Long prized for its deeply purple, glossy beauty as well as its unique taste and texture, eggplants are now available in markets throughout the year, but they are at their very best from August through October when they are in season.
Here’s what eggplant can do to help you live healthier:
1) The iron, calcium and other minerals in eggplant supply the essential nutrients required by the body. All this, while relishing a highly flavorful veggie, is a good deal, indeed! Stuff, grill, bake, roast, stew your eggplants—they’re delicious in so many ways!
2) Eggplants contain certain essential phyto nutrients which improve blood circulation and nourish the brain. But keep in mind—these nutrients are concentrated in the skin of the eggplant, so don’t throw it away.
3) They provide fiber, which protects the digestive tract. In fact, regular intake of eggplants can protect you from colon cancer.
4) Eggplant is low in calories, with just 35 per cup. It contains no fat and its high fiber content can help you feel full and aids with weight loss.
5) Eggplant is great for controlling and managing diabetes. Research validates this role, thanks to the high fiber and low soluble carbohydrate content of the eggplant.
6) Eggplants have a role in heart care, too. Research studies show they can lower ‘bad’ cholesterol. But you must cook them the right way to get these benefits. Fried eggplant soaks up a lot of fat, making it harmful and heavy. Instead, bake it at 400 degrees, which brings out glorious flavor and gives you all the goodness an eggplant holds!
7) The heart-healthy benefits of eggplant don’t end with limiting cholesterol. Eggplants are high in bioflavonoids, which are known to control high blood pressure and relieve stress.
8) Regular consumption of eggplant helps prevent blood clots—thanks again to Vitamin K and bioflavonoids, which strengthen capillaries.
With the Autumn season here in New England and a trip to my farmers market, I could not resist making a big batch of hearty veggie soup and put my fresh eggplant, zucchini, onions, and tomatoes to good use! I hope you enjoy this beautiful soup and it’s many healthy benefits.
Roasted Eggplant Soup
- 2 medium tomatoes, halved
- 1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), cubed
- 1 large zucchini
- 2 small onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon diced garlic
- 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup orzo
- 3/4 cup (about 3 1/2 ounces) crumbled Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange tomatoes, zucchini. eggplant, onion and garlic on a large roasting pan and drizzle vegetables with oil then roast them for 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and scoop all contents from the roasting pan into a heavy, large saucepan or soup pot. Add stock or broth, spinach and orzo. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add Parmesan cheese.