6 Best Eggplant Substitutes

Eggplant is a vegetable that, when raw, is usually butter and spongy but softens as soon as it is cooked. Eggplants are multitaskers suitable for many recipes, from stir-fries to casseroles and eggplant parmigiana.

Some people do not eat this vegetable, and the reason is mostly because of their bitter taste or their health and would therefore need an alternative.

To replace your eggplant in your cooking, the best options you have are okra, squash, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, and other root vegetables.

Although the eggplant has a unique texture and flavor, these substitutes are not totally out of place and can comfortably replace the eggplants.

Stick around while we discuss some of the best eggplant substitutes!

Best Eggplant Substitutes

We have pulled together this list of substitutes, and now, you can pull off any eggplant-based dish without the main ingredient.

1. Okra

The taste of okra is mild, and many people consider it to taste a bit grassy. It has a similar flavor to the eggplant and can therefore serve as an excellent substitute when cooked. The biggest difference is that the okra provides your dish with a slimy feel while the eggplant does not.

In meals that require slow cooking, like the casseroles, the okra is used to replace the eggplant as a thickener, but apart from that, the okra can taste a bit unpleasant.

If you do not need all that slime in your meal, you can soak your okra in vinegar for about an hour thoroughly and then pat it dry before cooking; this would help draw out all or most of the mucilage.

If you are going to be cooking your meal under high heat, you wouldn’t need to soak it in vinegar because the high heat can naturally pull out all the mucilage from the meal before it gets ready.

See Also: Best Relish Substitutes

2. Zucchini

Zucchini, also known as a courgette, is a summer squash variety that shares a similar taste with the eggplant.

But the only major difference with this also is that if cooked too long, it can get soft- cooking time affects the taste of the zucchini, and for this reason, sometimes making use of it as a substitute for the eggplant in some dishes doesn’t work out.

The beauty of the zucchini, when used as a substitute, is that it doesn’t take the center space meant for the main dish, unlike the eggplant; instead, it absorbs the flavor of the other substitutes and balances them nicely.

Eggplants are more suited to recipes like gluten-free lasagnas, while you can use the zucchini in stews, soups, stir-fries, and even your all-time favorite, pasta.

3. Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms do not just bring the regular eggplant-substitute-like flavor. Instead, it brings an umami-packed flavor to your dish.

If your mission is to closely mimic the eggplant in a recipe, these mushrooms won’t be the best option, but flavor-wise, they can serve as excellent substitutes in a wide range of recipes.

Portobello mushrooms are also known to have a juicy flavor, and for that reason, they can be served as a meaty substitute for vegan dishes.

Some local ingredients that are mostly paired with the eggplant in recipes include tomatoes, garlic, and even peppers, and these portobello mushrooms can also pair perfectly with them all.

If you can get these mushrooms anywhere near you, you can try the shiitake mushrooms. These mushrooms are also not suitable for dishes that require long slices of eggplant, and you can use the zucchini instead.

4. Summer Squash

Some summer squashes like the pattypan or yellow squash are good substitutes for the eggplant, and if you want to bulk up your recipe, they are also good substitutes in bulk. Some suitable recipes for this vegetable include stir-fries, casseroles, and ratatouilles.

The summer squash is another substitute that won’t overpower the original taste of your original dish. When it comes to stuffing, you can also use larger summer squash slices to serve as a filling.

5. Root Vegetables

root vegetables are perfect substitutes for the eggplant in soups, stews, and sauces and can also be used to make a spicy moutabal dip; most vegetables would work perfectly for this.

Some amazing vegetables you can use include rutabagas, celeriac, spinach, or even turnips, and what’s more, you can find these vegetables available in supermarkets.

See Also: 7 Best Pandanus Leaf Substitutes

6. Tofu

Tofu has a subtle flavor that you can use in both sweet and savory dishes, and what’s more, this substitute is very high in nutrients like iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Tofu is a nice substitute because it has the same texture and consistency as the eggplant, even if it is not the best substitute you can use.

Tofu does not overpower the flavor of the main dish. Rather, it absorbs the flavor of other ingredients and fits in perfectly into the recipe.

Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the curds into blocks with different ranges of softness, and for this reason, tofu is also a good substitute for vegans.

Related Questions

Is Eggplant the Same as Brinjal?

There is no difference between eggplant and brinjal. The eggplant and brinjal are different mare terms used to refer to the same food. Brinjal is just the way Asians use for the eggplant. The eggplant or brinjal is a popular dish in many Indian, Italian and French delicacies.

What Is the Difference Between Japanese Eggplant and Regular Eggplant?

The Japanese eggplants are slightly smaller than the regular eggplant, although they have the same purple-ish skin as the other varieties.

Although these Japanese eggplants also cook quickly, they are not as mild as the Chinese eggplants. Japanese eggplants are great for recipes like grilling and also broiling.

Is Tomato a Vegetable?

This question is very tricky for people who are not nutritionists but actually, the answer to this question is that it is both! Tomatoes were formerly said to be fruits, but nutritionists have confirmed that they can be classified as vegetables.

Fruits are “sweet and fleshy,”  while vegetables describe a wide variety of plants that are not too high in fructose. In most cases, vegetables can be served as either a main dish or a side dish, but fruits are typically eaten as snacks or desserts.

Tomatoes can either be part of the main dish, side dish and also dessert, which makes them suitable to fit into both categories.

Why Is Cucumber Not a Vegetable?

A cucumber is referred to as a fruit, and this might be shocking, but it is also shockingly true.

Normally, vegetables are referred to as food from parts of other plants like the leaves, stems, and roots, while the cucumbers grow from flowers and contain dozens of seeds that can be used to cultivate in the future.

Is Japanese Eggplant Bitter?

Most raw eggplants are usually bitter because of the seeds they produce. Still, the bitterness tends to reduce when cooked because they become soft, savory, and soak up other foods, and that is why they taste good in dishes like pasta and ratatouille.