Bored of eggplant? Though eggplant is pretty well known (not really a “wtf” farmers market find), with its blandish taste, you may be getting tired of this vegetable.
Besides the old stand-by, Eggplant Parmesan, what else can you do with eggplant?
I set out to explore this question after picking up some eggplant from the Green City Market. I prefer a smaller eggplant, so I went with some Turkish eggplant (pictured above), along with Chinese eggplant, which is thinner than standard eggplant. The Turkish eggplants look like mini pumpkins, right?
Eggplants are often used as a meat replacement, though they are not high in protein. They are, however, high in fiber. For about a cup of eggplant, you’ll get 2 grams of fiber for only 20 calories. So, for 2 cups (enough to keep you satisfyingly full), it’ll only cost you 40 calories (plus the added bonus of 4 grams of fiber). Eggplants also contain potassium, which helps counteract salt consumption and aids in muscle function.
Keep in mind that fiber generally means filling, making eggplant an excellent addition to meals. I wanted to try using mine in a couple different ways. Let me say first that eggplant is delicious when roasted in the oven, but with the extremely hot weather in Chicago, I’ve been trying not to turn the oven on. So, the following two recipes were done on a stove top – sans oven.
Eggplant Recipe No. 1: Tempeh & Eggplant “Ratatouille:”
- 3 ounces tempeh (a fermented soy + grain product similar to tofu)
- 1 Chinese eggplant, cubed
- 1 ounce mozzarella cheese (I used a Trader Joe’s fresh mozzarella stick), shredded/chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3-4 basil leaves, washed and diced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Sprinkle eggplant with salt (this will draw out some of the water from the eggplant, making it easier/better for sauteeing).
- Heat garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes, then add eggplant and saute for about 5 minutes. Add tempeh and saute another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and basil.
Easy, no? The above recipe is for a single serving. You can double, triple, etc. depending on how many people you’re feeding.
Eggplant Recipe No. 2: Eggplant Chips
Okay, so this one is not so much a recipe as much as a method for cooking the eggplant.
Directions:Cut eggplant into 1/4″ slices and sprinkle with salt to draw out moisture. Cook in a lightly oiled (or use cooking spray) pan for about 3-4 minutes per side (depending on how crispy you like the slices).
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.