Eggplant is often used in dishes for its meat-ish texture and just because it’s delicious. But have you ever wondered whether you can eat raw eggplant?
It may surprise you to learn eggplant can be eaten raw. In fact, raw eggplant can be prepared and eaten in a number of different delicious ways.
So in this article, we’ll be looking at the taste of raw eggplant, how to prepare eggplant for eating raw as well as recipes you can try using raw eggplant. Read on to find out more.
Yes, you can eat raw eggplant! Eggplant, also called aubergine, is edible though the leaves and flowers of the plant can be toxic, so avoid eating those.
The eggplant fruit itself is entirely safe for consumption whether eaten raw or cooked. There are a number of delicious recipes you can make using raw eggplant, more on this below.
As a memeber of the nightshade family, eggplants contain an alkaloid termed solanine that can cause some people to experience stomach upset if they have a sensitivity. Many people do not have this sensitivity but it’s good to be aware. This same chemical is also found in other members of the nightshade family such as green tomatoes and even potatoes.
The taste of raw eggplant is notably mild, earthy and can contain a slight bitterness that ranges from eggplant type. Generally raw eggplant is firm with a sponge like texture.
Eggplants tend to take on the flavors of ingredients they are cooked with. So even when eating raw eggplant, the flavors you pair with them will be absorbed by the eggplant. For example, if you use a dressing, or spices to flavor the eggplant.
Asian eggplant varieties, such as Japanese eggplant, are popular for their pleasant and less bitter taste, making them a great option for eating raw. While larger varieties such as Globe can benefit from salting to help reduce bitterness.
All eggplant varieties are considered edible raw. In the US the large grocery store eggplants known as Globe eggplants are the most commonly eating eggplant. Italian and Japanase eggplants are also popular choices for eating raw.
It should be noted that most white eggplant’s peel is especially thick making them undesirable for eating raw. Instead, you can remove the skin to eat it raw.
From long and thin to small and round long with varying colors that range from purple to white, eggplants are a delicious fruit (though often considered a vegetable) that can be eaten raw or cooked.
How To Prepare Eggplant For Eating Raw
Many recipes call for eggplants to be salted prior to eating them raw. This helps to draw out the bitter juices that can develop in eggplants, especially as they age.
If the eggplant is fresh, this step may not be necessary. If you are fortunate to grow your own eggplants, then it should not be necessary at all. However, if you are purchasing your eggplant for a store, then you really don’t know how long it has been sitting on the shelf and bitterness may have developed.
If you prefer to go ahead and reduce any bitter taste from eggplant, then salting, also known as sweating, will be beneficial.
Chop off both ends of the eggplant. Slice the eggplant evenly starting at either end. Depending on how you will use your eggplant, you might prefer to dice them into cubes. Next, sprinkle the eggplant slices with a small amount of salt.
Transfer the salted eggplant into a colander, setting the colander over a plate. Allow the eggplant to sit for around 30-60 minutes to drain and draw out the bitter juices from the eggplant slices.
After the 30-60 minutes is up, pick up the colander and rinse the eggplants with water to remove the salt. Make sure to drain well.
Once drained well, pat the eggplant pieces down with a paper towel. Eat raw or cook to your preference. Try one of the yummy recipes below.
Raw Eggplant Recipe Ideas
If you’re still not sure about eating raw eggplant, have a look at these delicious mouth-watering recipes! A few of them dehyrate the raw eggplant, making it a bit less scary for those who might be nervous about uncooked eggplant. And many more recipes that pickle or marinate the raw eggplant for delicious flavor.
Marinated Eggplant with Rice Vinegar, Ginger and Garlic – by Food and Wine. Marinated in rice vinegar, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, and toasted sesame oil, this recipe is a delectable treat. The raw eggplant is first salted to remove any bitter juices. Then, it’s tenderized with garlic, oil, ginger, and vinegar, and marinated for one day before its delectable flavor can meet your palate.
Raw Eggplant Bruschetta – by The Global Girl. Italian-inspired, this recipe will please any native Italian grandmother!
Taking a gluten-free take on traditional bruschetta to ditch the bread for raw eggplant, this Raw Eggplant Bruschetta makes for nutritious and delicious appetizers for potlucks and parties. Mix together green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, fresh basil, and other Italian herbs for the ultimate side dish recipe using raw eggplant slices.
Allow additional time for this recipe as it freezes the raw eggplant before later dehytradting them.
Raw Eggplant Manicotti – by Plant Craft. Putting a twist on raw entrees, this recipe is easy to make from scratch. Using the flavors of marinated vegetables that meld perfectly together, this appetizing entree utilizes raw eggplant to incorporate a vegetable manicotti shell that holds together all the entrees bursting flavors.
The macadamia “ricotta” blends together macadamia nuts, chives, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. The power of plants is delicious!
Raw Hemp Garlic Pesto Lasagna – by Epic Self. Powered by raw vegetables, including raw eggplant, this recipe is a healthy and nutritious take on the famous and classic Italian lasagna dish.
Using layers of raw zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms, each layer contains pine nut cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto. This hearty dish is refreshing, providing loads of nutritional content with each tasty slice.
Raw Eggplant Ravioli With Red Pepper Sauce – by Small Footprint Family. If your eggplants are ready to be harvested or if you’re looking to try some raw eggplant, this recipe is a must-try.
This recipe is another great take on a classic Italian dish using raw eggplant that are dehydrated. The red pepper sauce combines fresh basil and red bell pepper to make a flavorful pairing alongside this raw eggplant ravioli dish.
Nana’s No-Cook Pickled Melanzane (Eggplant) – by Pip Squeaking. Pickled anything can be quite the pleasure to those that fancy vinegar or in this case, eggplant. This pickled eggplant is the perfect condiment for Italian sandwiches, charcuterie boards, or on top of salads.
This recipe uses Italian eggplant because Italian eggplants tend to be less bitter than globe eggplants. If you can’t find Italian eggplant, Japanese eggplant also works great for this recipe!
Raw Eggplant Salad Recipe – by A Veggie Venture. Toss raw eggplant, olives, capers, and celery together for this raw eggplant salad. The perfect summer salad that is easy to make, this recipe utilizes raw eggplant and a homemade vinaigrette made from olive oil, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
For this recipe, the eggplant is marinated in the vinaigrette to embolden its natural flavors. Some great ideas to pair with this delicious recipe include grated carrot, mini mozzarella balls, red pepper flakes, and chopped fennel for additional flavor!
Marinated Raw Eggplant – by The Rawtarian. An “I can’t believe it’s raw” dish, this recipe is perfect for picky eaters and those that struggle to eat their vegetables. A great recipe to try out for families, this Marinated Raw Eggplant uses raw Japanese eggplant, minced garlic, apple cider vinegar, fresh basil, olive, and chili flakes.
Raw Eggplant Bacon – by Eating Vibrantly. Eggplant makes for some delicious vegetarian and vegan-friendly bacon as shown in this recipe.
These raw eggplant slices are marinated with sweet paprika, chili powder, maple syrup, tamari, and olive for the ultimate dehydrated raw eggplant bacon slides. Make a BLT using these raw eggplant bacon slices or pair it with some fresh avocado toast.