This grilled peanut butter eggplant recipe has to be one of our all time favourite side dishes. It’s so packed with flavour that it’s hard to believe it contains only 7 ingredients!
To ensure the eggplant is cooked through, we use a double sided griddle to soften before baking with the peanut butter sauce. If you don’t have a griddle, we recommend grilling for 3-5 minutes.
What are the health benefits associated with eggplants?
Eggplant (Aubergine) is a member of the solanaceae, or nightshade family, along with tomatoes, capsicum and potato. This family has become very controversial as some people are sensitive to foods from this family. As we have discussed, people can be sensitive, or even allergic to any food. The focus on avoiding these foods advocated in some diets dismisses the many nutritional benefits. Some of the key nutritional benefits include:
- Good source of a variety of nutrients, including vitamins including A, B1 (thiamine), B6, B9 (folate) C and K; as well as minerals, including manganese, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
- Protection against Cancer and heart disease. This is dueue to high quantity of anti-oxidant phytonutrients, such as chlorogenic acid.
- High in dietary fibre, whilst low in calories
- Brain and Heart health: The purple skin of eggplant contains an antioxidant flavonoid compound called nasunin. Studies have shown this particular anti-oxidant to protect brain cell membranes, the critical structure surrounding the brain cells that facilitates transport of essential nutrients into cells and removal of waste out of cells, as well as allowing proper message conduction. This same compound has also been shown to have a positive influence on blood vessels, thereby benefiting cardio-vascular health.
GRILLED PB EGGPLANT
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots, cut lengthways
5 sage leaves, chopped into strips
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp Pic’s peanut butter
2 tbsp tamari
1 medium eggplant, cut into slices
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Simultaneously, preheat a two sided griddle.
- Heat olive oil in a heavy based pan. Add shallots, sage and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes.
- Add peanut butter and tamari, stir over low heat for 1 minute.
- Place eggplant slices in hot 2 sided griddle for 3 minutes. (*If you don’t have a double sided griddle, grill 3-5 minutes each side or until soft).
- Line a baking tray. Arrange eggplant slices on tray and spread peanut butter sauce mix evenly over the surface. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Serve on a bed of greens, garnish with parsley and peanuts.
Why do we cook with olive oil?
We really insist on quality when it comes to oils. Many oils come from genetically modified, highly contaminated (through pesticides and herbicides) produce, and have undergone numerous refining processes. This is an area where organic and minimal processing is particularly important. It is also important to store oils in dark glass or in a cupboard where possible to minimise degradation from light.
By far, the oil we use the most is extra virgin olive oil.
• EVOO is anti-inflammatory, attributed in part to the Oleocanthal component, which is a phenolic compound shown to possess non-steroidal anti-inflammatory properties.
• EVOO is exceptionally high in natural antioxidants (rare in oils) protecting against damage through oxidation. This assists with heat stability.
• Studies show that EVOO exerts a neuroprotective activity against oxidative damage in the brain.
However, it is important to note that-
• Not all olive oils are the same. Quality is everything, from the raw product (olives), to processing and storage.
• For the health benefits described, the oil needs to be EVOO. Standard “Olive Oil” is very different to “Extra Virgin Olive Oil”. Standard olive oil has undergone refining processes such as deodorisation and bleaching, involving the use of chemicals and high heat in the manufacturing process. Unfortunately, even when labelled EVOO, some oils are fraudulently diluted with inferior, refined oils. Imported oils appear to be the most susceptible.