Add versatile eggplants to your shopping list for January.
Eggplants, or aubergines, are a close relative of potatoes and tomatoes and are technically classed as a fruit, not a vegie. They’re rich in antioxidants and a good source of fibre.
Common eggplants have a deep purple, glossy skin and cream-coloured flesh. You can also find Lebanese eggplants, which are the same colour but more elongated.
Choose firm, plump eggplants with glossy, bright skin. Avoid any with wrinkles or blemishes.
Store eggplants at room temperature for 1–2 days, or in the crisper of your fridge for 5–7 days.
Eggplants are best cooked. Wash, then chop or slice with the skin on. They can be roasted, chargrilled, sautéed, stewed or baked. Add to platters, salads, pizzas or casseroles. There’s no need to remove the seeds or salt the flesh – previously thought to be essential for cooking.
3 ways with eggplant
Enjoy an eggplant lasagne Try layering thinly-sliced eggplant instead of pasta in your favourite lasagne recipe, along with the other ingredients. This works well with both vegetarian or meat lasagnes.
Make this pre-dinner nibble Cut eggplants lengthways into thin slices. Lightly spray slices with oil and chargrill for 2 minutes each side. When eggplant is cool, add teaspoon-fuls of ricotta at the end of each slice and add a sundried tomato. Roll up to enclose and secure with a toothpick if needed.
Try stuffed eggplants Halve eggplants and then scoop out the flesh using a teaspoon, leaving a 2cm border. Stuff with ingredients of your choice. Try pine nuts, feta, chopped tomatoes, breadcrumbs, mince, herbs, quinoa or rice.
Use seasonal produce whenever possible to get the most vitamins and minerals.