Eggplant chips with cilantro pesto

Let’s get something straight: eggplant parmesan is delicious. Nobody’s contesting that. But is it the only way to enjoy eggplant? Eggplants are in peak season right now and there’s more to them than just making eggplant Parmesan.  Eggplants can be grilled, steamed, roasted or baked.  Next time you stroll through the farmer’s market and happen upon a table of the gorgeous plants, keep these ideas in mind. With a host of creative plans on hand, you won’t have to wonder if they’ll sit in your produce drawer unused.

Make Chips

Santa Monica-based Gaby Dalkin has an eggplant chip recipe sure to knock your socks off. Prep time is quick—just some chopping and salting, a brush of olive oil, and a little time in the oven. If you’re into dips, Gaby’s also got a cilantro pesto recipe that pairs perfectly. Find the full recipe at What’s Gaby Cooking.

Eggplant Dip – Baba Ghanoush

One of my new favorite dips is eggplant dip, or Baba Ghanoush. Low in saturated fat and with no cholesterol, this healthy appetizer to enjoy with whole wheat pita wedges or fresh vegetables.

1 large or 2 medium eggplant

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)

1/4 cup scallions, finely chopped

Juice of one lemon

1/4 cup chopped parsley


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick eggplant all over with a fork, cut a slit in each side and insert garlic cloves.  Place in oven for 45-50 minutes until very soft. Remove from oven, plunge in cold water to cool or simply wait for the eggplant to cool.

Peel and chop cooked eggplant. Place in a blender with the garlic, tahini, scallions, lemon juice and parsley. Blend until almost smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, sprinkle a little paprika on top. Enjoy with whole wheat pita bread wedges or cut vegetables.

Roast Them

We harvested some beautiful eggplant from the garden recently. Chop into large dice, halve cherry tomato, julienne our “Candy” onion, mince fresh garlic, toss with olive oil and roast until colorful. Sprinkle with  fresh chopped parsley (and cilantro, if your husband will eat it). Great stuff.

Roasted eggplant & cherry tomatoes

***A few tips on eggplants:

  • A two-pound eggplant will serve approximately six people.
  • Eggplants discolor quickly after being pared and sliced, so wait to prepare them until you’re ready to cook them.
  • If you’re wondering if your eggplant is still fresh, slice it open and look at the seeds. If they’re brown, it’s time to compost (white seeds indicate a fresh eggplant, but they also have a bitter taste, so remove them before cooking).
  • Larger eggplants tends to be more bitter than smaller ones. Use large eggplants in dishes with other veggies or meats, and use smaller ones for grilling or frying in cubes.


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