Market Watch: Japanese Eggplant (and an Easy Eggplant Dip Recipe)

Japanese eggplant are a bit small for egg plant parm, but you can make an easy, healthy late-summer eggplant dip instead.

When tiny, cutie-pie eggplants turned up in my CSA box, they were a little small for eggplant parm, but that’s not where my eggplant options end.

The Japanese variety is slim, tender, and just a tad sweeter than the larger, wider kinds. Their skin is somewhat bitter but packed with nutrients. Thinly slicing or a 15 minute soak in salted water helps take the edge off.

When too many eggplants are burning a hole in my refrigerator drawer, I make a batch of roasted eggplant spread. Chunks of eggplant, bell peppers, onion, garlic and a kick from chili pepper melt together in the oven into a flavorful (and figure-friendly) dip for veggies and pita chips.

Roasted Eggplant Spread

Serves 12
2 large eggplant, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large red pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper cut in half (optional)
½ red onion, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup fresh basil leaves
½ cup fresh parsley
1 tablespoon honey
Juice of ½ a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F. On a large sheet pan, combine eggplant, garlic, peppers and onion. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and thyme; season with salt, pepper and toss gently. Roast for 25-35 minutes, turning once until vegetables are slightly golden and tender- set aside to cool slightly. Transfer eggplant mixture to a food processor fitted with a steel blade; add remaining oil, tomato paste, herbs, honey and lemon juice. Pulse until just combined. Serve at room temperature with whole wheat pita chips and cucumber slices for dipping or spread on crackers and sandwiches.

Nutrition Info Per Serving:
Calories: 63
Total Fat: 3.5 grams
Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams
Carbohydrate:8 grams
Protein: 1 grams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 120 milligrams
Fiber: 3 grams
Recipes to Try:

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

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