Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Eggplant

Eggplant – like previous Healthy Ingredients zucchini and tomatoes, is actually a fruit.  However, eggplant is mainly known for its presence in savory recipes like eggplant parmesan, one of my personal favorites.  Due to its bitter taste, many people prefer eggplant drowned in sauce and cheese, but doing so downplays eggplant’s nutritional value.  The fruit is low in calories and high in antioxidant flavonoids such as chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid. It’s also a good source of fiber, potassium, and folate.  Try serving eggplant without ingredients that mask its flavor and health value; the following recipe seems indulgent but is filled with healthy ingredients – the star of which is eggplant itself.

Eggplant Caviar

Ingredients
4 pounds eggplant, halved
Olive oil, for brushing, plus enough to coat the pan
2 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Whole wheat pita wedges, as an accompaniment

Instructions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Brush eggplant with olive oil and roast eggplants at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until soft.
3.  Saute the garlic and shallots in olive oil over low heat until they are translucent and aromatic.
4.  After the eggplant has cooled, remove the pulp from the skins, and place in a food processor and process until smooth.
5.  Place mixture in a bowl and add remaining ingredients along with garlic and shallots.
6.  Season, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve with pita wedges

Recipe adapted from Food Network

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