Ever since the days my mom cut eggplant into strips and fried it and told me they were French fries, I’ve been in love with the majestically dark purple vegetable.
Truth be told, she probably never had to trick me into eating eggplant; I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love it. My brothers and sisters, on the other hand, were probably a different story.
Not only is eggplant delicious, but it’s good for you too. Eggplant is a great source of dietary fiber. One cup of cubed eggplant has 2.8 g of dietary fiber, or 8 percent of the recommended daily intake. Dietary fiber soaks up water in the digestive track, helping slow the intestines from absorbing starch and sugar. The delayed absorption helps lower cholesterol and sugar levels, ultimately preventing heart disease and stroke, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Eggplant is rich in several B vitamins, including B1, B3 and B6, which help your body convert carbohydrates into usable energy by helping to break down fats and proteins. It’s also full of magnesium, manganese and potassium. One of the best parts! It’s essentially fat and cholesterol free (as long as you don’t fry it!).
This is one of my favorite things to do with eggplant – I use it as a topping for pasta or just eat it as is. It’s delicious either way.
Eggplant, Roma Tomato and Red Onion Ragu
1 large eggplant
5 Roma tomatoes
1 large red onion
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 Tbs fresh spicy oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup goat cheese
Wash eggplant thoroughly. Slice into 3/4-inch rounds. Spread the rounds on paper towels and salt liberally (don’t worry about using too much salt; you’ll be rinsing it off).
Eggplant holds a lot of water that can result in an end-product that is spongy from too much moisture. The salt sucks the excess water out of the eggplant before you cook it.
Let the salted eggplant sit for between 10 and 20 minutes. It will start to sweat.
After 20 minutes, rinse the salt from the eggplant and pat dry. Dice.
In the meantime, dice your Roma tomatoes. Cut your red onions into chunks. They don’t have to be pretty.
Chop fresh spicy oregano. This is my most favorite herb of late and I grow it in my herb garden. It smells good and tastes delicious. Just enough heat for any dish.
Toss oregano with eggplant, tomatoes and red onions. Drizzle your veggies with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
Bake at 325 F for about an hour, stirring about every 15 minutes. The vegetables will get nice and caramelized.
Serve over pasta, as a side dish or as a topping for chicken or other meats. Top with goat cheese.
Nutritional Information: Calories 150; Calories from Fat 79; Total Fat 8.8g; Cholesterol 3mg Sodium 38mg; Total Carbohydrates 16.2g; Dietary Fiber 6.4g; Sugars 8.4g; Protein 4.2g