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Eggplant Japanese Bowl

Why is eggplant wonderful for our gut?

Eggplant, also known as aubergines, are a common nightshade found around the world. When cooked, eggplants take on a meaty texture making it a great option in plant-based cooking. What makes its color so vibrant? The purple color comes from an antioxidant called anthocyanin!

Eggplants are also a low-FODMAP food, meaning they do not have a high amount of fermentable carbohydrates that cause bloating, gas, and constipation. These fruits are also anti-inflammatory, containing antioxidants and phenolic compounds that relieve oxidative stress and reduce bloating. Eggplant is a great source of manganese, folate, and potassium; one cup of eggplant provides 2.5 grams of dietary fiber. Integrating this fruit is as easy as dicing it up into a fresh salad or soup.

Eggplant is one of the most versatile fruits the world has to offer in its application and nutritional value, even though this food is often confused for a vegetable. Eggplant fruit has a high content of antioxidant phenolic compounds that are readily metabolized by our gut microbiomes, specifically hydroxycinnamic acid, which is known to relieve various forms of oxidative stress and inflammatory injury. These fruits are associated with lowering of cholesterol and liver detoxification via bile acid-binding.

Some are concerned because eggplants are members of the nightshade family, meaning there are levels of solanine in the eggplants (the same toxin present in the other vegetables or fruits including tomatoes, white potatoes, paprika, and cayenne pepper). However, the benefits of eggplant far outweigh the risks, as it only contains about 11 mg of solanine, meaning you would have to consume about 12 eggplants to do any real harm.

Ways to eat it:

  • Try grilling eggplant with some garlic and olive oil for a wonderful charred taste!

  • Add it to a rice bowl with other veggies!

  • Make them into fries and dip them with your preferred dip!

Recipe: Japanese Bowl with Eggplant

Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):

  • 1 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked

  • 2 medium eggplants, cubed

  • 1 block tofu, cubed

  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt

  • 1 Tbsp coconut aminos

  • 1 tsp tamarind paste

  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder

  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

  • 2 Tbsp pickled cabbage

  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

  • 1 Tbsp pickled ginger

  • 1 tsp nigella seeds

  • 1 Tbsp tahini dressing

  • 4 heads baby bok choy, chopped


  1. In a medium bowl, add cubed eggplant after pressing out any excess water with a paper or cloth towel.

  2. In a large bowl, add the cooked rice wine vinegar, coconut aminos, ginger powder, tamarind paste, and the cubed vegetables.

  3. Let marinate for 30 minutes or overnight.

  4. Place the cubed vegetables and tofu on a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  5. Bake at 400℉ for 15 minutes in the oven, or in the air fryer on 370℉ for seven minutes.

  6. Add the air fried vegetables, tofu, rice, nigella seeds, tahini, then pickled ginger and cabbage on top.

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7 Surprising Health Benefits of Eggplants. (2017, June 30). Healthline.

Kahlon, T. S., & Chapman, M. H. (2007). In vitro binding of bile acids by okra, beets, asparagus,

eggplant, turnips, green beans, carrots, and cauliflower. Food Chemistry, 103(2),

The Incredible Edible Eggplant. (2017, April 13). The Permaculture Research Institute.

Whitaker, B. D., & Stommel, J. R. (n.d.). Distribution of Hydroxycinnamic Acid Conjugates in

Fruit of Commercial Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) Cultivars | Journal of Agricultural

and Food Chemistry. Retrieved April 12, 2021, from

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