Eggplant Zorba

Main Dishes

A recipe from Veet’s Vegan Cooking School blog.

eggplant zorba

Eggplants (aubergines) – high in antioxidants

What is the story with eggplants? Many are declaring they can’t eat eggplants as they are nightshades. People with autoimmune disease or arthritis are being advised that the alkaloids in nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, tamarillos, capsicums, potatoes) may be harmful.

However, at this stage there is no research to indicate this. Some people cut them out and have a noticeable difference and others don’t.

For those people who don’t have autoimmune diseases, eggplants and other nightshades boast a whole range of essential nutrients and wonderful health benefits.

Eggplants for example are high in antioxidants and rich in the anthocyanin pigment, which can be effective in protecting cells against the damage of free radicals, thus preventing cancer and other diseases. The high antioxidant content also assists in regulating heart health.

The high content of polyphenols in eggplants have been known to reduce sugar absorption, regulating blood sugar levels.

The reason we salt eggplant

Eggplants do contain solanine, which in high doses can be toxic. However, this does not generally occur as high levels of solanine need to be present for toxicity. The solanine can cause digestion issues for some people and that is why many people who have cooked with eggplant over generations have salted eggplant. It is best to salt overnight as this gives the salt longer to release the solanine.

So, my cooking tip (103) is: salt your eggplant. If you are making babaganoush then you cook the eggplant whole. Then there is a different method to get rid of the solanine. If you want info on how to do that please email me.

Eggplant Zorba

The recipe I share with you today is a beauty. The idea came from the Zorba the Buddha cookbook.

It is a vegetarian cookbook and is out of print these days, so might cost more than $150 to purchase. I have had mine for almost 20 years now and actually thought I had lost it for about 10 of those years, but in 2020 found it wedged inside another cook book (it’s such a small book).

It has been my goal to veganise all of the recipes. A goal that will take a long time to reach I think, as this is only the third recipe I have veganised. If you love eggplant this is a must recipe to make and if you don’t love eggplant then still give it a go (Mak does not like eggplant but still enjoyed this dish).

This is a recipe to make for guests, or make on Saturday and then have it to enjoy all weekend long. Serve with cooked brown rice and a salad with a tahini balsamic dressing (1 part tahini, 1 part balsamic vinegar, 3 parts water, add salt).


2 medium eggplants cut in 1 cm rounds
1½ tsp salt
1-2 cups rice crumbs (or bread crumbs)
½ cup soymilk
1 tsp garlic or onion powder
2 large red capsicums sliced
4 big mushrooms sliced
½ bunch spring onions cut fine
Olive oil to fry (you can also use sunflower or avocado oil)
Salt and pepper
2 chillies (optional)
Handful of fresh oregano
2 large tomatoes sliced thinly
½ cup vegan cheese (I used this recipe Cashew Cheese Recipe or you could use the Ricotta recipe)

  • Rub 1 tsp salt into the eggplant slices and place overnight in the fridge, in a container with a lid.
  • Next day, rinse the eggplant to remove the salt and pat dry with paper towel.
  • Place the milk in a bowl and the rice crumbs in another bowl. Dip each eggplant slice in the milk, then in the rice crumbs. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant on each side for 2 minutes or until they have browned.
  • Put the cooked eggplant slices in a baking dish. If you have any rice crumbs left over, fry them in the frying pan until browned a little and put in a bowl. Wash out the frying pan.
  • Sautée the onion, oregano, capsicums, chilli and some salt in ¼ cup water in the frying pan until the capsicums are soft. Add more water if they start to stick to the pan. Remove from the pan when cooked.
  • Cook the mushrooms in a splash of oil and salt and pepper to taste. When cooked, mix with the capsicums.
  • Add the capsicum mushroom mix to the baking dish, covering the eggplant, then add the tomato slices and spoon on the cheese so that each tomato slice has a small blob of cheese. Sprinkle with the leftover cooked rice crumbs. Place in a 180°C oven for 20 minutes to warm up and melt the cheese.

First published on Veet’s blog:

Veet Karen

Passionate and and ethical vegan cooking school facilitator.

Comments are closed.