When it comes to my relationship with produce broccoli, cauliflower and even asparagus were love at first bite but like mushrooms, eggplant and I did not start off as best friends. Given it’s less than prominent placement at the grocery store I imagine you might feel the same?
Scientifically a fruit, eggplant gets classified as a vegetable in the TOL house. If you have been trying out a more plant based diet or Meatless Mondays; pushing your produce comfort zone beyond carrots and broccoli can make dinner time more exciting.
Mini eggplants, with their small stature create a fun visual dining experience and feel less overwhelming to prepare than a full sized parental eggplant.
The main issue I had with eggplant was its sponge like center but I found that baking it in the oven turned the flesh tender but not mushy. Pairing eggplant with lemon takes the flavor from bitter to zesty. Rolling these little guys in crispy Panko bread crumbs adds a crunchy texture contrasted by the creamy flesh.
A simple dipping sauce of yogurt, Sriracha and lemon juice adds a bit of heat without overpowering the natural earthy flavors of the eggplant. If you would like to improve your relationship with eggplant give this Toaster Oven Baked Mini Eggplant recipe a try. You may see them in a different more enjoyable light.
Panko Crusted Mini Eggplants
- 5 miniature eggplants
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
- 2-3 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat toaster oven to 425 F and place a mini rack inside of a toaster oven baking sheet.
- Wash and dry mini eggplants, slice green tops off and then slice in half lengthwise.
- Measure panko bread crumbs into a medium ramekin or onto a deep plate or pan. Stir in coriander, salt and pepper.
- Crack egg into a ramekin and beat until well combined.
- To batter the eggplants, take a mini eggplant half and dip it first into the beaten egg and then into the panko crumbs. Use a spoon to shake the crumbs over the top of the eggplant helping it to get coated.
- Place the coated mini eggplant half onto the prepared rack/cookie sheet and repeat with remaining mini eggplants.
- Bake the eggplants at 425 F for 20 to 25 minutes. Pay special attention during the last 5 minutes so you don’t burn the panko bread crumbs.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the dipping sauce.
- In a small bowl stir together the yogurt and Sriracha. Mix in two teaspoons of the lemon juice, if you want a thinner consistency add the additional teaspoon of lemon juice.
- Serve prepared sauce with the warm Toaster Oven Baked Mini Eggplant.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: Half of Recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 197Total Fat: 3.6gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 93.9mgSodium: 453.2mgCarbohydrates: 33.7gFiber: 10.3gSugar: 15.6gProtein: 10.4g