7 Same Great Tasting Eggplant Substitutes

Native to the land of India, this fruit is now recognized as a superfood worldwide. Yes, you read that right, Eggplant aka Brinjal, is a fruit, precisely a berry. However, it is treated as a vegetable in the kitchen. Eggplants are served in a variety of ways, from making a curry to baking and even roasting. 

However, if your tastebuds’ or the one’s around you aren’t quite appreciative of Eggplant, you might consider some other healthy alternatives. Unless you are cooking a specifically Aubergine dish, they can be replaced in almost every recipe.

But, before we start, let’s do a quick rundown of everything I’ve learned about Eggplants until now.

Eggplants and its Varieties

Eggplants have a lot of variety. They differ in taste, color, size, shape, and prices. The most common and inexpensive type of Brinjal is the standard globe one. However, there are more types too. Some of these varieties are listed below:

  • Sicilian Eggplant
  • Chinese and Japanese Eggplant
  • Italian Eggplant
  • White Eggplant
  • Little Green Eggplant
  • Thai Eggplant
Nutritional Value Per Serving (100 g)
Calories 25
Fat 0.2 g
Potassium 229 mg
Dietary Fiber 3 g

 

What is Thai Eggplant?

Thai Eggplants are a cluster of various eggplants used in Southeast Asian cuisines. They are primarily cultivated in India and Sri Lanka.

How to cut Thai Eggplants?

Peel away the upper leaf-like part of the stem. You don’t need to peel the entire thing. Instead, cut into the required shape and let cook.

How to cook Thai Eggplant?

If you spot a mass of dark seeds in a Thai eggplant, discard them. Slicing, soaking, salting, etc., aren’t necessary for this breed of eggplants. 

What to do with Thai Eggplants?

Thai Eggplant is found in a range of recipes, including casseroles and stir-fry ones. The most common dish is Thai Basil Eggplant.

Is Thai Eggplant Healthy?

Yes! Thai Eggplant is very healthy. Some of its most recognized benefits are:

  1. It promotes healthy skin.
  2. It reduces the chance of diabetes.
  3. It boosts the immune system and liver health.
  4. It prevents high cholesterol.
  5. It promotes weight loss.

What is the taste of Eggplants?

Generally, Eggplants are pleasantly bitter to taste. They have a spongy texture that turns somewhat creamy once cooked. Cooking also enriches its aroma and flavor. 

How to remove bitterness from Eggplants?

Before cooking, soak the sliced Eggplant in milk for some time. If you don’t want to use milk, another option is to soak in water with vinegar. If you are short on time, remove the seeds as seeds hold the majority of bitterness.

Eggplant Substitutes

 

What Can Replace Eggplant in a Recipe

Eggplants may be unique in flavor and texture, but they aren’t in a league of their own. Nature has blessed us with alternatives to everything, and Aubergine is no different. I have compiled a shortlist of my favorite Eggplant replacements.

 

1. Zucchini

Also known as Courgette, Zucchini is a herbaceous vine plant. It is harvested when the seeds are still soft, immature, and easy to chew. Zucchini tastes mildly bittersweet. However, cooking enhances its sweetness. Zucchini also tends to soften when cooked. But unlike, Eggplant zucchini is a lot tender, even raw. It is the best substitute for Eggplant in eggplant parmesan.

Zucchini is a nutrient-dense food. It is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In addition, it is highly fibrous and a great eggplant substitute for people suffering from Glycemic Index issues. 

Nutritional Value Per Serving (100 g)
Calories 17
Fat 0.3 g
Potassium 261 mg
Dietary Fiber 1g

Eggplant has more calories than Zucchini. But, Zucchini has more essential vitamins and other nutrients. The Verdict: Zucchini is healthier than Eggplants. 

If you grow your Zucchini or don’t consume commercial harvest, watch out for toxic Zucchini. Sometimes, Zucchini can be packed with cucurbitacins. Such Zucchinis are very bitter and can be detrimental to health. 

