How to Cook Eggplants: A Beginner’s Guide
Are you looking for a new ingredient to add to your cooking repertoire? Consider adding eggplant to your meals. This versatile vegetable can be cooked in a variety of ways and adds a unique flavor and texture to any dish. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, learning how to cook eggplant is a valuable skill that will expand your culinary horizons. We’re covering our favorite easy and delicious vegan eggplant recipes and all the ways you can prepare eggplants so you’re sure to get the best vegan eggplant recipes that will convince even eggplant skeptics to love aubergines!
One of the most popular ways to cook eggplant is by roasting it in the oven. This method is simple and produces a tender, velvety texture that is perfect for dips and spreads. Another option is grilling eggplant, which adds a smoky flavor and charred texture to the vegetable. If you prefer a crispy texture, you can also fry eggplant slices in oil until they are golden brown. By learning these different cooking methods, you can experiment with a variety of recipes and find the perfect way to prepare eggplant to suit your taste.
Table of contents
- Selecting and preparing eggplants
- Cooking methods for making the best eggplant recipes every time
- Top 10 tips and trick for cooking eggplants
- 10 serving ideas for eggplants
- 15 delicious easy eggplant recipes the whole family will love
- Health benefits of eggplants
- How to store and reheat eggplants
- Pet related eggplant questions
Selecting and Preparing Eggplants
Choosing the Right Eggplants
When selecting eggplants, look for ones that are firm, smooth, and shiny. The skin should be free of blemishes, bruises, and soft spots. The eggplant should feel heavy for its size, which indicates that it is ripe and full of flavor.
There are different varieties of eggplants available, including the classic large eggplant, the slender Japanese eggplant, and the small round eggplant. Choose the variety that best suits your recipe and personal preference.
Preparing the Eggplants
Before cooking eggplant, it is important to remove any bitterness and excess moisture. Here is a simple method to prepare eggplants:
1. Wash the eggplant and cut off the stem and calyx (the green leafy part at the base).
2. Slice the eggplant into the desired shape and size.
3. Sprinkle salt over the slices and let them sit for 30 minutes to an hour. This will draw out any bitterness and excess moisture.
4. Rinse the eggplant slices under running water and pat them dry with a paper towel.
You can also roast the eggplant whole, which is great for making dips and spreads. To do this, prick the eggplant with a fork in several places and roast it in the oven at 400°F until the skin is wrinkled and the flesh is soft.
In summary, choosing and preparing eggplants is easy once you know what to look for and how to prepare them. Select firm, smooth, and shiny eggplants, and remove any bitterness and excess moisture before cooking.
Cooking Methods to make the best eggplants
When it comes to cooking eggplants, there are several methods to choose from, each with its own unique flavor and texture. Here are three popular cooking methods to try:
Grilling eggplants is a great option if you want to add a smoky flavor to your dish. To grill eggplants, slice them into rounds or lengthwise, brush them with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then, grill them over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes per side, until they are tender and charred. You can also add other seasonings, such as garlic or herbs, for extra flavor.
Roasting eggplants is another easy and delicious way to cook them. To roast eggplants, preheat your oven to 400°F. Cut the eggplants into cubes or slices, then toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 20-25 minutes, until they are tender and golden brown. You can also add other vegetables, such as tomatoes or onions, to the baking sheet for a flavorful roasted vegetable medley.
Pan-frying eggplants is a quick and easy method that results in crispy, tender slices. To pan-fry eggplants, slice them into rounds or lengthwise, then dip them into beaten eggs and coat them with breadcrumbs or flour. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the eggplant slices and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, until they are golden brown and crispy. You can also add other seasonings, such as paprika or cumin, to the breadcrumbs or flour for extra flavor.
No matter which cooking method you choose, eggplants are a versatile and delicious vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes, from dips and spreads to stews and casseroles. Experiment with different flavor combinations and cooking techniques to find your favorite way to cook eggplants.
Here are 10 tips and tricks for cooking eggplants:
1. Salting: To reduce the bitterness of eggplants, slice them and sprinkle salt on both sides. Let them sit for about 30 minutes before rinsing and patting dry.
2. Roasting: Roasting eggplants in the oven brings out their nutty flavor. Pierce the eggplant with a fork a few times, then roast at 400°F for 45-50 minutes.
3. Grilling: Cut eggplants into thick slices or wedges and grill them for a few minutes on each side. This infuses them with a smoky flavor.
