If you're on quest to lose weight or burn fat on a low-carb or low carb diet, you may wonder: Is eggplant low carb? How many carbs per cup does it offer? Can it actually help?
It seems counterintuitive. After all, eggplant is often considered one of the high-carb, starchy vegetables.
But looks can be deceiving! Surprisingly, it's not one of the non-starchy vegetables, but a veggie with low net carbs, a low-calorie count, and numerous weight loss benefits. Let's dig in and uncover why eggplant is an intelligent choice if you're trying to slim down.
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An In-Depth Look at Eggplant Nutrition Facts
Before discussing eggplant's weight loss superpowers, let's review the nutrition basics:
- Calories in one cup of cubed, cooked eggplant: 35
- Total carbs: 8g
- Fiber: 5g
- Net carbs: 3g
Wait a minute - just 3g net carbs per cup? That's an extremely low carb count, especially for a hearty vegetable with a meaty texture.
With only 35 calories per serving, the veggie provides substantial nutrition for minimal calories. This makes it easy to fill up without overdoing your daily calorie intake.
With a winning combo of low net carb count and low-calorie density, eggplant is ideal for low carb and low carb diets. It fits the macros and restricts calories.
But wait, there's more...
Eggplant also offers a plethora of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals:
- Fiber - promotes blood sugar control and gut health
- Manganese & Copper - support nutrient absorption
- Vitamin K - benefits bone and heart health
- Vitamin C - boosts immunity and collagen formation
- Potassium - regulates fluid balance
- Antioxidants like nasunin - reduce inflammation
This stellar nutrition profile makes it easy to see why eggplant can support weight loss success. Now, let's dig into the specifics.
Here's Why It Should Be Your New Weight Loss BFF
With its stellar nutrition stats, you may already see why eggplant can promote weight loss. But here are some of the top specific benefits:
- Low Calorie Density: With only 35 calories per cup, you can eat a large portion of eggplant without going overboard on calories. This makes it easy to feel full and satisfied without sabotaging your daily calorie budget.
- High Satiety Factor: The 5g fiber helps you feel pleasantly full after meals. This satiety factor can curb cravings and prevent ravenous hunger, leading to poor food choices.
- Versatile Low Carb Spin: Eggplant can seamlessly replace noodles, pizza crust, potatoes, and breadcrumbs in recipes. This allows you to cut carbs without feeling deprived.
- Blood Sugar Control: The fiber and low glycemic index help minimize blood sugar spikes. This steady energy makes eggplant perfect for diabetics and pre-diabetics trying to control blood sugar.
- Nutrient Dense: This vegetable boasts high nutritional value. All those vitamins, minerals and antioxidants optimize health and promote efficient metabolism and energy for workouts.
- Anti-Inflammatory: The antioxidants combat inflammation linked to obesity and metabolic disorders.
Eggplant offers a lot of benefits for reaching your weight loss goals. Now, let's explore tasty ways to cook it.
Delicious Ways to Cook Eggplant
When cooked right, eggplant has a rich, meaty texture and savory flavor. It's endlessly versatile for recipes from snacks to main dishes.
Some healthy cooking methods include:
- Roasting – Toss cubes in olive oil, salt, ground pepper and Italian seasoning. Roast at 425F until browned and serve immediately.
- Grilling – Brush slices with oil and grill 2-4 minutes per side.
- Pan-frying – Pan-fry sliced eggplant rounds 3-5 minutes per side for crispy and delicious golden-brown pieces.
- Baking – Place oiled slices on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 400F, flipping halfway through.
- Air-frying – Air fry sliced, oiled eggplant cuts at 370F for 15 minutes for a unique texture.
- Salt and drain raw eggplant first to reduce bitterness
- Avoid frying in batter to keep total carbs low for the eggplant low carb diet
- Cook until soft but not mushy for the ideal texture
Now, let's check out some mouthwatering eggplant recipes!
