Aubergine, eggplant, brinjal – they’re all the same thing! But did you know they are packed with antioxidants and they’re a good source of fibre? More on this and a great recipe to make below!
Affordable, filling and delicious cooked in multiple ways, aubergines are often underrated for their versatility and flavour. Think grilled wedges, aubergine “chips”, saucy and tasty teriyaki aubergine and, of course, baba ganoush! Here, we talk about the benefits they offer and provide an easy recipe for a caponata – an Italian dish that’s super comforting, can be served on toast or as a side to many meals.
Aubergine health benefits
- Aubergines are a good source of compounds with antioxidant properties, one being nasunin, which is responsible for the fruit’s deep purple colour skin. Yes, the fruit. This plant compound has been found to protect the fats that make up brain cell membranes and fight free radical damage.
- Aubergines are a really good source of fibre. We know that having the right amount of fibre in our diets is so beneficial for a healthy digestive system and including aubergines in your diet is an easy way to get that good fibre in!
- Aubergines are low in calories and thus can form an important part of a weight-loss or management programme. Because they are also high in fibre, they will leave you feeling fuller for longer.
- Aubergines are good for people with diabetes. They are low in sugar and high in fibre and test-tube studies suggest that extracts of aubergine may help control glucose absorption and reduce high-blood pressure. Read more about these studies here.
Try the below recipe as an easy way to get aubergines and other healthy ingredients into your diet. It keeps well in the fridge, in a sealed, air-proof container, for up to four days.
Easy, Healthy Caponata Recipe
What You Need:
2 large aubergines, sliced into 2cm cubes
1 small (or half normal) red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 large red pepper, chopped into 2cm pieces
4 large tomatoes, chopped
4 celery stalks, sliced
Handful pitted green olives, roughly chopped
2 tsp capers
1 tbsp brown sugar or sweetener of choice
50ml red-wine vinegar
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup toasted pine nuts, for garnishing
Fresh basil leaves, for garnishing
1/ Set a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Coat the base with olive oil and once hot, add the aubergine cubes (you may need to cook them in two batches).
2/ Once cooked, remove the aubergine cubes (leaving behind the olive oil) and set aside in a bowl. Add more olive oil if necessary, then sauté the onion for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for two minutes before adding the red pepper. Cook until tender.
3/ Pour in a splash more olive oil, if needed, and return the aubergine to the dish. Add the chopped tomatoes and celery and cook, stirring often, for five to 10 minutes (the aubergine will break down).
4/ Add the olives and capers and stir through with the sweetener and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer slowly, stirring often, for about 20 minutes. Taste test and serve.
Looking for another yummy aubergine dish? Try this healthy ratatouille.