Eggplant – Thinking Beyond Parmesan

Indian restaurants are a great place to go and taste what happens when people use the entire spice cabinet. If you’ve ever read the ingredients on a curry mix you will realize they can have as few as 5 spices to as many as 10, 20, or even more. Most of these are things that people actually keep around the house and some are a little less common. Curry basically just refers to the sauce. You can use just about any mixture of spices, any kind of meat if any at all, and any vegetables.

Eggplant Curry

One curry that I make frequently is eggplant curry.

A Recipe for the Best Homemade Eggplant Curry |

Spicy Eggplant Curry – Get the Recipe Now
Before buying eggplants you need to know that the smaller they are the less bitter they will probably be. You want smaller eggplants that are firm and fairly heavy for their size. Japanese eggplants are best if you can find them. They are about as tall as the standard variety but far skinnier.

ripe purple eggplant

Traditional Western Style Eggplants


Multiple Japanese Eggplants at the Farmers Market

Japanese Eggplant


Baba Ghanoush
Hummus has become very popular recently in the United States. It is a sauce used often in Greek or Middle Eastern cooking using garbanzo beans, olive oil, tahini, and lemon juice. But if you want to try something a little different and a little healthier, try baba ghanoush. It is similar except instead of tahini, which is ground sesame seed paste, it uses roasted eggplants.
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1649 calories
197 g
0 g
85 g
50 g
11 g
1987 g
1439 g
33 g
0 g
65 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1649
Calories from Fat 740
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 85g
Saturated Fat 11g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 13g
Monounsaturated Fat 52g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 1439mg
Total Carbohydrates 197g
Dietary Fiber 48g
Sugars 33g
Protein 50g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2-3 eggplants
  2. 4-6 tbsp olive oil
  3. 2 cans garbanzo beans
  4. 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  5. 1 bulb roasted garlic
  6. 1 tsp smoked paprika, it doesn't have to be spicy but smoked gives it a flavor that makes you think the eggplants were grilled rather than roasted.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut the tops off of the eggplants and split them in half long ways. Salt the flesh liberally then drizzle olive oil over the top. Put them in a baking dish skin side down. Also cut the bottom off of a bulb of garlic, salt the exposed flesh and put oil over that. Wrap it in aluminum foil. Put the eggplants and garlic into a 300 degree oven for about 45 minutes until they are very soft. You may need to add a little water to the bottom of the baking dish so they don't dry out.
  2. When the eggplants are done, use a spoon to pull the flesh off the skin. Put the flesh into a food processor. Squeeze the garlic in also. Blend that all up until it is smooth. Now add the remaining oil, about 3 or 4 tbsp, the lemon juice, a large pinch of salt (maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp), and the paprika. Drain one can of garbanzo beans completely. Add both cans including the liquid from the other can. If you use beans that you cooked at home rather than canned, use about 3C garbanzo and add water about 3 or 4 tbsp at a time until it becomes smooth.
  3. Be sure to blend this thoroughly until is thick but smooth. It should have the same consistency as hummus Eat it as a dip with pita chips or even tortilla chips, or just grab a spoon and dig in!
Ratatouille my way!
We've all heard of the Pixar movie. Actually whenever I say that I am going to make ratatouille that is the first thing anyone says to me. In reality it is a French dish prepared with roasted vegetables. It may sound fancy but it is actually considered peasant food. My version is served over homemade pasta with feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. To make it you will need:
Write a review
2805 calories
296 g
439 g
156 g
78 g
33 g
3598 g
1427 g
102 g
0 g
115 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 2805
Calories from Fat 1378
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 156g
Saturated Fat 33g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 18g
Monounsaturated Fat 97g
Cholesterol 439mg
Sodium 1427mg
Total Carbohydrates 296g
Dietary Fiber 71g
Sugars 102g
Protein 78g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2 eggplants
  2. 2 green zucchini
  3. 2 yellow zucchini also known as summer squash
  4. 1 sweet onion
  5. 2 large tomatoes
  6. 1 C diced mushrooms (optional)
  7. 1 bulb garlic
  8. 2 red bell pepper (optional)
  9. 1 C semolina flour
  10. 2 eggs
  11. 3 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  12. 8-10 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  13. 1/2 C crumbled feta cheese
  14. 2 tbsp fresh basil
  15. 1/4 C fresh parsley
  16. 3 carrots (optional)
  17. Salt and pepper
  18. Plenty of olive oil and balsamic for the vegetables
  1. This sounds like a lot of vegetables because it is, but it is definitely worth the work. I usually make this on days when I go to the Farmer's Market. There are few things that taste as good as this dish with fresh produce from the market. To begin get ready to do some chopping, and also preheat an oven to 300. Remove the skins from the eggplants. Cut the eggplants, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes all into about 1/2" slices. Cut the red peppers in half and remove the seeds. Toss all of the vegetables with olive oil and put them on 1 or 2 baking sheets. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them and drizzle a little vinegar over the top. Roast them for about 30-45 minutes. Also cut the bottom off of the garlic, sprinkle salt over the exposed flesh, drizzle with oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Put this in the oven too. After about 20 minutes, check the vegetables every 5 minutes until everything is nice and soft.
  2. For the zucchinis preheat a pan to medium high heat. Cut them to 1" slices and salt both sides. Add a little oil to the pan. Cook both sides until the zucchinis are golden brown, about 2 or 3 minutes per side. Set aside all of the vegetables until they are cool enough to handle but still warm. Now is a good time to make the pasta. If you are using homemade pasta use the semolina flour and eggs to make egg noodles. If you are using store-bought pasta ignore those ingredients. Be sure to salt the pasta water. It should be a small handful of salt and 1 gallon of water for a box of pasta.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, make the vinaigrette. Add the 3 tbsp of balsamic, basil, salt and pepper and roasted garlic to a blender. Blend until everything is smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil. If is too thick add 1 or 2tbsp of the pasta water. The pasta water is already seasoned so it won't make the dressing bland and the starch from the pasta will help hold the dressing together.
  4. When the vegetables have cooled down, dice them all to bite-sized pieces. Slice the carrots into 1/4" slices and add them. You can also add some uncooked tomatoes for a bit more of a fresh flavor. Mix it all with the pasta. Crumble the feta cheese into it and toss everything. Add the vinaigrette and toss that in. Top it with some good parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
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About Lynne Jaques

Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!

21 thoughts on “Eggplant – Thinking Beyond Parmesan”

  1. I’d really like to increase my vegetable intake, so adding egg plant would be great. Unfortunately I don’t know how to cook them…..I tried frying them once.. 🙁

    • I love eating them and being Italian I have been lucky to be taught a few ways to cook them. Melanzane is another delcious way to eat them, as well as frying them in flour and egg, the taste is fantastic. A healthy option is to cut them up with a little tomato and onion a couple of herbs and spices and a dash of olive oil, which will make them taste wonderful. I find the secret to a good eggplant is to soak them overnight to get rid of the bitter taste before you cook them

    • I know exactly where you’re coming from! My first experience with eggplant was attempting to salt them, drain them and fry them, and they ended up a soggy mess that tasted like sea water… Not encouraging. But I have found them to be more forgiving if you bake them or use them in stews or curries. As a vegan I use them a lot to add a bit of meaty texture to stews in particular. But I’m still too nervous to try the frying route again just yet.

  2. I personally love eggplant, but my family hates it. They all love hummus, though, so maybe I can trick them into some baba ghanoush masqueraded as hummus. I’ve never tried it myself, so it could be a nice experiment.

    Is there a huge taste difference between Japanese eggplant and the eggplant typically found in US supermarkets? Which should the baba ghanoush be made from? Or does it matter?

  3. This is mouth-watering! Its new to me that there is an eggplant curry dish, thanks for this article. Our family loves eggplant so I am really on the look of dish other than fried eggplant in vinegar sauce or eggplant fillets with cream sauce. A must-try recipe again at home!

  4. People are intimidated by eggplant, and I think it is just because it is not a mainstay in the American diet. But there are several things you can do with eggplant. First, you have to pay attention to when they were harvested because the older they were, the tougher and more bitter they will taste. If you harvest them before they go to seed, they will have a slightly spongy texture and a zingy tangy taste. We like to chop them into small cubes and incorporate them into our pasta dishes. It goes with just about any pasta sauce.

  5. I love eggplant curry! Actually, I love pretty much any curry and any kind of Indian eggplant presentation, so that’s a given. I think my favorite way to eat eggplants though are either fried up or pan sauteed and served with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.

