about 12 minutes).
Cook the soba noodles according to directions on the package. When done, drain and place in a bowl with cool water until ready to use.
In a small mixing bowl, blend crushed garlic, salt, pepper, chili, and ginger. Add vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and 1 T oil.
Take the eggplant out of the oven and peel skin when cooled. Throw the skin away. Chop the eggplant to a chunky pulp.
Drain the soba noodles and place in a large serving bowl. Mix in the eggplant and toss well to cover all the noodles. Add the grated carrots and sesame seeds. Finally, add the dressing and toss well.
Serve in large pasta bowls and garnish with a slice of cucumber and a sprig of fresh cilantro.