Eggplant: All You Need to Know

If you had to pick your favorite vegetable, what would you pick? Is it potatoes? Is it the seasonal greens? Or is it something that keeps you healthy and keeps your diet on track?

Personally, vegetables are not my most favorite thing. But if I had to choose one vegetable I had to eat for the rest of my life, I might just choose eggplant.

The meat lover in me always looks out for options that taste similar. But what does eggplant taste like? My experience with eggplant makes me believe that it is somewhat similar to chicken in terms of texture and tenderness.

What Does Eggplant Taste Like?

Eggplant, aubergine or brinjal is basically a fruit. It belongs to the Solanaceae family. It is scientifically called Solanum melongena. They have two colors: purple and white.

It is a worldwide edible fruit and cultivated year around. Just like tomato, chili peppers and potatoes, their skin can also be eaten after a proper seasoning. But what does eggplant taste like?

what-does-eggplants-taste-like

Eggplant taste like a bland and at best a bitter flavor. It is astringent quality. When infused with spices, the taste multiplies and gives off a pleasant tang. It is capable of absorbing the various cooking oils and enhancing the flavor as a whole.

Eggplant is rich with minerals and vitamins. It also contains a considerable amount of calories. Although it is low on macronutrients, its content in micronutrients is impressively high.

Structurally, eggplant consist of a skin, seeds and a fleshy interior. All of these edible parts give off an exquisite taste and make eggplant tick all the boxes for a perfect vegetable.

Related Reading: What Does Avocado Taste Like?

by Katelyn Yarnell

Different Variations of Eggplant

Eggplant are worldwide available. Differences are seen according to its regions, colors, sizes and names.

Multiple Names: Lots of people call it brinjal, Berenjena, eggplant, Patlican, Melanzana etc.

Regional Variety: There’s a lot of variety in eggplant according to their regions. Chinese eggplant, Thai eggplant, Japanese eggplant are some popular variants.

Variety of Colors: Different colors of eggplant are available. White eggplant, purple eggplant, dark purple eggplant are most popular.

Family Members: The Solanum family also bears tomato and potato and these are nightshades.

Other Variants: Salt eggplant, smaller eggplant, male eggplant, female eggplant, fresh eggplant, ripe eggplant.

different-variations-of-eggplants

Here are some interesting facts about eggplant:

  • Eggplant need to store outside the fridge in a cool place.
  • It is better to avoid having eggplant as raw, as they give stomach difficulties.
  • Eggplant contains 0.01% nicotine.
  • It is a fruit but commonly ate as a vegetable.
  • It grows best in average temperature of 20-25 degree celsius.
  • Originally eggplant are from Myanmar.
  • It is first brought to Europe by Arabs in Spanish Andalusia in 15th century.
  • On an average 110 eggplant grow per plant.
  • Contains 95% of water and 50% of the volume remains as air.
  • Most commonly used in Asian cuisine.
  • White eggplant can grow up to 5 to 6 meters.

Popular Eggplant Dishes

There are numerous recipes of cooking eggplant. As it is a worldwide common food item, people incorporate it with the local spices and relish it. Good thing about eggplant is it can be cooked with anything and everything, almost.

eggplant-lasagna

Some common Eggplant recipes that are internationally famous are-

  • Lasagna
  • Garlic parmesan eggplant
  • Sweet and sour eggplant
  • Easy Greek style eggplant
  • Oven roasted eggplant
  • Parmigiana
  • Eggplant fry
  • Eggplant smash

What Does Eggplant Taste Like?

Skin:

The eggplant’s skin has a bit of bitter flavor that augments as the fruit ages. Eggplant have a thin skin that is deep purple to glossy white on the basis of their variety. The skin is rich in antioxidants and usually is edible except for the mature ones. You can peel the skin before slicing or cubing the flesh easily.

Seeds:

Eggplant seeds are edible and situated on the insides, scattered over the spongy layer. These are bitter in taste and contain alkaloids. Just like the skin, the bitterness increases with its age.

