Eggplants are nutrient-packed and make a terrific addition to a healthy diet. Besides being high in fiber and many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins B6, C, and K, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, and niacin, they are low in calories and fat.
However, many common ways to prepare eggplant may seem less nutrient-dense, particularly in recipes like eggplant Parmesan and where cooking eggplant is fried. Therefore, you might wonder, “Can I eat eggplant raw?” Eggplant belongs to the Nightshade family, and it may make you think to stop eating these vegetables because of this.
In our guide, you can learn more about eating raw eggplant, especially the Asian varieties like Thai or Japanese eggplants. By the end, you’ll find these eggplants are not as bitter as your regular purple-black variety. You’ll also see the right way to prepare your eggplants for eating raw in salads or cooking and a few recipes you can test. (Read Polka Dot Plant Life Span)
Can I Eat Raw Eggplant Plants?
You can eat raw eggplant, also called aubergine, although you should avoid eating any leaves and flowers as these contain a toxic substance that can lead to digestive issues at the very least.
Eating the actual eggplant fruit, whether raw or cooked, is completely safe, and you can use raw eggplant in several delicious recipes. As a member of the nightshade family, eggplants contain the alkaloid solanine, which, in sensitive individuals, can cause stomach upset.
Although many people lack this sensitivity, being alert is still a good idea. Other nightshade family members, including green tomatoes and even potatoes, have the same toxin, and it’s wise to avoid eating these if you have such a sensitivity.
What Does Raw Eggplant Taste Like?
Raw eggplant has a distinctively mild, earthy eggplant that can occasionally have a slightly bitter taste depending on the kind. Raw eggplant has a texture that is firm and sponge-like.
When cooked, eggplants often pick up the taste of other foods; therefore, even while eating raw eggplant, the flavors you match with them will be absorbed by the eggplant. For instance, if you flavor the eggplant with spices or strong-tasting veggies in salads.
Asian eggplant varieties are well known for having a less bitter and agreeable flavor, making them an excellent choice for eating raw. Japanese eggplant is one such variety.
Can All Types Of Eggplant Be Eaten Raw?
All varieties of eggplant are considered safe to eat raw. The most popular eggplant for eating in the US are such plants sold in grocery stores under the name Globe eggplants. Eating raw eggplants from Italy and Japan is also very common.
Most white eggplants have thick skins, making them unsuitable for eating raw. To eat it raw, you can take off the skin. Eggplants are delicious fruit (though frequently mistaken for a vegetable) that may be eaten raw or cooked.
How To Prepare Eggplant For Eating Raw
Before you have consumed raw eggplant, you may find it bitter and tough. Here are the steps to salt the vegetable to improve flavor and texture when you eat raw eggplant.
- Trim the eggplant’s ends with a knife. Starting at either end, cut the eggplant into even slices.
- Next, add a tiny bit of salt to the eggplant slices.
- Place a colander over a plate and add the salted eggplant to the colander. The bitter fluids from the eggplant slices should drain and be drawn out by allowing the eggplant to settle for around 30 to 60 minutes.
- Pick up the colander and rinse the eggplants with water to eliminate the salt once the time is up. Be sure to drain thoroughly.
- When the eggplant pieces are thoroughly drained, pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Eat as you like, whether raw or cooked.
Raw Eggplant Recipes
Check out these delicious, mouthwatering recipes if you’re still sure about eating raw eggplant.
Several recipes dehydrate the raw eggplant, which helps those who could be scared of uncooked eggplant feel less uneasy. You can find a delicious flavor in other recipes where pickle or marinade raw eggplant. (Learn How Long Do Basil Plants Live)
1. Raw Eggplant Manicotti
With this dish, raw entrees are given a new twist. This tasty dish uses raw eggplant to create a vegetable manicotti shell. Macadamia nuts, chives, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper are combined to make this a one-of-a-kind dish.
2. Raw Hemp and Garlic Pesto
This unique lasagne dish is packed with raw vegetables, including raw eggplant.
Each layer has pine nut cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto between layers of raw zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms. Each delicious piece of this filling meal offers a wealth of nutritional value.
