Although sweet potatoes are native to Central America while eggplant is native to India, the flavors of these highly nutritious vegetables complement each other exquisitely. Don’t be fooled by their dessert-like taste – sweet potatoes provide a hearty dose of vitamin A, as well as a considerable amount of vitamin C and dietary fiber. And eggplants, which come in a variety of different sizes and colors, pack a flavorful punch for only 15 calories per half-cup serving.Sweet potatoes and eggplants can be cooked concurrently in the oven or on the stove as part of a stew.
Prep the vegetables. Wash the sweet potato and eggplant thoroughly. Peel the skin off the sweet potato with a potato peeler. As for the eggplant, the skin may be left on or taken off. Dice both vegetables into bite-sized cubes, aiming to keep the size of the cubes as equal as possible. You may also wish to prep additional vegetables to cook with the sweet potatoes and eggplant, such as tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, spinach or carrots.
Place a pot or deep pan on the stove and turn the burner on medium heat. Toss the sweet potato cubes into the pot, drizzle with olive oil and stir thoroughly. Put a lid on the pot and allow the sweet potato to cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sweet potato begins to stick to the pan or burn, add more oil or a bit of water.
Add the eggplant pieces to the pot, stirring thoroughly. Also add any additional vegetables or spices. For instance, consider cooking up an Indian-style curry with onion, spinach, cumin, garlic, curry powder, mustard seed, turmeric and cilantro. Or make a Moroccan-style stew with onion, carrots, bell pepper, tomatoes, chickpeas, raisins, garlic, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and paprika.
Replace the lid and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally. If eggplant and sweet potatoes are the only vegetables you’re using, you may need to add water or another liquid such as coconut milk to the pot to keep them sufficiently moist. Cook until the eggplant and other vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork, at least eight minutes.
Decide whether to bake the sweet potatoes and eggplants diced or whole. If you choose to dice them, prep them as directed in Section 1, also chopping up any additional vegetables you desire. If you’re cooking them whole, just wash them thoroughly and pierce their skins with a fork several times to allow steam to escape when cooking.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spray a baking dish, casserole dish or cookie sheet with cooking spray or coat it lightly with olive oil. Place the sweet potatoes and eggplant in the dish, along with any other vegetables or spices, such as garlic. If the sweet potatoes and eggplants are chopped, turn them to coat them with the oil.
Insert the dish into the preheated oven and let it bake, uncovered. If you’re cooking cubed vegetables, stir them at least once during cooking, drizzling on a bit more oil if necessary. Bake the sweet potatoes and eggplant for approximately 45 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a fork. For whole eggplant and sweet potatoes, cooking times will vary depending on the size of the vegetables – the very large type of purple eggplant could take up to half an hour longer.
Some people detect a bitter taste in eggplant, particularly in the larger eggplants. To reduce any bitterness, slice the eggplant into rounds, sprinkle them with salt, let them sit for half an hour and then pat them dry. Larger eggplants and white varieties tend to have tougher skin, so if you’re working with those types, peeling is a good idea. Overcooking won’t harm the eggplant, but sweet potatoes could become too mushy.
Use mitts when removing hot dishes from the oven.