Flesh:

The flesh of eggplant has a rich decadent taste that becomes more earthy, smoky, and meaty after it is cooked. The spongy white flesh is the most desired part for it’s absorbance. Although it is low on micronutrients, it greatly absorbs oil and brings out the flavors.

Related Reading: What Does Elderberry Taste like?

by Shaila Amaraj

What Does Eggplant Taste Similar To?

Funny thing about eggplant is, it taste very versatile. The common vegetables eggplant taste similar to are bottle gourd, zucchini, mushroom etc. It is hard to narrow down its taste similar to one particular word. But, mostly it is bland when undercooked.

Raw eggplant is pretty much tasteless; at best bitter. It has a soft texture and a spongy core. But when baked, cooked or grilled it tastes a lot better. You can see the flavors relished in it as the texture becomes soft, creamy and tender.

If you are into eggplant and like how it tastes, try the mentioned vegetables for a change in your taste.

Does Eggplant Taste Like Meat?

At times you want to take a break from meat and try something different. If you are tired of mushrooms and potatoes or even cheese, try eggplant for a change. If you are a vegan or vegetarian and you want to taste something spongy and tender, you can try eggplant. Even if you are on a diet, you can easily consider this as an alternative to meat.

You can turn eggplant into roast, steaks, grills and everything that can be done with meat. A few food items that are generally made of meat can be made of eggplant too.

How to Eat Eggplant?

One intriguing fact about eggplant is it is a kind of berry i.e. it is a fruit. Hence you can have it entirely. The tender skin, the pulpy interior and even the seeds are edible. Are you wondering how to eat eggplant?

Cut the eggplant in desired shapes. One might as well want to boil or fry it. Try baking them if you want some solid flavor. Roasting or grilling can also be done. Eggplant is something that has many enhancing flavors and can elevate the taste of the food to a great extent. Nothing will go wrong with the eggplant hopefully.

how-to-cook-eggplant

The global availability of eggplant is a good reason why they are a part of most of the cuisines. Every cuisine has found new and fascinating ways of making this berry a part of its menu.

South Asian cuisines like Indian, Chinese and Japanese have different styles of cooking eggplant. The Indian cuisine mixes various vegetables along with eggplant and makes a mixed vegetable item. Many like to have it with fish or seafood. Chinese and Japanese cuisine boils it up to a soup.

The European cuisines also include eggplant dishes as salads, main course and appetizers. American cuisines have innumerable recipes of eggplant with cheese too.

Eggplant Recipes

As eggplant is popular in many regions, it has a number of eggplant recipes. Some of the best eggplant recipes are given below.

Eggplant Kebabs:

Smash a few Eggplant, add up a few spices and herbs. Roll it on that breadcrumbs available at the top of your cooking shelf and fry it deep in oil. You will feel the goodness of the dish as the taste swirls in your mouth.

Eggplant Steaks:

Are you trying to give up meat but still want to savor into some delicious dishes? Are you worried it will mess up your diet? Try eggplant steaks.

Tips: Put multiple layers of it and then you will be able to relish it more.

Eggplant Bolognese:

Inarguably the most famous and delectable dish made out of eggplant are the ones with cheese and Bolognese. Put some parmesan on top of it and you will be delighted to taste this flavorsome dish.

Faux Bacon:

Bacon is a hit food in every American dinner table. For vegans, the alternatives are limited and fail to live up to their limitations.

This bacon is made from a marinade made of Tamari, olive oil, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, liquid smoke, and maple syrup. These ingredients give altogether a smoky and tangy flavor.  The outcome is a crispy bacon that’s rich in flavors.

Grilled Eggplant Burgers:

It is a Mediterranean food where the eggplant are fried or baked at medium high heat. Cheese can be added. Later it is piled inside a bun with lettuce. This is a good getaway for vegans.

eggplant-burger

Eggplant Sloppy Joes:

Commonly made with mushrooms, the eggplant sloppy joes are a favorite meat alternative. You can add lentils, carrots, cauliflowers, or other vegetables to elevate the taste.

Vegan Stir-fried Garlic Tofu Eggplant:

Szechuan stir fried garlic tofu eggplant is the perfect dish to devour into, if you like sweet and sour flavors. Not only this is a good vegan option, but also high on nutrients. The flavors are so good and wholesome that you might want it again and again.