Satisfying Eggplant Recipes for Every Meal
With its versatility, eggplant can be used in all types of low carb recipes:
- Eggplant hash browns
- Eggplant "toast" topped with eggs
- Eggplant bacon and cheese "sandwich"
- Baba ganoush (eggplant dip) with vegetables
- Eggplant lettuce cups with chicken or turkey
- Eggplant wraps with hummus, tahini or goat cheese
- Low carb Eggplant Parmesan
- Eggplant pizza crust with favorite toppings
- Zucchini noodle eggplant bolognese
- Eggplant curry with cauliflower rice
- Crispy pan-fried eggplant chips
- Caponata (Italian eggplant relish)
- Eggplant energy bites
- Chocolate chip eggplant brownies
- Eggplant mug cake
- Eggplant chia seed pudding
With its versatility, eggplant can transform your low carb cooking!
Now let's discuss how to select and store eggplant.
Selecting and Storing Eggplant
To enjoy the best quality eggplant:
- Look for smooth, firm skin without brown spots or blemishes
- Store whole eggplants at room temp for up to 1 week
- Refrigerate large eggplants in a perforated plastic bag to ensure an extended shelf life
- Ensure that cut eggplant rounds are only placed in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days maximum
- Freeze sliced eggplant on parchment paper or a baking tray, then transfer to bags
Choosing fresh, high-quality specimens ensures the best flavor and texture.
Tips for Preparing Eggplant
Proper preparation is critical to get the most enjoyment and nutrition from serving eggplant. Here are some expert tips:
- Choose Firm Eggplants: Pick eggplants that feel heavy for their size with smooth, taut skin. Avoid soft or wrinkled ones.
- Salt Before Cooking: Salting eggplant draws out bitterness and excess moisture for better texture. Slice and salt 20 minutes before cooking.
- Don't Overcook: Aim for an al dente texture. Eggplant turns mushy and watery when overcooked. Test doneness with a fork.
- Bake, Grill or Roast: These dry heat methods are best for low-carb diets. Frying adds more oil and carbs.
- Pair with Strong Flavors: Mix eggplant with bold seasonings and ingredients like garlic, onion, chilli sauce, or cheese.
- Add Acid for Contrast: Brighten up rich, savory eggplant with a splash of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar or yogurt sauce.
These easy prep methods will help you get the best possible results from eggplant.
Creative Ways to Use Eggplant
If you need more ideas on how to enjoy eggplant, look no further! We have outlined some fun, practical and innovative ways to create eggplant low carb-friendly delicacies:
- Make veggie noodles: Use a spiralizer or julienne peeler to cut eggplant into noodles. Toss with pasta marinara sauce for a low-carb swap.
- Blend into dips: Puree roasted eggplant with tahini, garlic and olive oil for a creamy baba ganoush dip.
- Stuff it: Scoop out the flesh, then stuff it with meat, cheese or veggies for a fun twist.
- Grill "steaks": Slice eggplant 1-inch thick, then grill with just oil, salt and ground pepper for a meaty texture.
- Bake "fries": Toss eggplant rounds or wedges in oil and spices, then bake at 425 F until crispy for crunchy fries.
- Make crusts: Press thin slices into a pan for an easy pizza crust or bread crumbs for chicken cutlets.
- Include in kabobs: Thread chunks onto skewers with peppers, onion and meat for colorful kabobs.
- Add to sandwiches: Slice grilled eggplant and add to sandwiches and wraps for a hearty textured side dish.
- Bake chips: Thinly slice, then bake with oil and salt until crisp. Enjoy as a snack or salad topper.
The delicious dish options with this versatile vegetable are genuinely endless. Get creative in the kitchen!
Healthy Eggplant Recipe Inspiration
With the vast innovative and practical ways to enjoy eggplant, you'll need some recipe inspiration to get started. Check out these tasty, diet-friendly low carb eggplant recipes:
- Eggplant Parmesan - Breaded eggplant slices layered with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese or parmesan cheese—the perfect meal for eggplant low carb dieters.
