Eggplant goes from boring to flavorful with this spicy eggplant and green bean recipe. With just a few simple ingredients eggplant is transformed into a hearty vegetarian meal. The level of spicy is easily customized to your preference making this a great dinner option for the whole family!
I’ve had a difficult relationship with eggplant in the past. I would love eating it at restaurants but could never get it to taste quite right at home. But I was determined to figure out how to cook it without ending up with the bitter flavor. I’ve found the best place to buy eggplant in my experience is at the farmer’s market. The usually carry a variety of different types and have given me some great advice on how to prepare vegetables I’m not familiar with in the past.
How to prepare eggplant:
The secret to making tasty and firm eggplant is sweating it before hand. It takes a little extra time to prepare it, but I promise that it is worth the extra time to give you a flavorful meal with great texture. This principle can be applied to making eggplant for any recipe, not just this one. Sweating an eggplant is very simple and only requires salt, a colander, and a little patience.
Using a sharp knife remove the stem of the eggplant and the bottom. This should give you a flat surface on both ends. From here you can slice the eggplant into 3 inch strips. It is more important for the size to be consistent than exact. Place the eggplant into a colander and sprinkle evenly with salt, about 1/2 tablespoon. Don’t worry about this making the recipe too salty, the salt will be rinsed off before the eggplant is cooked. After 20 minutes the eggplant should have sweated out some of its liquid. This will help with remove the bitter taste. Rinse the salt off with cool water and use paper towels or a clean tea towel to pat the eggplant dry.
How to prepare green beans:
While your eggplant is being sweat you can use that time to blanch the green beans. While this step isn’t entirely necessarily I find that it’s easier cook green beans in a skillet if they have been parboiled before hand. Parboiling is simply the process of quickly cooking a vegetable in boiling water to give it a head start on the cooking process. It helps give vegetables that aren’t quite as quick cooking a chance to catch up.
After removing the stems from the green beans and cutting them in half to make them bite sized drop them into boiling water. After about 5 minutes or when they are bright green remove them from the boiling water and proceed with the rest of the recipe, using the green beans as directed.
Tips for using Thai chili peppers:
If you choose to use the dried Thai chili peppers this recipe calls for make sure to take some extra precautions to not burn your eyes and nose. As with all spicy peppers, wear gloves when cutting them and be sure to not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Also, be sure to only cook in a well ventilated area. When the peppers mix with the sesame oil some of the spiciness becomes airborne and can irritate your throat. If all of this sounds too complicated too you or you aren’t able to find any Thai chili peppers, red pepper flakes will work too.
Go ahead and give it a try. Be sure to let me know how it goes in the comments or by sharing a photo on instagram. Be sure to tag the @thesimplesupper with whatever you make!
Eggplant goes from boring to flavorful with this spicy eggplant and green bean recipe with just a few simple ingredients. A healthy vegetarian meal!
- 1 Medium Chinese Eggplant Sliced into 3" strips
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- 1/2 lbs Fresh Green Beans Trimmed
- 1/2 Medium White Onion Diced
- 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper Diced
- 1 Thai Chili Pepper Minced (optional)
- 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1 Tsp Dried Ginger
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Tamari or Soy Sauce
- 1/4 Tsp Fish Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro Garnish (optional)
- 1 Tsp Sesame Seed Garnish (optional)
Prepare the eggplants by removing both ends and slicing it into 3" strips. Sweat the eggplant by placing it in a colander and evenly covering it with the 1 tbsp of salt. Set aside to let sit for approximately 20 minutes.
In a medium sized pot fill with water halfway and set over high heat to bring to a boil.
While water is reaching a boil trim green beans and diced the onion and peppers. If 20 minutes have passed rinse the salted eggplant to remove the salt and pat dry. Set aside.
Once the water has reached a roiling boil add the green beans. Boil them for 5 minutes or until the have reached a bright green color.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the sesame oil, onion, and peppers. Cook for about 5 minutes or until onions begin to soften or become translucent. While they are cooking sprinkle with ginger and salt stirring to coat.
Add eggplant and more sesame oil if needed. Cook for another 5 minutes or until eggplant begins to brown.
Add green beans, tamari or soy sauce, and fish sauce to skillet and stir to coat everything. Cook for an additional five minutes or until all ingredients are tender and cooked through.
Serve immediately and garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds if desired. Add cauliflower rice or basmati rice to make a complete meal.
Red pepper flakes can be substituted for Thai chili peppers or left out all together is no spiciness is desired.