Have you ever tried to oven roast eggplant to end up with cardboard like eggplant that looked pale and tasted nothing like eggplants should? Or may be wanted to try an amazing eggplant dish but panicked at the amount of oil needed for deep frying the eggplant? Here is the solution. Oven roasted eggplants with beautiful color, texture and way less oil.
Oven roasted eggplant
I grew up with deep fried eggplants, my late father was a huge fan of eggplants and he was totally again oven roasting or even pan roasting eggplant. But he had a point, it looked so pale and boring let alone the texture. My mom has her way of frying eggplants that is crunchy outside with an inside texture than it not mushy. But no matter how hard she tried, eggplant still soaks a lot of oil!!
I hated eggplants when I was young, for the fact that when I bite into them they usually ooze with oil and this was seriously disgusting. I've tried oven roasting eggplants too but there was something missing every time.
I also did not like standing in front of the stove all this time waiting for the eggplants to fry properly. This took a lot of unnecessary time and effort. So I really liked roasting in the oven as it saved me time.
Do you have to peel eggplant before you cook it?
My mom always peeled hers, and so I did. Until I think it was 2015 when one of my fellow bloggers convinced me not to. So sometimes I peel it into strips and other times I do not peel at all. But what I am sure of is I have not gone back to peeling it completely ever since.
How do you know when an eggplant is cooked?
Well it depends on you. Some people like it mushy while others don't. So I would suggest testing it with a toothpick, you'll feel the texture of the eggplant and sense it yourself.
How to roast eggplant
What you'll need to roast eggplant
- Eggplant: C'mon what did you expect?!!
- Salt: we'll need salt in two stages first for soaking and then foe seasoning.
- Vinegar: to add to the soaking water for texture.
- Oil: our cooking fat here. Use whatever you like, I always use light olive oil.
- Paprika: and this is the secret ingredient here for this golden magnificent color.
- Cumin: to give flavor to our eggplant slices.
Roasting eggplant in the oven
- Cut eggplants however you like. Round slices, long slices or cubes this recipes works for them all but you have to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Mix salt, vinegar and cold water in a deep bowl and immerse your eggplant pieces for 10-15 minutes.
- In another small bowl or cup mix the oil with all the spices you are using. Do not forget to season with salt and taste for your liking.
- Heat up your oven and while it is heating, prepare your baking sheet. Line them with parchment paper and lightly brush with the oil mixture.
- Take the eggplant slices out of the water and press with a clean kitchen towel to squeeze water out. A salad spinner will be handy in this as well.
- Arrange slices on the baking sheet and lightly brush with the oil mixture.
- Bake in the oven anywhere from 15-25 minutes until they are done to your liking.
- Check for your desired level of doneness using a toothpick.
- Flip eggplants to the other side and brush with more of the oil mixture and bake for another 8-10 minutes
Roasted eggplant tips
- Why do I soak in water rather than just salting? Well I've noticed that directly salting the eggplant might yield a saltier finished recipe for some although it is rinsed and dried. So I feel soaking is safer and then salting the oil to your liking.
- Why vinegar and salt? soaking with vinegar and salt is done for many reasons. To prevent eggplant slices from browning, improve the texture and also cuts the bitterness of the eggplant.
- Drying the eggplant beforehand gives a tastier and better textured end eggplant.
- This recipe yields eggplant slices with a chewy skin and creamy flesh. If you like the crispy outer texture that roasted vegetables can sometimes get, cut the eggplant into smaller pieces.
- Cooking time is very mush dependable on what your needs are. If you like a chewy texture of the flesh cut back on the cooking time. For more crispy skin leave it a little longer but watch out as this can burn or turn into eggplant chips. So better experiment with a couple of slices first.
- You can pretty much change the seasonings as well to match whatever you may wish to eat the eggplant with. Add garlic powder, basil, oregano, lemon pepper, thyme, garlic seasoning, Montreal chicken seasoning,… fresh and healthy every time.
- If you want a little kick to it you can add red pepper flakes before putting in the oven.
- I served mine in wraps with Halloumi cheese, greens and sauce. Serve it on some ciabatta, with feta cheese and some marinara sauce. Or maybe goat cheese and pita chips. Slather some pasta sauce and Parmesan on top for a low carb meal.
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A delightful alternative to eggplant parm, and a lot healthier. Good for a night when you don't feel like putting in too much effort in the kitchen but want something healthy.
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- 2 lb eggplant.
- 1 Tablespoon salt.
- 1 Tablespoon white vinegar.
- 2 liter cold water.
- 1/3 cup oil. Note1
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
- 2 Tablespoons paprika.
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste.
- In a big bowl or pot big enough to hold the water and eggplant slices, add cold water, salt and vinegar stir to dissolve.
- Cut eggplants into 1 cm slices or lengthwise and immerse in the water. Note2
- Leave the eggplant in this soaking mixture for 15 minutes trying to immerse them a couple of times.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl or cup mix the cooking mixture ingredients together.
- Brush the surface of the parchment paper lightly with the cooking mixture.
- Take the eggplant slices out and place on a clean kitchen towel. Press with your hand to squeeze as much water out as you can.
- Arrange eggplant slices on the baking sheet and brush them lightly with the oil mixture make sure to leave about 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture for later.
- Bake in the oven for 15-25 minutes until almost soft to your likeness and browned. Note3
- Take the baking sheet out, flip slices to the other side and brush again with the remaining oil mixture.
- Pop in the oven again for another 8-10 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and use in whatever recipe you have or enjoy a non fried eggplant sandwich.