Some people like to have it with rice, and others prefer to have it single handedly.

Oven-fried Eggplant Jerky:

It is quite similar to eggplant bacon. The only difference is, this is made after air frying. The texture of the eggplant is less oily and the seasoning feels a lot awakening.

What Does Eggplant Parmesan Taste Like?

This Italian dish has won hearts of millions and is inarguably one of the most favorite eggplant item in the entire country. Eggplant parmesan taste is every cheese lover’s dream. The soft eggplant melt in your mouth along with the goodness of the cheese.

It is a very easy and doable dish and a pure getaway if you have guests coming over. The recipe is given below.

Ingredients:

  • Medium eggplant
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4th tsp pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese 8 ounces
  • 1/4th cup of chopped fresh basil

Procedure:

  • Cut the eggplant in rounds and put them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and let the eggplant release some moisture.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease 1-2 large baking sheets.
  • 3 Set dishes for dredging and stir flour, salt and pepper in a dish together. Whisk eggs, bread crumbs and garlic powder in a separate bowl.
  • Dredge the eggplant in the egg mixture and then coat it with the bread crumbs.
  • Sprinkle considerable amount of parmesan cheese.
  • Roast for 20 minutes and flip them halfway.
  • Spread marinara on a greased dish and start layering the eggplant slices with mozzarella slices.
  • Add on basil.
  • Keep them for 20-25 minutes till the cheese melts and bubbles to brown.

Your eggplant parmesan is ready to be served. 

What Does Zucchini Taste Like?

Zucchini is mild flavored, and something between sweet and bitter in taste. The sweetness becomes more prominent after it is cooked as the interior becomes softer. Zucchini has been eaten raw or cooked both. But watch out for an extremely bitter zucchini. It may contain high concentrations of cucurbitacin’s. This is also harmful for your health.

Allergic Reactions

Atopic individuals are prone to developing hypersensitivity to eggplant. As a result of which they can have itching, vomiting and sometimes acute cases of food poisoning. Eggplant contain a considerable amount of histamines that may trigger the allergens and cause this hypersensitivity reaction.

Thorough cooking of eggplant may or may not be a solution to this problem. But on usual grounds, people are prescribed with anti histamine medicines and suggested not to have eggplant at the first place.

Conclusion

To conclude, what does eggplant taste like? it is fair to say eggplant are an adjustable vegetable taste like tender, mild and sweet with a slight vegetal bitterness. You fry it, bake it or smash it up, after seasoning it up with your favorite spices, the outcome is extraordinary. You will hopefully like how it tastes and be quite happy with its availability.

FAQs

Does eggplant taste like zucchini?

Eggplant do taste something similar to that of zucchini. You can eat them both in many ways. They even look familiar. One in green and the other in purple or white mostly.

Zucchini also has a spongy interior, that is the fleshy part. The seeds are edible but a little bitter than that of eggplant. The skin is also soft like that of eggplant.

Do eggplant taste like mushrooms?

Mushrooms are of various kinds. The most obvious taste of mushroom is it’s blandness. But if you mix it with some spices, it catches up with the flavor and gets a hold of it. Similar to that of eggplant, mushrooms easily can combine to flavor. Lot of people find the taste of mushroom and eggplant corresponding.

The white skinned kind of eggplant that are cultivated in Southeast Asia are and the elongated North American variety called ‘Casper’ tastes like mushrooms. Vegans take these kinds of mushrooms and in case they want to take a break from eggplant.

What vegetables taste like eggplant?

Anything that tastes bitter and tasteless is almost identical to eggplant. Vegetables like zucchini, mushroom, bottle gourds, yellow squash etc.

Most of these vegetables are dependent on the spices they are mixed with or the way they are cooked in. It tends to adapt to them and bring out a good taste as a whole.

Nuha Adila

I am a health enthusiast who finds fitness as a top priority in life. I like to keep a track of what I eat despite my profound attachment to any spicy food. Being a medical student, looking out for healthier food and lifestyle options has become a habit. And music inspires me while I write.

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