4. Frying: Cut eggplants into thin slices and fry them until golden brown. This gives them a crispy texture.
5. Sautéing: Sauté eggplants in olive oil with garlic, onions, and other vegetables for a tasty side dish.
6. Stewed: Cut eggplants into cubes and simmer them in a tomato-based sauce for a classic Mediterranean dish.
7. Baked: Eggplants can be stuffed with a variety of fillings such as meat, cheese, and vegetables, and then baked until tender.
8. Pureed: Cooked eggplant can be pureed with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic to make a delicious dip called baba ganoush.
9. Marinating: Eggplants can be marinated in a mixture of olive oil, vinegar, and herbs before being cooked for added flavor.
10. Pairing: Eggplants pair well with a variety of ingredients, such as tomatoes, garlic, onion, peppers, and cheese. Experiment with different combinations to find your favorite dish.
These tips and tricks will help you make delicious eggplant dishes in a variety of ways. Enjoy!
10 Serving ideas for eggplants
1. Eggplant Parmesan – classic Italian dish made with layers of eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheese. This baked eggplant parmesan recipe is so easy to make into a vegan eggplant parmigiana by replacing the regular parmesan cheese with vegan parmesan cheese. Make it in a baking dish, top with marinara sauce and get ready to enjoy one of the best vegan vegan recipes – an easy vegan eggplant parmesan loaded with flavors!
2. Baba Ghanoush – a Middle Eastern dip made with roasted eggplant, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice.
3. Eggplant Rollatini – eggplant slices filled with ricotta cheese and spinach, rolled up, and baked with tomato sauce. To make it a vegan eggplant rollatini simply replace the ricotta cheese with your favorite vegan ricotta.
4. Ratatouille – a French vegetable stew made with eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes. It’s a delicious vegan eggplant casserole!
5. Grilled Eggplant Skewers – marinated eggplant slices grilled on skewers and served with a dipping sauce. Brush the sliced eggplant with balsamic vinegar and season with Italian spice mix for a delicious italian-inspired recipe that everyone will love.
6. Eggplant Curry – a spicy Indian dish made with eggplant, onions, tomatoes, and spices. Make your eggplants into an amazing aubergine curry. It’s a fantastic easy dinner recipe that can be served in one large pan.
7. Eggplant Caponata – a Sicilian dish made with eggplant, celery, olives, capers, and tomatoes.
8. Eggplant Lasagna – a vegetarian version of lasagna made with layers of eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheese.
9. Eggplant Stir-Fry – a quick and easy dish made with eggplant, bell peppers, onions, and your favorite stir-fry sauce.
10. Roasted Eggplant – cut eggplant into cubes, toss with olive oil, and roast in the oven until tender and golden brown. Serve as a side dish or use as a topping for salads or sandwiches.
15 delicious recipes with eggplants that the whole family will love!
Grilled Eggplant melt with lentil stuffing recipe
Grilled eggplant melt with cheesy savory lentil stuffing – tender, almost melty roasted eggplants generously slathered with savory tomato paste, topped with melty blue cheese and tender lentils. Yum! This easy vegetarian Mediterranean dish can be made vegan with a few simple switches. Just substitute vegetarian cheese with vegan melty cheese and nutritional yeast and you’re in for a tasty Moroccan lentil-stuffed aubergine meal.
Grilled Eggplants With Tomato Salsa
This Grilled Eggplants with Tomato salsa is one of those meals that is so simple to make, that it almost feels like cheating. Nothing in it is difficult, and there are no special ingredients – except maybe for the gyros seasoning.
Easy Traditional Spaghetti Alla Norma
Delicious Spaghetti alla Norma – Garlicky deliciously tender eggplants with tomato sauce paired with fork-twisting pasta. Think sweet juicy tomatoes, fresh basil, and all the flavors of Italy in one simple easy-to-make vegan dinner. Golden roasted eggplants and a savory tomato sauce make this easy vegan pasta recipe a totally slurp-worthy 30-minutes dinner.
Spicy Indian Brinjal Curry recipe (vegan)
This easy Spicy Indian Brinjal Curry recipe features luxe rich flavors, lots of spicy goodness, and deliciously melty meaty flavors that make you forget the creamy intensely smoky curry is vegan. This is giving major luxe irresistible takeout vibes…but it’s homemade in less than 30 minutes. A super creamy, lush, and utterly craveable curry that will make all your curry dreams come true. Gloriously savory, decadently rich, with a bit of sweetness and smokiness, scooped over a bed of steaming rice or served with a side of fluffy warm flatbread. Yes, please!
