Every time I get an eggplant in my CSA box, I feel like it always turns into an experiment. Eggplant is just one of those vegetables that I rarely reach for on my own when I’m coasting through the produce aisles. But I always get excited when I see one in my CSA box (my box is delivered, so it’s like opening a Christmas present every Tuesday night!). It truly is such a unique vegetable; I mean how many vegetables are bright purple, after all? Although I must admit, I still always feel a bit lost when it comes to dreaming up eggplant-based recipes.

For some reason, this time I started thinking about ways to substitute eggplant for tofu from some of my old standby recipes I love. I wouldn’t necessarily say the texture of eggplant and tofu really remind me of each other, but something about this made me think it might work.

So I decided to try baking the eggplant in a similar way I do for what is my favorite tofu preparation method (see here). I was shocked to find not only did I really love the texture of this dish, but I think I might even like it a little more than baked tofu, depending on what you plan to use this for. The below recipe and method is very easy, quick, and tasty. But there are surely so many ways you could spice this up by, well, spicing up the eggplant. 🙂 And there are SO many ways you could use these little crispy pieces once they are ready. They are awesome alongside some warm marinara sauce and Parmesan, sort of an appetizer or small meal suggestion. I also think this is great in stir fries or curries. I could also see these working well in a sub sandwich situation, like this, or on top of pasta with red sauce and cheese. So basically, love the texture but these go well with other awesome flavors or dishes that come with sauces.

Crispy Baked Eggplant, makes two servings worth (for use in other meals, see above)

1 medium to large eggplant
salt
pepper
garlic powder
2 tablespoons arrow root powder
2 teaspoons olive oil

First, peel the skin from the eggplant and chop into roughly 1-inch pieces (think bite-sized).

Generously sprinkle the pieces with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then add to a bag or bowl and toss with the arrow root powder until all pieces are well coated.

Drizzle a little olive oil to a baking sheet, add the eggplant, and bake at 400°F for 22-24 minutes. Halfway through the bake time, remove from the oven and flip each piece so they will more evenly bake and all sides will get crispy.

Now you’re ready to add these to a stir fry, curry, or pasta dish. Or warm up some marinara and serve these alongside as a little app. 🙂

Notes: You can use cornstarch in place of arrow root powder.

This is best (the most crispy) the day it is made, but if you want to make this ahead and save stored in an airtight container, you can just recrisp for about 5 minutes in a hot oven (around 400°F or even a bit higher).

Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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