Eggplant, a Versatile Fruit in the Spotlight

I’m so curious what your favorite dish is because one of mine is a dish with eggplant.

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Is Eggplant a Fruit or a Vegetable?

Do you know how to make the difference of a fruit and a vegetable? A fruit contains seeds and a vegetable doesn’t! However, for cooking we use eggplant more like a vegetable, like zucchini and tomato. You can say it is a fruit vegetable.

What is a fruit vegetable? Fruit vegetable are vegetables from which you can eat the fruit. In contrast to most other vegetables, the fruit is eaten and not the leaves, stems or roots. Perhaps you already know other examples of fruit vegetables like tomato, cucumber and zucchini.

The Forgotten Fruit Vegetable

Eggplant seems a forgotten fruit vegetable. It is a beautiful purple versatile fruit vegetable. This eggplant has a firm structure, a pear-shaped fruit vegetable that has surprisingly many uses in the kitchen.

This purple fruit vegetable is widely used in Mediterranean dishes and it is known that an eggplant has a soft yet distinctive taste, that blends nicely with many Italian and Greek dishes.

An eggplant is also a very good meat substitute due to the firm structure and mild taste. I like to share one of my favorite recipes with you!

Choosing your Cookware

Before we start cooking I like to talk to you about the frying pan I’m using. I used to use Teflon coated pans, but I switched those out a couple of years ago.

This dish is cooked in a wok pan, I prefer an enamel cast iron frying pan from Le Creuset, but any ceramic or stainless steel will work just as well. The ceramic pans from GreenLife or GreenPan are a good budget option.

Make sure you don’t use a stir fry pan with a Teflon layer, as it can release toxins in your food. It contains a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coating.

This material is still used in most nonstick cookware, but studies have shown that the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coating on the pans turns into toxic Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at high heat, making it dangerous both for the cook and for diners.


Eggplant with Gratin Topping for Two

eggplant

Preparation time: 60 minutes

Ingredients for 2 persons, multiply ingredients for more people

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil;
  • 1 organic eggplant washed, cut off the crown, cut in half and scoop/cut out the seeds;
  • 1 organic red onion, peeled and chopped;
  • ½ organic red bell pepper, washed and cut into small cubes;
  • 1 organic clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. Ras el Hanout (mix of turmeric, coriander, paprika, cumin, ginger, licorice, cinnamon, cardamom and onion);
  • 1 organic roma tomato, washed and cut into small cubes;
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste;
  • 50 grams of gluten free oat cream;
  • A pinch of white pepper.

Ingredients for the topping

  • 100 grams of MozzaRisella (organic vegan mozzarella cheese) from germinated rice, cut into thin slices;
  • 25 grams of Vegan Sharp Cheddar, grated;
  • 6 Cherry tomatoes, cut into thin slices.

Preparation

Preheat oven to th.6 / 180 C / 350 F

  1. Steam the washed and cut eggplant for 15 minutes in a steamer and let it rest for a while.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a wok pan. Fry the onion, red pepper and garlic at low heat. Then add the Ras el Hanout, the bell pepper, the roma tomato and the tomato paste and add ½ a cup of water. Stir this mixture over medium heat. After 2 minutes add the oat cream. Scoop the mixture occasionally until it becomes a creamy mixture.
  3. Transfer the steamed eggplant in a casserole and brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle some pepper on the flesh.
  4. Cover the eggplant halves with the wok mixture, lay the slices of mozzarisella on top of them, add the cherry tomatoes and finally sprinkle the grated vegan cheddar cheese on top.
  5. Place the dish in a preheated oven (th.6, 180C, 350F) for 25 minutes and check whether the gratin on the aubergine is good of color, otherwise leave it in for another 5 minutes.
eggplant


With this dish I recommend white rice (gluten free) or couscous (non- gluten free) and a sauce consisting of “greek yoghurt*”, garlic and parsley. For a fresh bite I complement with a green salad.

Please share your dish inspirations in the comment.

*) Vegan Yoghurt recipe will be coming soon!

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