The Cheesy Mistake That's Ruining Your Eggplant

Listen, we love cheese, but the "everything tastes better with cheese" mentality isn't always the answer. Smothering delicious produce in too much cheese is a surefire way to ruin your meal. Take eggplant, for example. The oft-overlooked and incorrectly prepared fruit (yes, eggplants are technically classified as berries) brings an earthy flavor, tons of nutrients, and lots of antioxidants to dishes. But despite its many wonderful qualities, the aubergine gets a bad rap for potential bitterness and softness.

Lots of cooks try to hide eggplant's natural flavors and textures and end up overdoing other ingredients, like cheese. And with so many different eggplant varieties, it's tough to figure out the best preparation techniques. Some of the most famous recipes are eggplant parmesans, gratins, and lasagnas, but they come with a common mistake: too much cheese. Mushy, oil-soaked eggplant and lumps of congealed cheese don't do dinner any justice. And, as shocking as it may be to call for less cheese, or no cheese at all, doing so might just save your eggplant feast from becoming a soggy disaster.

Easy on the cheesy

What's the main reason to avoid cheese on your eggplant? The aubergine's absorption powers. Eggplant acts as a sponge for moisture and flavor, so it's important to handle preparation correctly. Sliced, diced, or peeled eggplants easily soak in the high moisture content in soft cheeses like mozzarella and ricotta, so Italian dishes may not be the best option.

If you want it crispy and meaty, consider grilling your eggplant with ponzu sauce. Smoky flavors from the grill enhance eggplant earthiness, and nice char marks add visual appeal. For a simmering vegetable stew with tons of fresh flavor, try eggplant ratatouille; Chunks of eggplant help add body to this hearty, meatless meal. If you're looking for a creamy way to serve your eggplant, try the Mediterranean dip baba ganoush. Blended with yogurt and tahini, baba ganoush is the right way to work with soft eggplant.

There are so many diverse eggplant recipes and plenty that don't call for piling on the cheese. Proper eggplant should be savory, well-seasoned, and depending on the dish, meaty or creamy. So next time you get your hands on any kind of eggplant, go easy on the cheese, prioritize texture, and add complementary ingredients.