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Main Dishes Raw & Fermented

Raw Eggplant Ravioli

Raw Eggplant Ravioli

Eggplants are ready for harvest in the garden, and they are making their appearance in my CSA box too. Eggplants are beautiful, relatively easy vegetables to grow and delicious, diversely nutritious vegetables to eat.

Eggplant Nutrition

Eggplants provide generous amounts of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, copper and thiamin (vitamin B1). They are also a good source of vitamin B6, folate, magnesium and niacin.

Eggplants also contain phytonutrients such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid, the latter of which is one of the most potent free radical scavengers found in plant tissues. Chlorogenic acid is thought to be anti-mutagenic (anti-cancer), antimicrobial, anti-LDL (bad cholesterol) and antiviral.

Eggplants are among the few foods containing sizable amounts of oxalates. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. Therefore, anyone with sensitivity to oxalates or already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating eggplant.

Lastly, folks with arthritis should limit their intake of all nightshade vegetables (which also includes tomatoes, peppers and green-skinned potatoes). Researchers think there may be a connection between joint stiffness and solanine, the toxin in nightshades that makes them somewhat poisonous.

Eggplant Selection and Preparation

It’s a good idea to peel large-fruited or white varieties as they can be more bitter than the other types. Also, before cooking, you should do what’s called “sweating” your eggplant.

After washing, remove the top (and peel, if you choose to do so), then cut the eggplant into whatever size your recipe calls for and place it in a colander in the sink. Salt the eggplant lightly and leave it alone for 30 minutes. Then rinse and use as directed.

Not only will sweating cut down on bitterness, but this technique will also prevent the eggplant from soaking up too much oil if you’re frying it.

Raw Eggplant Ravioli
Serves 2
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Ravioli
  1. 1 small globe eggplant, peeled
  2. sea salt for sweating
  3. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  4. 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  5. 1 tsp. sea salt
  6. 1 tsp. garlic, minced
Filling
  1. 1 cup walnuts (previously soaked and dried)
  2. 2 Tbsp. parsley chopped
  3. 1 tsp. oregano
  4. 1 tsp. thyme
  5. 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  6. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1 Tbsp. nama shoyu or coconut aminos
  8. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
Instructions
  1. Peel the eggplant.
  2. Using a mandolin, slice into 1/8" thick rounds about 3 inches wide. You'll need about 16 pieces of the eggplant, but cut a couple extra pieces for back-up. (This recipe will only use about 2-3 inches of the eggplant, so you might want to think about a second recipe and using the eggplant up in the next day or so.)
  3. Salt the eggplant for about 30 minutes to "sweat" it.
  4. Rinse the salt off of the eggplant, pat dry, and place it in a large non-reactive, glass dish in a single layer if possible (overlapping slightly is fine).
  5. Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pour over the eggplant to marinate. It's a good idea to put a smaller non-reactive, glass dish on top to weigh the eggplant down slightly.
  6. Marinate for 1 hour, flipping the eggplant over half way through.
  7. While the eggplant is marinating, pulse all of the filling ingredients in a Vita-mix or food processor until the walnuts have broken down into tiny pieces and have begun to stick together.
  8. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste.
  9. Remove the eggplant slices and pat dry.
  10. Lay an eggplant round in front of you and add 1-2 tsp. of the filling in the center, being careful to not overfill. Fold the top of the eggplant over the filling and press down firmly on the edges to seal the ravioli.
  11. Place the ravioli on a dehydrator tray and dry about 6-7 hours at 105°F—flipping about halfway through. The edges should be crisp, but the filling moist inside.
  12. Alternatively, you can dehydrate the ravioli in a 200°F oven or carefully fry them in oil.
  13. Top with a favorite sauce, like the Red Pepper Sauce below.
Adapted from Vegan Menu
Adapted from Vegan Menu
Small Footprint Family http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/
Recommended for This Recipe

Red Pepper Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  2. 2/3 cup basil, tightly packed
  3. 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1/4 cup pure water
  5. Stevia, to taste (about 5 drops) (where to find online)
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients in a Vitamix or blender and blend until smooth and well combined.
  2. Spoon over your eggplant ravioli and enjoy!
Small Footprint Family http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/

Photo credit: Vegan Menu

7 Comments

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  • I liked the eggplant raviolis. Very yummy. The sauce was a little runny/liquidy so I’d try a different thicker sauce with it next time. I had a side of raw green beans with evoo, garlic and red pepper flakes.

  • Interesting recipe. I fell in love with eggplants a few years ago when I worked at an environmental ed center with a huge garden. We had so many eggplants I had to figure out what to do with them. I came across a roasted eggplant and tomato salad in a cumin lemon juice dressing… delicious!

    Have you found that salting is really necessary? I never have salted eggplant and never had a problem with bitterness.

    • I prefer to sweat mine when eating them raw. When cooking this step may not be necessary, though I find it does help if you are frying them. But sweating is ultimately an optional step depending on the taste of the chef!

      Best, Dawn

  • Huh. I always thought that raw eggplant could make you sick– I read that the toxins had to be destroyed by heat…

    • Anna, the leaves and flowers of eggplant (and all nightshades) are indeed toxic, but raw eggplant itself is not. The skins can be bitter uncooked, so I often peel mine.

      Best,
      Dawn

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