10 ways with Eggplant 🍆
Aug 09, 2022
😝More than just a cheeky emoji 🍆, the eggplant is so immensely versatile with a plethora of recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. During late winter through to early Spring eggplants are in season and abundant. It's the perfect timing for these cooler days and frosty evenings.
What about you, do you love eggplant, or are you not so keen on this misunderstood veg?
This post has been inspired by my lovely niece Sophie, who at the age of 8, many years ago, bravely tried eggplant when she came to visit me. The trouble was, I was pretty new to cooking this beautiful veg, and to be honest it was dry and chewy and totally put her off for life 😥
I've vowed to Sophie that I'd spend the rest of my life trying to find a way for her to enjoy eggplant again so thought I'd share my favourite recipe ideas I've been mastering and a few that I'm super keen to try, when she is ready to give it another go!
Let's have a quick chat about salting eggplant first.....For some of these recipes I salt it first but mostly, 9 out of ten times, I don't.... Love your thoughts on this? Do you always salt eggplant before use?
1. Roasted Eggplant Salad
This is my go to tray bake weekly when eggplant is in season. Cubed eggplant and pumpkin together with a light spray of olive oil, roasted for around 20 mins. I then bag these into my little salad sized serves and either leave in the fridge or freeze for later in the week.
I love mixing this combo through quinoa with roasted beets, rocket, baby spinach and goats cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and you have an instant, high protein crowd pleaser! Perfect on it's on or as a side.
2. Eggplant Pizzas
Friday night is pizza night at our place! We order some yummy bases for Mick and Alex from the Bread Eaters Association - they do sourdough or a rice buck (GF) variety, and I make my own Cauliflower or Broccoli Pizza Base as I'm mostly carb free. You can use those little tray bake bags of roast veg on your pizza, or lightly grill some slices on the BBQ or in the pan. I'd probably salt these just so they keep some firmness on the pizza, but honestly, if I'm tired on a Friday night, I probably wouldn't worry about it 😝.
3. Hidden eggplant ideas
Ever since Alex was little, she had some fairly insurmountable food sensory issues. We tried everything including a great program called Food School which helped a little. Thankfully over time and with a lot of patience, things have eased, but there is still no way she would actively eat eggplant if it was on the plate.... So, (sorry Alex), I hide it in a few different dishes :) Mostly I'll do a sneaky hidden veg mix in our bolognaise and lasagne of carrots, zucchini, eggplant and mushies, but you can also peel it and blitz it in the thermomix to hide it in less tomato based sauces and meals. Experiment at your discretion :)
4. Eggplant Lasagne
We love to do a big batch of lasagne once a week or fortnight and then portion it up for lunches in the freezer. It's pretty easy to sub out lasagne sheets for eggplant slices for those avoiding pasta/carbs. I simply slice around 1/2 a cm thick (trust me, my knife skills are terrible so the thickness varies a lot). I then dry roast these in the over for about 10 or so minutes just to take some moisture out. Again you could salt these and leave them to rest to draw out the moisture but I find it less fiddly to dry roast them. I then make two thirds of the lasagne as usual pasta sheets, and the final third with eggplant instead. Yum!
5. Caponata or Ratatouille
You can whip up a pretty quick Caponata or Ratatouille in the Thermomix or stovetop usually in under 30 Minutes. I love the Caponata with Olives and Capers as it's a bit less tomatoey/sweet. A great go to side for breakfast with eggs, on some toasted sourdough for dinner (try some crumbled feta on top). It's also just a yummy nourishing dish on its own for dinner too.
6. Baba Ganoush
Smoky eggplant paired with tahini and lemon 😍 divine! There's lots of recipes around for this dip, but a good one to try is from the Minimalist Baker- Simple Baba Ganoush
7. Eggplant Parmigiana
This one is on my to do list. Jo Whitton from Quirky Cooking has the most amazing recipe in her Life Changing Food cookbook which I have at home, but its a lengthy recipe so I'm yet to give it a go! It incorporates all the good stuff like fried eggplant, a tomato sauce and the most nourishing white sauce with almond meal, eggs and all the yummy things.
8. Curry with eggplant
Every Friday we used to have a team lunch and I'd make a tasty vegan curry with pumpkin, mushies and a heap of veggies that were usually deemed "imperfect". The addition of cubed eggplant always gave it a good depth of flavour and also texture. It was such a great little warming bowl of goodness and usually ready in around 30 minutes. I used a cheats vegan curry paste to give it some flavour but you could make your own as well which avoids all those extra things that come in jars like preservatives and thickeners.
9. Stuffed Eggplants
I've tried to do stuffed zucchini once and it was a hopeless fail. Not sure what happened but it hasn't dampened my enthusiasm to try a stuffed and baked eggplant. Firstly, they look amazing! Secondly, what a super easy way to eat. Recipes range from using quinoa, meat, mushrooms and even haloumi (um yes please). Have you tried these? Let me know your fav recipe?
10. Almond Crusted Eggplant Chips
I may have saved the best for last :) These are a favourite side dish for me. It feels like I'm eating chips, but I'm not! I always have these with a mix of zucchini and eggplant, chopped into longer chip shapes, then crumbed using egg wash and almond meal. You can also do them as larger slices and crumb, which goes well on a burger!
Phew! That's a lot of eggplant inspiration! Hope you enjoy. Let me know your favourite ideas and recipes too 💜