For those unfamiliar with eggplant, the vegetable may seem like an insurmountable task at first. With a thick, purple peel surrounding spongy light green flesh, the eggplant is actually quite easy to master. Becoming familiar with the versatile vegetable opens up a world of great dishes that are comforting, healthful, and delicious. Eggplant is a good source of antioxidants, fiber and potassium. While it contains vitamins B1, B3, B6, and copper, manganese, the density of the vitamins and minerals is low in comparison to some other vegetables. This low-calorie food makes for easy eating as well as easy cooking.
There are many types of eggplant, but Black Beauties, Black Bells, and Black Magic are the most commonly used. They are large, pear-shaped, and have deep purple skin. Other eggplant varieties include Sicilian, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, White, and Indian. Eggplants are in season August through October, but are available at most grocery stores year-round.
When purchasing eggplants, select those that are firm with taut, smooth, shiny peels. As eggplants age, their peel becomes wrinkled and slightly discolored. Unlike other hearty vegetables, eggplants go bad quickly. Store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and use them within 3 days of purchase.
Here are 9 ways you can incorporate eggplant into your cooking, starting with this comforting Baked Eggplant Penne Pasta dish from Diethood.
Not only does this flavorful and easy recipe show you how to make stuffed eggplant, but it gives you a taste of baby eggplant. Try these Roasted Baby Eggplants with Goat Cheese Stuffing from Running to the Kitchen.
Grilling eggplant adds smoky flavor to the vegetable and it requires only a few minutes of time. This Greek Marinated Grilled Eggplant from The Lemon Bowl uses the Italian variety of eggplant and demonstrates how to marinate and grill eggplant.
One of the most popular eggplant recipes is ratatouille, which involves braising eggplant, squash, onions, and peppers with tomatoes. This classic ratatouille from Cupcakes and Kale Chips is always a family favorite.
Many vegetarians use eggplant as the go-to for replacing meat to achieve a hearty and satisfying meal. Eggplant parmesan (or parmigiana) is a classic dish employing the baking method of preparation. This simple and straight-forward Eggplant Parmigiana recipe from In Good Taste will get you hooked!