3. Raw Eggplant Ravioli & Red Pepper Sauce
This recipe is a must-try if your eggplants are ready to be harvested or if you want to try some raw eggplant.
This recipe uses raw, dehydrated eggplant as an excellent twist on a traditional Italian meal. Along with this meal of raw eggplant ravioli, the red pepper sauce, which blends fresh basil and red bell pepper, makes a tasty combination.
4. Raw Eggplant Salad
For this raw eggplant salad, combine olives, capers, celery, and raw eggplant. This recipe includes raw eggplant and a homemade vinaigrette prepared from olive oil, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. It’s the perfect summer salad, and it’s simple to create.
5. Marinated Raw Eggplant
Anyone who struggles to consume raw eggplant or other vegetables should try this recipe. This recipe includes raw Japanese eggplant, minced garlic, apple cider vinegar, fresh basil, olive oil, and chili flakes, making it an instant family favorite.
How Else Can I Eat Raw Eggplant?
Raw eggplant can be a terrific complement in recipes like pasta with a raw sauce, where the heat of the noodles warms the other ingredients without cooking them. Combine diced raw tomato and cubed fresh mozzarella and add diced raw eggplant. Add hot noodles, extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh basil for garnish.
With some experimentation, you can find variations on these dishes where the eggplant can be eaten raw or eaten cooked if you want to change the texture.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Eggplant?
There are some ways to prepare eggplant that are preferable to others if you decide to eat it when you are expecting; however, eating raw eggplant in large quantities can be toxic.
Here’s more about whether can you eat raw eggplant while pregnant and any benefits or harm you can expect to face.
Is Eggplant Safe During Pregnancy?
Eggplant, also known as aubergine, is a perfectly safe food to consume during pregnancy as part of a balanced diet. The only exception is if you are allergic to any vegetables in the nightshade family, including green tomatoes, raw potatoes, and peppers.
Eggplant is usually cooked in savory dishes rather than raw because it has a bitter taste and spongy texture. Some raw food enthusiasts may slice and freeze raw eggplant, thaw it, squeeze out the water, and then blend it to make dishes.
Raw eggplant contains a toxin called solanine which some people have an allergic reaction to. Solanine can be toxic and even fatal in large quantities and is found in green potatoes.
To be safe, fry or bake aubergines, as solanine won’t be removed when boiling, are the chosen cooking methods.
Can I Eat Eggplant in Early Pregnancy?
Eggplant can be safely consumed during the early stages of pregnancy, as long as you cook it and don’t suffer any allergic reactions.
Health Benefits of Eggplant For Pregnant Women
Eating eggplant while pregnant is beneficial, as it is rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy pregnancy. These include niacin, vitamin A, vitamin E, and Vitamin B complex. Eggplant contains iron, copper, potassium, manganese, folic acid, and dietary fiber. (Learn How To Tell If Rosemary Is Bad)
Eggplant Dishes and Pregnancy Safety
Some everyday dishes that are safe to eat when pregnant include:
- Eggplant dip: Most baba ghanoush is cooked eggplant blended with lemon juice, tahini, and sea salt, all of which are pregnancy-safe ingredients.
- Eggplant pasta: Rollatini is cooked eggplant, which is often filled with ricotta. Ricotta is safe to eat while pregnant, if it has been pasteurized. Other types contain wheat or egg pasta with pieces of cooked eggplant, which are also safe to eat.
- Eggplant parmesan: Eggplant parmesan is made of cooked eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheese.
Can Eggplant Parmesan Start Labor?
There is a common myth from Scalini’s restaurant outside Atlanta that eggplant parmesan induces labor.
The restaurant claims that nearly 300 babies have been born within 48 hours of the mothers having eaten their eggplant parmigiana, but there is no evidence to back this up.
Eggplant Recipe Ideas for Pregnancy
There are many ways to cook eggplant so that it is both delicious and healthy. One way is to bake it with slices of tomato, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and black pepper.
Another way is to coat eggplant slices with olive oil, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, garlic, and parmesan cheese and bake it in the oven. Cooked eggplant also lends itself to being stuffed with couscous, rice, lentils, beans, or ground beef.