Why you should get your fruit on with a tasty eggplant dish!

By April 19, 2017 Recipes No Comments
Eggplants
ashley-vangel

By: Ashley Vangel

 

Now we’re back to vegetables! Eggplant is a great vegetable to transition from our focus on meat over the last few weeks. Beneath their purple, though sometimes white, skin is a flesh with a firm, rich, and almost “meaty” texture. Eggplant can be grilled, fried, turned into steaks… and even turned into a veg version of bacon. I know, crazy, right? Plus when eggplant is in season and plentiful it’s much less expensive, and just as delicious and filling as an alternative to meat!
 

Now I keep calling eggplant a vegetable… But actually, though most people associate eggplant as a vegetable, just like it’s tomato relative, it’s technically a fruit! Botanically, it’s classified as a berry because the fruit contains so many small, soft seeds. You may have also heard it being called a nightshade. Nightshades are completely healthy for most people, however some people may not be able to tolerate certain substances (namely calcitriol and alkaloids) found in these plants. Other nightshades include tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers.
 

In addition to many vitamins and minerals, like manganese, thiamine, vitamin K, and vitamin B6, eggplant also has so many phytonutrients and antioxidants. Because of that deep purple color, eggplant has an insane amount of anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is most recognized for being the main antioxidant found in red grapes and red wine… think deep red, purple, and blues hues. However it’s also found in eggplant and helps protect the brain’s cells from damage. Not only do these powerful compounds likely boost brain function, they may also prevent cardiovascular disease (or heart disease) and cancer. Cooking eggplant, which is the preferred way of eating eggplant, results in the eggplant having more antioxidants readily available. Plus all of these nutritional benefits come at a very low calorie cost of only 35 calories per cup! That’s totally worth adding eggplant into your diet!
 

Eggplant, though versatile, can be tricky to work with for some people! Sometimes they can have a slightly bitter taste, but when prepared well, eggplant is absolutely spectacular. Eggplant can be cut into strips, sliced into rounds and baked… either breaded or naked. Try baking a whole eggplant and mashing or pureeing the super soft flesh to create a delicious spread or dip. Roast it, grill it, stir-fry it or toss it with pasta. Whatever you do, add some eggplant into your weekly meal prep.
 

What’s your favorite way to use eggplant? Leave a comment below to let us know!

 
 

Ashley is a registered dietitian and a licensed dietitian in the state of Texas. She graduated from Framingham State University, majoring in nutrition and dietetics and she completed her dietetic internship at the University of Connecticut. (more)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.