Eggplant is a distinctive and much loved vegetable. Aubergines, as they are known in France, have a deep purple color and a unique taste and texture. But did you know there are five types of eggplants? There are tender baby eggplants, mild Asian eggplants, the familiar purple globe eggplants, the sweeter heirloom white eggplants and the very cool-looking graffiti eggplants. Each one has distinct characteristics that make it most suitable for specific recipes.

Eggplants belong to the nightshade family along with tomatoes, bell peppers, and potatoes. They grow from vines of plants which can grow several feet high. Eggplants are also really healthy as they are filled with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals while being very low in calories.

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These purple jewels are eaten all over the world in savory recipes – just look at these 10 Ways to Cook Eggplant with Global Flavors. It’s no surprise since eggplant has a creamy texture and rich, meaty flavor. They are versatile, can stand-in for meat in any recipe and they make filling and satisfying dishes like this Roasted Eggplant Sandwich with Caramelized Onions, Char-Roasted Eggplant Dip and this Eggplant Crunchburger. For tips on selecting, storing and cooking with eggplant, see 10 Ways to Cook with Eggplant and Do You Really Know How to Cook Eggplant? Here are 10 Ways. There is even more – enjoy these 20 vegan recipes with eggplant, the purple jewel of vegetables.

1. Smoky Eggplant Pasta With Bok Choy and Pea Pesto

Smoky Eggplant Pasta With Bok Choy and Pea Pesto [Vegan]Smoky Eggplant Pasta With Bok Choy and Pea Pesto [Vegan]

The eggplant of choice in this Smoky Eggplant Pasta is white and it is prepared with smoked salt and smoked paprika. It’s topped with a unique pesto made with baby bok choy and peas.

2. Eggplant Fries With Chipotle Aioli

Eggplant Fries With Chipotle Aioli [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

These Eggplant Fries are baked and a healthy alternative to the usual fries. Pair them with this homemade chipotle aioli that packs a flavorful kick. It’s a winning combination!

3. Hearty Eggplant Burger With Vegan Mayonnaise

Hearty Eggplant Burger With Homemade Vegan Mayo [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This Hearty Eggplant Burger has a chia seed and coconut flour coating for a crunchy bite. It’s really easy to make and the vegan mayonnaise perfectly complements it. Add a bit of your favorite hot sauce to the mayonnaise for a nice kick!

4. Seared Asian Tofu With Chinese Eggplant and Baby Bok Choy

Seared Asian Tofu With Chinese Eggplant and Baby Bok Choy [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This Seared Asian Tofu with Chinese Eggplant and Baby Bok Choy is the perfect light summertime dinner with multiple layers of distinct Asian flavors. The tofu absorbs all the flavors, resulting in a fantastic, satisfying dish.

5. Stuffed Baby Eggplant Curry

Stuffed Baby Eggplant Curry [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Mind-blowing is an understatement for this Stuffed Baby Eggplant Curry. The eggplants are stuffed with an authentic homemade curry paste. With peanuts and sesame seeds in a homemade curry sauce, you’ll love it this amazing dish.

6. Delicious Roasted Veggie Moroccan Tagine

Delicious-Roast-Veggie-Moroccan-Tagine (1)

You don’t have to have a tagine to make this Delicious Roasted Veggie Moroccan Tagine. Inspired by travels to Morocco, this dish has perfectly roasted veggies including eggplant and a delicious rich tomato and harissa gravy.

7. Miso Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini

Miso Roasted Eggplant [Vegan]

Here’s a simple and flavorful way to use that extra eggplant and zucchini from your CSA, garden or even just an overzealous shopping trip. This Miso Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini is incredible by itself but would work well as a satisfying side or even the filling of a delicious veggie sandwich.

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8. Eggplant Medallions

Eggplant Hummus Medallions [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Eggplant Medallions are a fun vegan twist on eggplant parmesan. The tender eggplant medallions are topped with sauteed red pepper, spinach, homemade hummus and a sprinkle of toasted breadcrumbs. Make them gluten free by using gluten free breadcrumbs.

