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Food as Medicine: Eggplant

Eggplant is a nutrient-dense food containing vitamins, minerals and fiber. Eggplant is high in antioxidants that can help prevent heart disease and cancer. Eggplants also contain anthocyanins that can protect against cellular damage. Some studies have found eggplant may reduce blood sugar levels, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.


Simple Chinese Eggplant with Garlic

We are putting a Chinese take on a simple grilled eggplant dish. You may use any eggplant you prefer, but we love the organic fairytale eggplant at Bending Bridge Farm at the Bethesda Central farm market.


  • 12 fairytale eggplant, halved with tops removed

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorns

  • 2-3 star anise

  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 stalks of scallions, finely chopped

  • Optional: 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, lightly grilled sun gold tomatoes


  1. Heat oil in a pan with add star anise and Sichuan peppercorns until aromatic.

  2. Strain out star anise and Sichuan peppercorns, allowing half the oil to cool.

  3. Toss the cooled half of the infused oil with salt, pepper, and eggplant. Mix thoroughly.

  4. Grill eggplant for 2 minutes and then turn, grill covered until eggplant is completely tender. Depending on the size of your eggplant, this could take up to 5 minutes.

  5. Place grilled eggplant into a serving dish.

  6. Optional: Add grilled sun gold tomatoes to eggplant

  7. Reheat reserved infused oil.

  8. Place the crushed garlic and scallions in a small pile on top of the eggplant.

  9. Optional: Pour soy sauce on top of garlic.

  10. When oil is hot, pour over crushed garlic. The garlic should sizzle but may not be cooked through.

  11. Mix all the ingredients lightly and enjoy.



Jing, P., Qian, B., Zhao, S., Qi, X., Ye, L., Mónica Giusti, M., & Wang, X. (2015). Effect of glycosylation patterns of Chinese eggplant anthocyanins and other derivatives on antioxidant effectiveness in human colon cell lines. Food chemistry, 172, 183–189.

Noda, Y., Kaneyuki, T., Igarashi, K., Mori, A., & Packer, L. (1998). Antioxidant activity of nasunin, an anthocyanin in eggplant. Research communications in molecular pathology and pharmacology, 102(2), 175–187.

Sadilova, E., Stintzing, F. C., & Carle, R. (2006). Anthocyanins, colour and antioxidant properties of eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) and violet pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) peel extracts. Zeitschrift fur Naturforschung. C, Journal of biosciences, 61(7-8), 527–535.

Das, S., Raychaudhuri, U., Falchi, M., Bertelli, A., Braga, P. C., & Das, D. K. (2011). Cardioprotective properties of raw and cooked eggplant (Solanum melongena L). Food & function, 2(7), 395–399.

Kwon, Y. I., Apostolidis, E., & Shetty, K. (2008). In vitro studies of eggplant (Solanum melongena) phenolics as inhibitors of key enzymes relevant for type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Bioresource technology, 99(8), 2981–2988.



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