  6. Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables, but I do find it difficult to cook sometimes so the Ghanoush is a nice way to use them and also in a more versatile way. I’ve always had the Italian dish melanzane in carrozza, but can’t use up all the eggplant, so this would be a good way to use the rest and store the dip too.

  7. I love eggplants! I’m not too keen on curry though. I can practically eat anything with eggplant. I swear I try to eat curry, but there’s something about its taste that’s just puts me off. Anyhow, I’m sure those who are not averse to the taste of curry will love this recipe.
    Oh, I love the advice on the size of eggplants. I didn’t think that size matters with regards to the taste of eggplants. I sometimes have trouble with cooking eggplants as they sometimes taste bitter. Thanks to this post, I now know better. At least the bitter taste is now explained: my penchant to pick up the biggest eggplant. As it turns out; it has to be the smaller the better, so the eggplant dish won’t taste bitter.

  8. It seems like people ignore using eggplant raw. I love a pickled eggplant & incorporate that into a salad I am totally there. Grill it & I will pay rent a year in advance to be a part of that. I’ve never shied away from eggplant.

    • Raw eggplant is actually poisonous. It is important to cook it first. You can also, like you said, pickle it. I love grilled eggplant as well. I’m a vegetarian, and eggplant actually adds some of the same texture as meat to some dishes (mushrooms do this too, by the way). Do you eat your eggplant with the skin on or off? I used to eat mine with the skin on, but so many recipes call for taking it off, so I’ve started to do that. The good thing about grilling or roasting eggplant is that once you cook it, the skin peels off easily. If you grill it, you can use it in a shish kabob with a nice yogurt-based dipping sauce.

  9. I feel like eggplant is one of those foods that people dislike just because “everyone else is doing it.” I know I felt that way until I actually gave it a real shot and found that it’s actually one of the best veggies out there. It tastes good pan fried, roasted, pureed, in a casserole, etc. I think it’s so good because the spongy texture really sucks up all the flavor of whatever you cook it with. Soooo curried eggplant must be amazing. I never associated eggplant with curry, but it sounds awesome.

    • I think the spongy texture really does soak up the flavor of whatever you’re cooking it with. I love eggplant and the versatility of it is so amazing!

  10. I enjoy eggplant, but you’re right. I think most people think of eggplant Parmesan. It’s the first thing that comes to my mind as well. I’ve often though that there must be other ways to prepare it, but then I usually just make the Parmesan. Stepping outside your comfort zone is a good thing though.

    Yum! Your ratatouille recipe sounds great. I don’t recall it being served with feta before, but any excuse to add feta is good by me.

  11. Baba Ghanoush is one of those foods that I crave from back home, but have difficulty finding here. That used to be the case for hummus, but that’s now easier to find, so hopefully the same will happen with baba ghanoush. In the meantime, I now have your recipe, and can make it at home. The eggplant curry is another that I will have to try, it sounds delicious.

  12. I can honestly say that I don’t think I ever eat eggplant. I’m not against it and I don’t even know if I like it. I have been afraid to try it to be honest. It doesn’t seem very easy to prepare properly.

  13. Thanks for the Baba Ghanoush recipe. I’ve been meaning to make this for a while now. My kids absolutely love hummus and many other types of dips, I really want them to try Baba Ghanoush.

  14. Is it me, or do most people call garbanzo beans ´chick peas´..

    I love eggplant because it is a great flavor absorbing vegetable and is very cheap where I live. One poor man´s thing I do is to cube them and then add them to chicken soup. The chicken juice will fill up the cubes and the texture really is similar to diced piece of chicken breast. The same thing with stir fry, you can cube eggplant and include it with any stir fry and you will get a texture like chicken breast in your meals..

  15. Hey there! I am very new to eggplant; I have only tried it once in my life, and I didn’t quite enjoy it. When I tried it, I had plain boiled with salt and pepper. It is very strange for me not to like a vegetable, because I love almost every vegetable (yes, even broccoli!). Which of the recipes above would anyone most recommend for someone who is not very fond of these somewhat slimy and very odd veggies?

  16. It’s funny because its English name doesn’t have anything to do with its Spanish name, however ,it really looks tasty and delicious! I’d like to try this one day, I will copy this down anyway. Thank you very much for sharing it!

  17. My friend and I were chatting the other day, and we just happened to talk about our meal plans and what we are planning to make. I noticed she used eggplant alot, and I confessed that I have never had eggplant in my life! I didnt realize there is so many things you can make with it.

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