Best Easy low carb Salsa recipe for Keto diet – one of the best easy eggplant recipes
Low carb salsa – If you’re looking for a quick spicy keto salsa recipe loaded with garlic flavors, creamy tomato sauce, and tender roasted eggplants then you have come to the right place. This vegan salsa sauce is a life-changing low-calorie recipe that goes with everything. And it just so happens to fit the ketogenic diet even though it’s vegan and heart-healthy. Serve it as a dip with tortilla chips, vegetable dippers, slather it in a sandwich, or plop it on your pasta. It’s so good you will want to eat it on everything.
Greek Style Stuffed Eggplant Rolls (vegetarian)
These delicious Greek Style Stuffed Eggplant rolls are everything a foodies dreams are made of. Think soft, almost creamy eggplants filled with bulgur, fresh herbs, spices and creamy Feta cheese. They are so incredibly tasty.
Easy Cowboy Chili Stew with Black Beans
This easy Cowboy Chili stew with black beans is a savory and satisfying vegan comfort food recipe. We’re talking bold flavors and amazing comforting textures wrapped in a creamy savory sauce. Browned chunks of eggplants, tender zucchini, meaty beans, and a rich spicy sauce. And unlike a regular chili that takes hours to make, this easy quick chili can be made in just 20 minutes in an instant pot. Don’t have an instant pot? No need to worry. This quick vegan chili can be made in a crockpot or a regular pan too. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Easy Roasted Eggplant and Lentil salad
This easy roasted Eggplant and lentil salad is chocked full of tastes, textures and goodness. Think spicy grilled eggplants that’s almost melt-on-your-tongue soft on the inside and grilled and slightly crispy at the edges. Add softly cooked green lentils, fresh tomatoes, spicy peppers and lots of fresh herbs and you’ve got a winter salad that will knock your socks off.
Vegan Roasted Eggplant Pizza
This Vegan Roasted Eggplant Pizza is so good you won’t believe it.
Is there anything better than an Italian style vegan pizza with all the toppings you could desire? My answer to that is “not much”.
Pizza is one of my go-to must-have stables. At least once a month (sometimes more) I need a dose of pizza. And not just any pizza. It needs to be amazing, mouthwatering and cheesy pizza…and of course I want it to be vegan. This pizza is all of that and more.
Easy Vegan Italian Eggplant Meatballs
These amazing easy vegan Italian eggplant Meatballs are incredibly delicious and has a very firm and meat-like texture. They are loaded with Italian flavours like oregano, thyme, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. And thanks to the tofu and cooked rice, these amazing meatless meatballs are not only delicious but also full of plant based protein.
Vegetarian potato dump lasagna casserole
Vegetarian potato dump lasagna casserole – this easy cheesy lasagna dump casserole is full of savory cozy and comforting flavors. Featuring tender lasagna layers of melty eggplants and potatoes, spices, cheese, tomato sauce, plus plant based protein in the form of tender lentils. Make it as a casserole and let the oven do the work for you. Or dump all the ingredients into an instant pot and get ready to eat in 20 minutes. It’s a delicious oven-roasted eggplant main dish that’s meal prep friendly.
Easy vegan roasted Broccoli chipotle recipe
Easy vegan grilled broccoli chipotle recipe – lightly charred broccoli florets, tender grilled red peppers, spring onions, lots of seasoning, and a mouthwatering chipotle sticky and sweet sesame speckled topping. Yum! You can add all your favorite vegetables, or switch it up and use seasonal veggies.
5 ingredients vegan creamy pesto eggplant pasta recipe
Get ready for a mind-blowing creamy pesto pasta featuring tender, almost melty sautéed eggplant, spring onions, and herbs. It’s a no-hassle utterly tasty creamy pasta sauce that takes minutes to make. It’s one of the best healthy vegan eggplant recipes that works all your round, spring, late summer, to winter, this easy recipe is always a great choice.
Easy Vegan Turkish Pide Recipe
This Pizza-like easy Vegan Turkish Pide Recipe is a must try homemade Takeout for game nights, as well as every other night. It’s my vegan copycat version of the Turkish Fast food classic. Think delicious bread crust enveloping a flavorful veggie filling. Creamy, soft eggplants, spices, tomatoes and lots of peppers. It’s a mouthwatering quick pizza alternative.
