Nutrition RX: Eggplant
Eggplant is a universally adored fruit around the world. Named for its uncanny appearance to an egg in the unripe phase, it is both acidic and meaty in flavor when cooked (and ripe.) It is ever-present in Mediterranean dishes as well as Indian food, but can be found in nearly every culture’s repertoire. It is revered for it is unique flavor and complexity, but did you know it also has nutritive properties as well? This article will go into detail regarding why eggplant is a great choice for your next dish, and give you a few recipes to try out on your own!
Unripe versus ripe eggplants!
One of eggplant’s best features is actually what it’s lacking, rather than what it has. Eggplant is low in carbohydrates, fat, sugar and calories overall, making it a great base for creamy soups, dips, and heavier dishes. It also makes eggplant a smart choice for those who are looking to follow a more heart-healthy diet, such as those who have high cholesterol. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, or just looking to eat a bit less meat, eggplant’s meaty, dense texture is a convincing substitute in eggplant parmesan and other dishes. Our video (Savoring the Autumn Palate here) has a fun, easy recipe for grilled artichokes with eggplant caponata, along with other vegetarian favorites!
Eggplant also is a good source of the nutrient manganese, which is essential for development and metabolism. It also contains higher levels of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), which is used biologically to synthesize and metabolize protein, carbohydrates and fats, the three essential nutrients in our daily diet. Other vitamins in eggplant include others in the B-complex like folate (B9), essential for pre-natal health, fertility and has been shown to reduce the chance of strokes.
Different varieties of eggplant
Eggplant Recipe: Baba Ghanoush
This is a traditional Middle Eastern side dish, similar to hummus with a much different and interesting flavor. It works as a great dip for crudité, crostini, pita bread, or eaten alongside chicken or lamb.
1 large eggplant
1 head of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini
Salt and pepper to taste
Dice eggplant and pierce skin with knife. Roast for 30 minutes in a 375-degree oven. Cut off top of garlic head, coat in olive oil, and place on pan to roast for 20 minutes with eggplant. Cool eggplant, peel skin off, and drain in colander. Peel garlic. Add all ingredients except for garlic to a food processor and blend. Add 2-3 tbsp of garlic, taste test, and add more if desired. Salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe courtesy of Allrecipes.com. Photos courtesy of Google Images.