Eggplant is a great meat alternative that happens to be very affordable, helping you eat your way to debt relief. They can be tricky to prepare, and if not cooked properly, can be bitter and mushy. Luckily, we have all the tips to help you make this nutritious and delicious vegetable tender and tasty.
Eggplant is a beautiful vegetable, with deep colors and rich flavors. Packed with vitamins and minerals, eggplant delivers a good dose of fiber and antioxidants to keep the heart and brain healthy. You can replace meat in many dishes with eggplant, like eggplant parmesan or eggplant curry.
When you’re at the store, choose eggplants that are heavy and firm. The skin should be unblemished and unbruised, and you can test the ripeness of the eggplant by squeezing the vegetable with your thumb. If the thumb indentation remains, the eggplant is not ripe.
When preparing the eggplant, be sure to use a stainless steel knife, as other metals can cause the flesh to brown. You can cut the eggplant into slices, chunks, or wedges, depending on the style of cooking. Eggplant is a little spongy in texture, and as a result, absorbs oil very easily. Keep this in mind when cooking it.
Many people find eggplant bitter and too tough. To remove the bitter taste and to improve the texture, heavily salt the eggplant 30 minutes before cooking. Let the eggplant sit, then rinse after half an hour. Pat dry with a towel or paper towels, and the eggplant is ready to be prepared.
For those who haven’t tried eggplant, babaghanoush is a good place to start. This creamy and savory dip is perfect as an appetizer or a sandwich spread. Because this dish is whipped smooth and mixed with other ingredients, you don’t need to salt the eggplant before preparation.
1 whole eggplant
2 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
¼ cup tahini
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cloves roasted garlic
Preheat the oven to 425. Quarter the eggplant, then rub the flesh with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast skin side down in the oven for half an hour, sprinkle with half of the lemon zest, then put back in the oven for half an hour. The eggplant will be ready when the flesh becomes blackened around the edges and soft in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Scoop out the flesh with a spoon, discarding the skin. If it is particularly watery, you can drain through a cheesecloth. Put the flesh in a food processor, then add lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, and a pinch of pepper. Blend until smooth. If it’s too thick, add water. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Transfer into a bowl, then dust with paprika. Put into the fridge for at least an hour to let the babaghanoush cool. Drizzle the top with olive oil and serve with chips or chopped raw vegetables. Serves up to four people.