Leggo My Eggplant | Pasta | Eggplant Parmesan
Credit: Kris on flickr | Kanko* on flickr | Joe Hall on flickr (all 3 photos are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)


Such an interesting fruit. Botanically classified as a berry,[1] I'm drawn to the colour and size of eggplant.

But the thing is, whenever it is breaded and fried it absorbs a lot of grease.

And truth be known, bigger isn't better. Nor is an eggplant that is slightly soft.

You want an eggplant that feels rock hard and has a shiny skin. It tends to taste bitter the bigger and older it gets, so check out that stem area.

I choose the ones with the freshest looking stem and leaves (and I know, this area looks pretty shriveled up most of the time). Just do your best - the main part to be concerned about is the part you are going to eat.

Eggplant on red plate
Credit: liz west on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

How to Pick a Good One

Key points to remember when looking for the ideal eggplant:

  • Firm and shiny
  • Smaller is less bitter (I opt for two small ones over a big one)
  • Uniform dark colour
  • Firm stem with the freshest looking stem leaves
  • No cuts or breaches in the skin

Choosing the Right Eggplant

Tasty Sliced & Baked Eggplant

Leggo My Eggplant
Credit: Kris on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Tasty Sliced & Baked Eggplant

Serves: 3 - 4 | Prep: 10 mins | Total: 45 mins

I based this recipe on the video that follows by Esther Chelebian Tognozzi. I slice my eggplant thinner (3/4 inch or 2 cm) and I prefer cilantro over parsley (but it's up to you). Sometimes I just use a really good olive oil and kosher salt on the slices.

Apparently, the kosher salt helps draw water out of the eggplant (resulting in a less mushy texture). It also keeps the eggplant from absorbing more oil. If you try this method, just be sure to salt the slices first, wait 30 mins, then dab the slices before brushing them with oil.[2]


1 eggplant (or 2 small eggplants)
2 - 3 tbsp. high quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice (or juice from 1 lime) OR pomegranate juice
Optional: minced garlic on top of each slice after baking (burnt garlic tastes blah)
2 - 3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Ensure oven racks are adjusted so eggplant slices will be centered in your oven and preheat to 350 F (175 C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or grease with olive oil).
Wash outside of eggplant(s), peel if desired (or partially peel it as shown in the video), and slice into 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick slices.
Place eggplant slices in a single layer on prepared cookie sheet and brush with olive oil. 
Bake in preheated oven for 25 - 35 mins (check after 15 mins and use a tented piece of foil if browning too quickly on top). Undercooked eggplant tastes more bitter.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with minced garlic (if you aren't on a hot date), lemon juice (or lime or pomegranate juice), and cilantro (or parsley). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sliced Baked Eggplant

by Esther Chelebian Tognozzi

Eggplant in Spaghetti Sauce

Credit: Kanko* on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Eggplant in Spaghetti Sauce

Serves: 3 - 4 | Prep: 15 mins | Total: 1.5 hrs

I based this recipe on a fabulous one I found on the Food Network by Kathleen Daelemans called Eggplant and Tomato Pasta.[3] It takes longer than most pasta dishes but the results are worth it. It's perfect for vegetarians and I always seem to have the ingredients on hand.


1 eggplant OR 2 small ones (peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
2 - 3 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. high quality extra virgin olive oil
3 - 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 (28 oz/796 mL) canned tomatoes (peeled and crushed OR diced)
Optional: 1.5 tsp. sugar 
8 - 10 leaves fresh basil (washed and torn)
8 oz. pasta
Wash, peel and cube eggplant. Place in a large colander in a clean kitchen sink and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt.
Fill a large ziploc bag with water (ensure it's sealed) and lay it over the salted eggplant in the colander to weigh it down. This helps to remove excess fluid from your eggplant so it won't be gross and mushy. Leave it in the sink for 40 mins.
In the meantime, prep garlic and basil. I usually cook my pasta at this point since I make extra for other dishes.
After 40 minutes, remove water bag and rinse the salt off your cubed eggplant and pat it dry with clean paper towels.
In a large skillet over med-high heat, add olive oil and then eggplant cubes. Stir-fry until golden brown on all sides (about 15 - 20 mins). Add garlic, tomatoes (including the juices from can), and sugar.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly and then reduce heat and simmer sauce for 15 - 20 mins. 
If you haven't prepared your pasta yet, get it cooking on the stove.
Lastly, add basil to the sauce and stir for 1 minute. Taste first and then add salt and pepper, if desired. Serve over pasta.

Yummy Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan
Credit: Patrick Fitzgerald on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Try a Lighter Eggplant Parmesan

by Sarah Carey (written recipe follows):

A Lighter Eggplant Parmesan

Serves: 4 | Prep: 15 mins | Total: 1 hour


1 large eggplant (I use 2 smaller ones) washed and sliced 
2 - 3 tbsp. high quality extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour (I use gluten-free)
3/4 cup milk (I use unsweetened evaporated milk), using 1/4 cup first
2 cloves garlic (minced)
I cup marinara sauce, using 1/2 cup first (I buy Newman's Own)
1/2 cup grated low-fat Mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 425 - 450 F (218 - 232 C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or grease with olive oil). Wash, pat dry, and slice eggplant (about 1/2-inch thick slices) and place on pan. Brush each slice with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake for 20 - 25 mins, using tongs to flip slices over at the halfway point.
In a small saucepan (NOT over heat) whisk together flour and 1/4 cup milk. This prevents lumps. Add garlic, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, and remaining milk. Whisk over med - high heat until flour thickens sauce. (After it reaches a boil, it only takes another minute or two to thicken). Remove from heat.
When eggplant slices are ready, remove from oven and allow to cool while you prepare a casserole dish.
In a 2-quart casserole dish, pour in 1/3 cup marinara sauce and spread evenly on the bottom. Using tongs, add one layer of eggplant slices and top each with sauce, and repeat until all the eggplant is used up. Top eggplant slices with sauce, dollop with remaining marinara sauce, and top with cheeses.
Bake at 425 - 450 F for 10 - 15 mins, remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Newman's Own Marinara Sauce

Newman's Own Marinara Sauce, 24 Ounce RoseWrites 2014-07-04 4.5 0 5

Newman's Own Marinara Sauce - 24 Oz.

Newman's Own Marinara Sauce, 24 Ounce
Amazon Price: $9.37 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 21, 2016)
I always have a jar or two of Newman's Own Marinara sauce on hand. During the week, I just don't have the time to make my own and I've always been impressed with how fresh this brand tastes. Plus, it's nice to know that all profits from the sale of Newman's Own products benefits charity.