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  • Writer's pictureKaren Dettore

Aubergine, okay in USA Eggplant

Growing up I was very vegetable selective, yep you know the ones corn, peas, green beans. I would surprise everyone and eat Lima beans and artichokes both with a lot of butter, broccoli and cauliflower, only if they had cheese sauce on them. My grandfather would always try to make me eat mushrooms (sorry! I still can’t eat them cooked), asparagus and eggplant, you couldn’t put enough sauce or butter on them to make me eat them!! The poor dog!!

But then a miraculous event occurred, I got pregnant with Sophia. All of a sudden, I loved eggplant and would order it all the time when we went out to dinner. I also started eating other healthy vegetables that I never thought I would, so she is a blessing two times over!!

Eggplant is a very versatile vegetable, it can be the main course, an appetizer, or just an added flavor to a dish, easily added to your current lifestyle. Also known as Aubergines in the UK, they are a night shade plant just like tomatoes and potatoes. What is night shade you say…they are given this name because they prefer to grow in more shade, and they may flower at night.

The eggplant is considered a fruit and comes in red, green, and purple/black colors. The skin is what gives you most of the health benefits (the anthocyanins like nasunin) in other words don’t peel. So, here is the lowdown of nutrients: 1 cup raw has 20 calories, 5 grams of healthy carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 1 gram protein, manganese, folate, potassium, vitamin K and C. Unfortunately, the cooking progress does diminish some of the nutritional content, but not all.

This beautiful fruit/vegetable is a good source of fiber and polyphenols. Because fiber makes you digest food slower and polyphenols help reduce sugar absorption, eggplant is a great addition to your lifestyle to help reduce blood sugar levels if you suffer from type 2 diabetes. It has also been shown to be effective in animal studies to reduce LDL (the lousy cholesterol) and triglycerides, reducing your chances of heart disease.

Please remember, these benefits are from just the eggplant, if you prepare it with a large amount of unhealthy items, aka. oils and fats, you will lose the benefits. So, prepare wisely!!

As always, I wish you health and wellness!!

I just found this recipe and I love, love, love it!! For you LOL’s this is what I am bringing to the picnic!

Eggplant Involtini

2 – Medium size eggplants

¼- ½ tsp. salt

¼- ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper

½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

¾ cup part-skim ricotta cheese

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper

1 tsp. lemon zest

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. honey

2 cups prepared marinara sauce

Grated Parmesan (optional)

Preheat oven 400°

Clean the eggplant and trim the ends. Cut into ¼ inch thick slices (about 12 slices)

Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray (I use olive oil instead easier to control the amount) lay the eggplant out in an even layer, spray the top with cooking spray (olive oil) and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes and flip…bake another 10 minutes, let cool to touch.

While the eggplant is cooking combine the stuffing ingredients. Mix the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, and honey. Then add the breadcrumbs, mix thoroughly.

Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle place about 2 Tbls. of the filling mixture on one end and roll ending with the seam side underneath. Place the marinara sauce on the bottom of a baking dish (I fit these into an 8”x8” pan) place the rolls seam side down in the baking dish and bake in 400° oven for about 25 minutes.

Serve warm with some marinara sauce and grated parmesan cheese.

Recipe thanks to The Wholesome Dish

My notes:

I added some basil and crushed red pepper flakes to my cheese mixture

My husband said I could put a little less lemon, but I liked it the way it was

You can substitute vegan cheese

Let me know what you think!!

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