9. Lemon and Thyme Baba Ghanoush

Lemon and Thyme Baba Ghanoush [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Baba Ghanoush is one of the most delicious, moreish items to ever grace a mezze spread. If you think you’d never be able to recreate it as tastily at home, try this Lemon and Thyme Baba Ganoush and see how easy it is.

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10. Saffron Risotto With Roasted Vegetables

Saffron Risotto With Roasted Vegetables [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This vegan take on risotto is creamier than any other you’ve ever had, thanks to the addition of cashew cream and nutritional yeast. This Saffron Risotto has a combination of cherry tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini and aubergine that go perfectly with the thyme and saffron.

11. Beguni (Batter Coated Eggplant Wedges)

Beguni (Batter Coated Eggplant Wedges) [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Beguni is the Bengali word for this delightful eggplant fritter, Soft, rich, melt-in-your mouth eggplant is a sensual experience. Coating them with crisp batter translates this experience to a different level where you experience that lush soft flesh without any apparent grease. Simple and just the kind of stuff a chilly evening was made for.

12. Tofu Frittata With Smoky Eggplant Salsa

Tofu Frittata With Smoky Eggplant Salsa [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This Tofu Frittata is so easy to put together, and topped with a smokey eggplant salsa, it is out of this world. The ingredients come together and make the most amazing flavor combinations. Pair it up with a nice spring salad and you are on your way to one fabulous brunch.

13. Eggplant Jerky

Eggplant Jerky [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

As vegans, we must find creative ways to make the foods we once loved. This Eggplant Jerky was created for just that reason. Just a few ingredients and a day in a dehydrator and you have this delicious and healthy snack.

14. Rainbow Eggplant Stacks

Rainbow Eggplant Stacks [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

For as fancy as these Rainbow Eggplant Stacks look, they couldn’t be any easier, relying solely on the simplicity of the ingredients themselves. Crispy oven baked eggplant, topped with a mound of wilted greens, seared mushrooms, fresh tomato, and topped with another slice of eggplant. Just drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.

15. Eggplant Cannelloni

Vegan Eggplant Cannelloni [Gluten-Free]

This Eggplant Cannelloni is totally veganized and gluten-free. It’s also tremendously addictive (but in a good way), and is made with roasted eggplant, vegan cheese and greens, along with homemade sauce.

16. Eggplant Ragout With Risotto

Eggplant Ragout with Risotto [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Risotto is the perfect grown-up alternative to classic comfort foods like mac and cheese. This Eggplant Ragout with Risotto is packed with veggies and will make even the most eggplant-averse eater happy.

17. Eggplant Slices With Tahini Cumin Sauce

aubergine

This dish is simple but so good. Oven-roasted Eggplant Slices are topped with a thick and creamy sauce made from tahini, cumin and parsley. Serve these as a side dish or the main course.

18. Iranian Eggplant and Chickpeas Stew With Coconut-Almond Sauce

Iranian Eggplant and Chickpea Stew with Coconut-Almond Sauce [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This Iranian Eggplant and Chickpea Stew with Coconut-Almond Sauce is the perfect festive dinner. The texture of the eggplant and chickpeas go so well together, and the sweetness of the dates and apricots blend perfectly with the cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and turmeric.

19. Toasted Hazelnut and Eggplant Pasta

Toasted Hazelnut and Eggplant Pasta [Vegan]

Crispy hazelnuts and tender eggplant slices top this simple and comforting pasta dish. Fragrant with fresh oregano and drizzled with balsamic vinegar, this Toasted Hazelnut and Eggplant Pasta makes a perfect rainy day dinner. The crunch, flavor, and healthy fat that’s added makes this dish a winner.

20. Roasted Veggies With Buttery Garlic and Spinach Salad

Roasted-Veggies-With-Buttery-Garlic-and-Spinach-Salad--1200x800 (1)

It doesn’t get much simpler than this Roasted Veggies dish when you want to prepare a wholesome, easy, delicious recipe for yourself. It’s got oven-baked sweet potatoes, potatoes, eggplant and garlic paired with a spinach salad, all topped off with tomatoes, sunflower seeds and bell peppers.

Eggplant is so versatile. Whether you roast it, fry it, grill it or bake it, you’ll love cooking with this purple jewel of the veggies.

Lead image source: Hearty Eggplant Burger With Homemade Vegan Mayo