Eggplant Substitutes - Zucchini

2. Portobello Mushrooms

Apart from vegetable substitutes, you can also use Mushrooms as an eggplant meat substitute for a vegan diet. Portobello Mushrooms are fat-free and low-calorie. They are a type of cremini mushroom. Portobello Mushrooms have a unique flavor, slightly earthy and smoky, and one you aren’t likely to forget. In addition, they are chewy and have a meaty texture.

Nutritional Value Per Serving (100 g)
Calories 22
Fat 0.3 g
Potassium 318 mg
Dietary Fiber 1 g

Portobello Mushrooms have a long list of benefits. They are packed with antioxidants which reduce the chance of cancer. Especially in the colon, bladder, prostate, lungs, and stomach. Portobello Mushrooms are also considered a superfood. They promote weight loss and promote bone health. 

While you can eat Portobello Mushrooms raw, I’d recommend it’s best if you cook them thoroughly. This will not only intensify their flavor, cooking also removes the carcinogenic Agaritine. Moreover, teens are slightly susceptible to the side effects of ingesting mushrooms. Those can be nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, and increased heart rate or blood pressure. Portobello mushrooms are the best eggplant substitute in ratatouille.

Eggplant Substitutes - Portobello Mushrooms

 

3. Okra

Commonly called Ladies’ Fingers, Okra is a flowering plant of the Mallow family. A good thing about Okra as a substitute for Aubergine is that it’s a lot more nutritious. Okra tastes sweet and grassy. However, its flavor earns more depth with cooking, and the texture changes to something more crispy and light or dense and creamy. You can use Okra as an eggplant substitute in curry.

Nutritional Value Per Serving (100 g)
Calories 33
Fat 0.2 g
Potassium 229 mg
Dietary Fiber 3.2 g

 

Okra is rich in folate and fibers. Therefore, it is incredibly beneficial for pregnant women. Moreover, it regulates blood sugar levels and has anti-cancer properties. However, Okra is mucilaginous and excretes a slimy substance on cooking. To prevent this from happening, keep the pods intact so that no liquid is released. This property of Okra also makes it a good thickener that lends the body to the curry and an eggplant alternative for dishes like soup and stews. In Greece, entire pods of Okra are soaked in vinegar and salt, washed and pan-seared, and combined with tomatoes (more acid) to rid of mucilage. Takeaway: use high heat and acid to prevent slime from forming. 

Eggplant has more fat content than Okra, so if you are going for a keto alternative, Okra is a great option. However, if you take the diabetic drug Metformin, avoid taking Okra as it interferes with the action of the medicine.

Eggplant Substitutes - Okra

 

4. Yellow Squash

Yellow Squash or Summer Squash is harvested when still immature. The trick to tell them apart is by comparing the color. Where Zucchini is green, squashes are bright yellow. This indicates they are still not ripe. Yellow Squash has comparatively more seeds in its flesh. These seeds are perfect for your health as they are rich in fiber and healthy fats.

Nutritional Value Per Serving (100 g)
Calories 16 
Fat 0.2 g
Potassium 262 mg
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g

You may be wondering: Can I use yellow squash instead of Zucchini? The answer is yes! Zucchini and squash may be different on the outside, but they are identical on the inside and taste the same.

Yellow Squash is very healthy and a rich source of Vitamin B6. It promotes good eye health and decreases the risk of depression. Furthermore, it is very beneficial for diabetic people and also favors weight loss.

Such are their similarities in texture and flavor; Eggplant is nicknamed Guinea Squash after yellow squashes. Squash is a good eggplant substitute for pasta. You can easily replace it with more flavorful ingredients without worrying about it tainting the entire dish.

 

Eggplant Substitutes - Yellow Squash

 

5. Shiitake Mushrooms

If you can’t use portobello mushrooms, try Shiitake Mushrooms. Because of high demand, they can be pricey for some. But they have a divine taste. Shiitake mushrooms have a strong earthy and nutty flavor, packed with umami. When cooked, the mushrooms yield a soft velvety texture. Although the stems are pretty tough, cook them long enough, and they’ll turn pleasantly chewy.

Shiitake mushrooms aren’t known for their flavor alone. They are also very beneficial to your health. Not only this, Shiitake mushrooms have anti-inflammatory properties and boost white blood cell production. I’d advise you to cook them before eating. 

