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Photo Recipe: Baba Ganoush



Did you know that Hindu eggplant is a great variety to use when preparing Chef Noah's Eggplant Napoleon with Pesto Sauce recipe?

Eggplants have been traditionally consumed by people of Mediterranean, European and Asian descent, but spreading popularity of the eggplant has reached many American homes and restaurants in traditional ethnic recipes such as Eggplant Parmesan and Ratatouille.  Eggplant is also one of vegetarian consumers’ favorite meat-alternative ingredients.  We have teamed up with Executive Chef Noah Aguilar of Tubac, Arizona to learn new and scrumptious ways to prepare eggplants of different varieties.  Read on for some easy, healthy and mouth-watering recipes and cooking tips.


Cooking Advice from the Chef

Peeling Vs Leaving the Skin On:
There are many ways to cook an eggplant.  You may peel it or prepare it with the peel.  Some people prefer to peel it and salt it prior to cooking, grilling or baking.  This helps to remove any bitterness and excess moisture in the eggplant.  To do so, simply salt the eggplant lightly on all sides and let sit for about twenty minutes.  Then, pat dry with paper towels prior to cooking. 

I suggest you use a fair amount of olive oil when grilling eggplant.  After peeling and salting it, brush all sides generously with olive oil prior to placing on hot grill.  This gives eggplant a nice flavor and keeps it from drying out.

Deep Frying Tips:
If you opt for frying eggplant (say, for Eggplant Parmesan or in a Mixed Vegetable Tempura), try to use an oil with a higher smoke point, such as peanut or canola oil.   

The smoke point of the oil is how hot the oil can get before it actually starts to smoke.   Some oils can withstand higher temperatures before the oil starts to smoke and break down, giving your foods an off-flavor.

A good tip for deep frying is to take a piece of white bread and place it in the hot oil.  If it turns brown in ten seconds, the oil is at a good temperature for frying.

Some easy grilling instructions are below:


  • Using a potato peeler, remove the skin from the eggplant lengthwise.
  • Larger eggplants tend to have tougher skin, but smaller eggplant’s skin is tenderer, so if you prefer, you can leave the skin on.
  • Cut off eggplant ends and slice the eggplant either into rounds or lengthwise pieces about ¼ inch thick.
  • Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil and season them with salt just before grilling.
  • You may also spice up the flavor by adding other seasonings such as dried oregano, parsley or Italian seasoning mix.

Grilling Directions:

  • Preheat grill and arrange eggplant slices on medium-high surface. 
  • Using a set of grilling tongs, occasionally turn slices until they cook (they will be tender when poked with a fork) on both sides, being careful not to burn them, for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove cooked eggplant from heat, stack slices and wrap them in foil to keep them warm.
  • You may serve them as a side dish, or enjoy them as a meat substitute in sandwiches or hamburgers; simply top the slices with steak sauce and enjoy!