- Baba Ganoush - Smoky grilled eggplant dip with tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.
- Caponata - Sweet and sour Italian eggplant relish with tomatoes, olives and capers for a gluten-free delight.
- General Tso's Eggplant - Crispy eggplant tossed in spicy General Tso's sauce (omit rice) for a flavorful, low-carb dish.
- Thai Fresh Basil Eggplant - Stir-fried eggplant with fresh basil, chilli sauce and mixed veggies, suitable for those with a knack for eggplant low carb recipes.
- Eggplant Manicotti - Blanched eggplant rolls stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach, a low carb diet spin on a classic dish.
- Low Carb Eggplant Lasagna - Roasted eggplant sheets layered with meat sauce and cheese, low-carb Italian food.
- Eggplant Enchiladas - Shredded eggplant rolled up in enchilada sauce and mozzarella cheese, perfect for eggplant low carb enchilada lovers.
- Eggplant Pizza Bites - Mini pizzas with marinara sauce and toppings on eggplant slices, a creative low-carb pizza option.
- Eggplant Fries - Crispy breaded eggplant wedges like French fries, a low-carb alternative to traditional fries.
- Cheesy Eggplant Casserole - Eggplant's meaty texture complements marinara and melted mozzarella, offering a filling, low-carb, meatless option for vegetarians.
Let these free recipes, like cheesy eggplant casserole, inspire your next healthy low-carb meal!
If you're still hungry for more eggplant knowledge, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Is eggplant low in carb?
Eggplant boasts net carbs of about 3g per cup. This makes it an ideal choice for low carb diets.
Is eggplant keto?
Yes, with only 3g net carbs and 35 calories per cup, eggplant is diet-friendly and can be enjoyed by keto dieters.
Is eggplant suitable for people with diabetes?
The low glycemic index and fiber content make eggplant an excellent choice for managing blood sugar. (1)
What is the most practical way to cook eggplant?
Roasting, grilling, baking and pan frying are best to avoid excess oil and carbs from frying, aligning with low carb recipes like eggplant parmesan.
How do you prep eggplant before cooking?
Slicing and salting eggplant 20 minutes before cooking improves texture by drawing out moisture, a critical step for great results.
Can you eat eggplant raw?
Technically, yes, but raw eggplant has a more bitter taste. Cooking improves flavor, texture, and makes it taste delicious. Fried eggplant is also highly delicious.
Does eggplant cause inflammation?
On the contrary, antioxidants like nasunin reduce inflammation, promoting weight loss and overall health.
Is eggplant a superfood?
With its low net carbs, stellar nutrition and immense health benefits, eggplant qualifies as a superfood, especially for low carb and low carb eggplant parm diets. (2)
I hope this comprehensive guide helped demonstrate why eggplant is a weight loss winner, especially for those who love low carb eggplant parmesan recipes.
With its extremely low carb and calorie counts plus powerhouse nutrients, eggplant checks all the boxes for supporting your diet and fitness goals.
It's endlessly versatile in recipes from breakfast through dessert, adding rich flavor and heartiness to dishes like eggplant parmesan.
Also, eggplant helps control appetite and blood sugar, reduces inflammation, and optimizes gut health.
So, embrace this amazing purple veggie and other vegetables in your healthy meal planning for a low-carb lifestyle. Allow the tantalizing eggplant parm meal to help you reach and maintain your dream weight by following a low-carb diet. Bake up an eggplant parmesan tonight and savor the delicious, satisfying results!
- Debra Manzella, R. (2020, June 16). Try this vegetable as a low carb option. Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/eggplant-carbs-and-glycemic-index-1087555
- Streit, L. (2021, February 5). 10 tasty vegan eggplant recipes. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vegan-eggplant-recipes