The most common varieties of eggplant are found in the United States are Italian and globe eggplant that looks like a teardrop in shape with shiny purplish-black skin and a thick stem cap.
Also, you can find different colors of eggplant from lavender to white and purplish-black, yellow, pale green, reddish, and striped variety.
This purple vegetable is popular for adding color, texture, and flavor to many dishes.
However, for those looking for some healthier alternatives or some food allergies sufferers who may have some dietary restrictions.
Here are five substitutes you can use in any recipe calling for eggplant that gives the same taste and texture as the purple-hued veggie.
What is Eggplant?
Eggplant is a vegetable that belongs to the nightshade family along with okra, zucchini, and tomatoes.
Eggplant grows in different sizes, shapes, and colors, and the plant blooms during the summer months.
This vegetable is available in small globes around 2-inches in diameter to around 12-inches, especially when the tubular varieties grow larger.
The eggplant seeds are easy to cook.
Eggplant is known for its taste and texture, making it popular in dishes like ratatouille, Mediterranean recipes like baba ghanoush and caponata, and stuffed eggplant that resembles the shape of an “aubergine,” or even latke.
It is also used to thicken soups, stews, and sauces and create creamy spreads for bagels and sandwiches.
Cooking eggplants can be tricky because they are not very moist or tender, while some people love the taste while others do not.
The texture of the eggplant is also an issue for some customers since it can be bitter if under-cooked, making them difficult to digest.
However, you can still create great dishes with eggplant substitutes that would taste fairly similar to the dish made by the eggplant.
5 Best Substitutes For Eggplant
1 – Portobello Mushrooms
Most people prefer mushrooms to eggplants; those people can use Portobello mushrooms as a substitute for eggplant.
Portobello mushrooms are commonly available in South America and Europe.
These mushrooms are very popular for their large size and taste like umami.
Portobello mushroom resembles mostly like eggplant as it is also tasted very flavorful like eggplant.
You can use this substitute for eggplants for dishes like red or white pasta, oven-roasted pizzas with parmesan cheese.
This mushroom is also a vegan-friendly substitute that allows you to replace meat because of its supple and juicy texture.
Portobello mushroom can be used as a substitute for eggplant in various dishes effortlessly.
However, you should know that Portobello mushroom is a bit costly in some places where it is imported.
2 – Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake Mushrooms are another substitute that you can use instead of eggplant.
If you do not find Portobello mushrooms, you can also use shitake mushrooms as a substitute for eggplant.
It is mostly found in Asian countries, and these mushrooms are big and taste like umami flavors.
Generally, this type of mushroom can be used for soup, stir-fries, and stew dishes.
The best thing about using Shitake mushrooms is that it has medicinal properties that help various common health issues.
It is used in Chinese medicine; the shiitake mushroom is dried, powdered, and consumed like tea.
This tea can help sick people improve their health issues.
3 – Zucchini
Zucchini is commonly used as a substitute for eggplant since it has a similar taste and texture but tastes sweeter than eggplant.
This vegetable is also quick to cook.
However, zucchini does not have the bitterness of the eggplant.
People who don’t like mushrooms can use zucchini as an alternative for eggplant.
Zucchini is a variety of summer squash, and it is also called a courgette that has a similar flavor and texture to eggplant.
This vegetable was initially grown in Ireland and Great Britain.
Zucchini tastes similar to eggplants when cooked as it also contains a mild flavor and a less mushy texture than eggplant.
Not just that, it is also a very healthy vegetable that is loaded with vitamins and minerals.
It is the perfect alternative to eggplant that gives a similar taste and helps you maintain a healthy diet.
Zucchini can be used for stir-fries, pasta, stew, and soup dishes.
It is also the most common veggie that is used in ratatouille, a French vegetable dish.
Zucchini is the best substitute for eggplant, especially when you cannot find eggplants; it still adds a more flavorful taste to the dish.
Make sure not to cook zucchini too long, as it might lose its texture.
4 – Okra
Okra is also one of the best alternatives for eggplants, especially in the summer months.
The okra has two edible parts: seeds and pods; both taste similar to eggplant.
This vegetable can be used in Asian dishes like stir-fry meals, soups, salads, stews, curries, and much more.
However, okra contains a mild grassy taste, and when it is cooked, it gives a similar flavor to eggplant.
The huge difference between the two vegetables is that okra has a slimy substance not available in eggplant.
You can use okra in slow-cooked meals like casseroles as a thickener.
However, it is not suitable for all recipes as it tastes hostile.
Before cooking okra, try soaking it in vinegar for about an hour and then dry it completely.
This process can remove the sliminess in the vegetable.
You don’t need to soak okra if you use it for fast, high-heat dishes such as stir-fry.
5 – Root Vegetables
If you cannot find the perfect substitute for eggplants, then you can use root vegetables.
Root veggies like turnips, carrots, and potatoes can be used in various dishes to give a similar taste to eggplant.
Try using root veggies in slow-cooked meals that give a more pungent and strong flavor to the dish.
You can also use root vegetables in curries, stews, and casseroles as a thickener.
Also, it is the best replacement for spicy moutabal dip, as most root vegetables can make a perfect replacement for eggplant.
Celeriac, rutabagas, or turnips are the best and easy-to-find veggies.
It is vital to use this root vegetable option in food that requires cooking for a longer time to make sure that the texture softens suitably.
Eggplant is the best vegetable to add to any dish because of its soft texture and mild flavor.
Also, it is considered the best veggie as it engrosses the taste of other ingredients easily.
However, if you are not a big fan of eggplant, you can use eggplant substitutes in eggplant-based recipes.
These substitutes have a similar texture to eggplant and taste close enough to get the flavor of eggplant.
These options can also enhance the flavor of your food, so try replacing eggplants with these vegetables in your favorite dishes for a different taste.
Also, you can use these veggies if you cannot find eggplants in a supermarket.