Eggplant – also known as aubergine — is a vegetable that most folks have a love-hate relationship with. Prepared poorly, eggplant can be bitter, greasy, or just plain unpleasant. Prepared the right way, however, eggplant becomes a sweet, creamy treat for anyone looking to create a meat-free meal. A benefit of using eggplant in vegetarian dishes is the heft it can bring to what might otherwise be less-than-filling recipes. Along with zucchini, eggplant is one of those vegetables that appears at the beginning of the summer and then makes up for lost time. If you’re sick and tired of eating ratatouille and baked eggplant, here are a few recipes to jazz up your eggplant (or aubergine) repertoire.
Eggplant rollatini is an Italian-American favorite: thin slices of eggplant are browned to obtain a sweet flavor and rid them of their natural bitterness. The slices are then rolled around a cheesy filling and arranged in a baking dish like cannelloni. The entire dish is covered in tomato sauce and baked. If that’s not decadence, I don’t know what is!
Our eggplant parmesan soup plays with this flavor combination, also used in eggplant parmesan, thus the name of the recipe. This soup is a great starter for an Italian dinner party, with its combination of eggplant, tomato and cheese. Serve it with garlic bread for a quick and filling weeknight meal!
For a completely different combination of flavors, try Sichuan eggplant. The deceptively simple recipe creates a complex combination of flavors and textures, for the perfect eggplant dish.
For any sort of meatless meal, a great ressource is the kitchen of the Fat-Free Vegan. Her recipes are always delicious, without the use of added fats or meat as ingredients. She has posted dozens of eggplant recipes, but a favorite is the Iraqi-inspired seitan and eggplant stew. This is a very original recipe with a great combination of flavors from a cuisine that is not often featured in recipe books or on blogs. The use of seitan, made from wheat gluten, adds bulk and protein.