The Best Easy Traditional Authentic Sticky eggplants with sesame seeds
Mmm, Authentic sticky eggplants with sesame seeds. If you love sweet-meets-spicy sauces and sticky crunchy sesame seeds then these authentic sticky aubergines are just what you want. They’re a mouthwatering combination of sweet and spicy, sticky and crunchy. Think tender, almost melting eggplants wrapped in a sticky sweet-and-spicy sauce blanket topped with crunchy nutty sesame seeds. It doesn’t get much better than this easy vegan 20-minutes dinner recipe.
Health benefits of eggplants
Eggplants are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a great addition to a healthy diet. Here are some potential health benefits of eggplants:
1. May help improve heart health: Eggplants are a good source of dietary fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease.
2. May help with weight management: Eggplants are low in calories and high in fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied, making it easier to control your calorie intake and maintain a healthy weight.
3. Studies suggest they may help manage blood sugar levels: Eggplants are a good source of fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent spikes in insulin.
4. May have anti-cancer properties: Eggplants contain antioxidants such as anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
5. May help improve digestion: The high fiber content in eggplants can help promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.
6. May help improve bone health: Eggplants contain a good amount of bone-healthy minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which can help improve bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
It is important to note that these potential health benefits are based on scientific research, but further studies are needed to back it up.
FAQs – all your easy eggplant recipes questions answered
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about cooking eggplants:
Salting eggplants before cooking is optional but recommended, as it helps to draw out any bitterness from the eggplant.
A ripe eggplant should be firm, but not hard. It should also have a smooth, shiny skin without any blemishes.
The cooking time for eggplants depends on the method used and the size of the eggplant. Generally, they should be cooked until tender and fully cooked through
Yes, the skin of an eggplant is edible and contains many of the eggplant’s nutrients. However, some people may choose to peel the skin off before cooking.
To store cooked eggplants, make sure they are completely cooled down before storing them in an airtight container and place them in the refrigerator. You can store them for up to 4 days in the fridge. If you want to store them for longer, you can freeze them in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat them, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and reheat them in the oven or on the stovetop.
To freeze eggplants, first, wash and cut them into slices or cubes. Then, blanch them by boiling them for 4-5 minutes and immediately transferring them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once they are completely cooled, pat them dry with a paper towel and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Freeze them in the freezer for about an hour or until they are frozen solid. Finally, transfer the frozen eggplant to a freezer-safe container or bag and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to use them, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
Reheating eggplants and aubergines
To reheat cooked eggplant, here are some steps you can follow:
– Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
– Remove the cooked eggplant from the fridge or freezer and transfer it to an oven-safe dish.
– Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the eggplant to prevent it from drying out.
– Cover the dish with foil or a lid to prevent the eggplant from getting too crispy.
– Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the eggplant is heated through.
– Remove the dish from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
You can also reheat cooked eggplant in the microwave by placing it in a microwave-safe dish, covering it with a paper towel, and microwaving on high for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. However, this method may make the eggplant a bit watery and less crispy.
FAQs -pet related questions
While eggplants are not toxic to dogs, they are not recommended to be included in their diet. Eggplants contain solanine and chaconine, which can cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhea in dogs. Also, eggplants are high in oxalates, which can lead to the formation of kidney stones in some dogs.
If your dog accidentally consumes a small amount of eggplant, it may not cause any harm. However, it is recommended to avoid feeding eggplants to your dog as a regular part of their diet. If you have any concerns about your dog’s diet or health, it is best to consult with a veterinarian.
Similar to dogs, eggplants are not toxic to cats, but they are not an ideal food for them. Eggplants contain solanine and chaconine which can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. Additionally, eggplants are not a natural part of a cat’s diet, and they do not provide any nutritional benefits to cats.
If your cat accidentally consumes a small amount of eggplant, it may not cause any harm. However, it is not recommended to feed eggplants to cats as a regular part of their diet. It is best to stick to foods that are specifically formulated for cats to ensure that they are receiving a balanced and complete diet.
Turtles and eggplants
Turtles are omnivores and enjoy a varied diet of vegetables, fruits, and meats. While eggplants are not toxic to turtles, they are not a preferred or recommended food for them. Eggplants contain solanine and chaconine which can cause gastrointestinal upset in turtles if consumed in large quantities.
It is best to stick to foods that are more suitable for turtles, such as leafy greens, vegetables, and small amounts of fruits and protein sources such as insects, worms, or cooked chicken or fish. If you are unsure about what to feed your turtle, it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian or a knowledgeable reptile expert.