Nutritional Value Per Serving (100g)
Calories 34
Fat 0.5 g
Potassium 304 mg
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g

Both Shiitake mushrooms and Eggplant have a high amount of dietary fibers. However, Eggplant takes the lead by 20%. The healthiest way to eat Shiitake Mushrooms is by grilling them. So, you can use them instead of eggplants in such dishes. However, to get the most flavor, saute them for about ten minutes.

Eggplant Substitutes - Shiitake Mushrooms

 

6. Tofu

Tofu isn’t a vegetable, so it would be a great choice if you seek a non-vegetable alternative. 

Made as a product of coagulated soy milk, tofu is made by pressing the curds into cubes. Uncooked Tofu can be bland, but it is an impressive absorber. So, the more spices you add, the more flavourful it gets. Tofu can change from soft to firm and sweet to savory, depending on how you cook it.

Nutritional Value Per Serving (100 g)
Calories 76
Fat 4.8 g
Potassium 121 mg
Dietary Fiber 0.3 g

Tofu shares characteristic similarities to Eggplant such as its quality to absorb flavors, texture, and sponginess. Therefore, you can use it in any dish that calls for strong spices.

Tofu is plant-based and a rich source of protein. It possesses all of the essential amino acids. Furthermore, Tofu prevents diseases of the heart, immune system, and diabetes.

But if you are a woman with hormonal sensitivity, I’d advise you to avoid Tofu. As it can bind to estrogen receptors in the body and cause weak estrogenic or anti-estrogenic reactions.

Eggplant Substitutes - Tofu

 

7. Rutabagas and Turnips

Rutabagas and Turnips belong to the same family. They are similar in looks. However, you can differentiate them by their size and color. Rutabagas are usually larger and have a brown color, but, Turnips are smaller and a motley of white and purple colors.

Nutritional Value (Rutabagas) Per Serving (100 g)
Calories 38
Fat 0.2 g
Potassium 305 mg
Dietary Fiber 2.3 g

 

Nutritional Value (Turnips) Per Serving (100 g)
Calories 28
Fat 0.1 g
Potassium 191 mg
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g

 

Rutabagas are antiaging and a rich source of antioxidants. They promote healthy bowel movements and help with weight loss. Turnips, on the other hand, are packed with vitamins (like A, B, B1, folate, B3, B5, B6, C, E, and K). Turnips are good for kidneys and more so for people with compromised liver health. Moreover, people with kidney diseases can replace Eggplant with Turnip in their diet as it has a meager amount of potassium.

You can use Rutabagas and Turnips as an alternative for Eggplant in stews.

Eggplant Substitutes - Rutabagas and Turnips

 

Other Varieties of Eggplants

If you have developed a taste for a particular Eggplant variety or you are short on another one. You can always interchange different Eggplants with each other. For example, Japanese Eggplant can act as a Chinese eggplant substitute. As they both have deceptively similar tastes. On the same note, you can use small-sized globe eggplants as an Italian eggplant substitute. But, remember Italian Eggplants are sweeter, so globe eggplants will go best in dishes that demand roasting, stuffing, or broiling. You can also use peeled Italian Eggplants as a Japanese eggplant substitute

Eggplant Substitutes

 

FAQs

Finally, I’ll answer some of the questions I’ve been asked the most.

Are Eggplants and Aubergines the same?
Yes! Eggplant and Aubergine are two different terms used to refer to the same thing.
Why is Eggplant not good for you?
Eggplants belong to the deadly nightshade family. Although the fruit itself isn’t toxic, the stems and tubers can be very harmful. Ingesting them can cause nausea, vomiting, burning in the throat, and even heart Arrhythmia.
Is Eggplant bad for kidneys?
Eggplants are full of oxalate and potassium. Although not harmful to a healthy person, they aren’t suitable for people prone to kidney stones.
What is the difference between a Cucumber and a Zucchini?
Cucumbers are usually hard, waxy, and cool to touch. Meanwhile, Zucchini is gritty and warm. They belong to different families and are also different in taste. Cucumber is sweet and watery, while Zucchini has a bitter taste. You can differentiate between the two by looking at their stems. Zucchini has a wooden branch, while cucumbers have a small circular scar.

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