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Written by the YesChef staff
With just some brief Prep Time, here’s how to get your eggplant ready for cooking. You’ll just need a few kitchen tools and simple seasonings such as salt and pepper.
Cut Into Cubes, Slices, or Steaks
According to a common roasted eggplant recipe, the first step is to remove the eggplant’s stem with a knife. After that, slice the eggplant into cubes, rectangles, or steaks about an inch thick. You will want to preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take 25 degrees.
Salt and Season the Eggplant
Before you roast your eggplant, most recipes suggest that you season it. If making cubed eggplant, you can place it in a colander and sprinkle it with salt. If you so desire, you can also add black pepper and olive oil in addition to the salt – and even seasonings like garlic powder and paprika for some extra flavor. (Some recipes state that adding flavor isn’t necessary because eggplants aren’t as bitter as they once were, but this isn’t a consensus view.)
If you had sliced your eggplant into a steak, salt and season both sides of it. Like with cubed eggplant, the Prep Time required to roast steaks of eggplant is also minimal. You can also season your eggplant in a large bowl or wait until the eggplant you are about to roast is spread out on a baking sheet. (Alternatively, you can season your eggplant during the next step, when it is spread out across a baking sheet.)
Transfer to Baking Sheet
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer the eggplant cubes, slices, or steak onto it. This is important when making oven roasted eggplant because the parchment paper will prevent the caramelized outside of the eggplant from sticking to the baking sheet and thus reducing the caramelized flavor.
Roast your cubed eggplant in the oven. Flip it over at some point to ensure that both sides become tender and golden brown. An eggplant roasted at a higher temperature will keep the eggplant interior nice and juicy; you don’t want the juice escaping the eggplant. Remove from the oven when the eggplant is caramelized on the outside and juicy on the inside.
Roast Eggplant Cook Time
The cook time when you roast slices of eggplant (or cubed eggplant) varies. If setting the oven to 400 degrees it may take closer to 45 minutes for your oven roasted eggplant to become perfectly tender; set your oven to 425 and your eggplant should become tender in about 30 minutes.
Another roasting variable is the size of the eggplant – skinnier Japanese eggplants take less time; large globe eggplants longer – and eggplants can take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to roast in the oven. Eggplant artisans generally will preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit on average, with a temperature generally ranging from 400 to 450 degrees.
Unless you load them with oil or with salt, eggplants are pretty healthy to roast. They originated in Asia and India and were brought to Europe during the early Middle Ages, but have been used in traditional medicine for millennia. But why are they healthy to cook?
For one thing, they are low in calories and fat (including both Monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat) and have a decent amount of fiber and potassium. Also, eggplants contain healthy amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, which are antioxidants. There is a good reason why eggplants are an important and healthy staple in many vegan and vegetarian diets.
(Note: When cooking eggplant, consider adding black pepper to your recipe; according to studies, black pepper is anti-inflammatory and is thought to contain antioxidant properties.)