First of all, I'm not super crazy about eggplant when eaten on its own. Mostly it's about the texture. But when I made this vegan eggplant soup in the first week of culinary school, I realized that I actually loved eggplant as part of an ensemble.
In truth, culinary school not only taught me technique, but also exposed me to new foods. Or in the case of this eggplant soup, new ways of preparing foods I knew, but was absolutely certain I didn't like.
Is Eggplant Bad For You?
For some people, the answer is yes. Eggplant is part of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers and tomatillos.
Nightshades contain alkaloids, including solanine, which can be toxic. Eating the leaves or tubers of these plants can cause burning in the throat, nausea and heart arrhythmias. if you suffer from an auto-immune condition, ask your physician if you can ingest nightshades.
What Are The Benefits of Eggplants?
Eggplants have a lot of nutritional benefits, such as…
Great source of many vitamins and minerals
Support great digestive health
Improve heart health
Help to prevent cancer
Improve bone Health
Help prevent Anemia
Increase brain function
For details on these benefits, go check out this article!
Vegan Eggplant Soup Ingredients
This soup is full of umami particularly from the eggplants, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.
There are a few kinds of eggplant that you may see at your market. I use Italian Eggplant for this eggplant soup. They're smooth and a dark purple. Other kinds of eggplant you can use in this eggplant soup include Graffiti Eggplant (also known as Sicilian Eggplant), which sport purple and white stripes, and long, skinny Asian or Chinese Eggplants. As a note, the long skinny eggplants have fewer seeds and are therefore ideal for grilling.
You only need one tomato and any tomato works well in this soup as long as it's medium-size.
Yellow onions are your best bet here, but white onion should work too. Steer away from red onions for this vegan eggplant soup.
I used garlic cloves in this recipe, but another option is to purchase garlic paste in tubes. The only purchased garlic paste I like is Gourmet Garden's. All others I've tried lack flavor. But seriously, freshly smashed and minced is the best. I purchase a bag of peeled garlic so I don't have to peel the cloves. Because peeling garlic cloves is so fun, said no one ever.
Fresh Herbs and Dried Spices
I use a combination of oregano and thyme from my garden. Marjoram works great too. Rosemary could work well with the flavors, but it doesn't purée well.
Use your favorite pre-made broth from your market (Swanson's is the best IMHO), make you own, or do what I do and use Better Than Bouillon vegan pastes. To use these pastes, measure 1 teaspoon of bouillon for every cup of water added to the soup. NOTE: If you use a sodium-free broth in this vegan eggplant soup, you may need to add additional salt at the end.
Small carving knife (I use a Bird's Beak Knife, pictured below, which has a curved shape for peeling round fruits and vegetables)
How to Roast and Peel Eggplants
Take the flesh that's been peeled and seeded, coarsely chop it, and add it to the pot you're using to make this vegan eggplant soup.
And now, let's make soup!
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Easy Vegan Roasted Eggplant Soup with Tomatoes
- 2 large eggplants, see notes
- 1 medium tomato
- 3 cups chopped yellow onion see noes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano + thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
- 3 cups vegetable stock, see notes
- 1 - 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Score the eggplants 3 - 4 times, and lay them on the prepared baking sheet. Form a little tray out of foil to hold the tomato. Slice the tomato in half across its width. Place the two halves in the foil tray, with the cut surfaces facing up.
- Roast for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the skin on the tomato loosens. Remove the tomato from oven, and set aside until it's cooled enough to handle. Continue roasting the eggplants for another 45 minutes to one hour. The eggplants are done when they feel soft and hollow. Remove the eggplants and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Prep Tip: Chop the onions, garlic and herbs while the eggplants roast. Also, gather all the remaining ingredients, and begin sautéeing the onions per the next step.
- Place a heavy bottomed pot on the stovetop over medium heat, and add the oil and chopped onions. Sauté until completely softened, about 15 - 20 minutes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon.
- Add the garlic, herbs, salt, cumin, and cayenne. Sauté for another 5 minutes to mingle the flavors.
- Peel the tomato, coarsely chop, and add to the pot -- including any juices. Peel and seed the eggplants. Read the notes on how to do this. Add the eggplant meat to the pot.
- Add 2 of the cups of vegetable broth, reserving the third cup. I use Better Than Bouillon vegan pastes, and add 1 teaspoon for every cup of water. Also stir in the balsamic vinegar. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Pour the soup into a blender and purée until smooth. Depending on your blender, this may require 2 batches. Return the soup to the pot. If the soup is too thick, stir in the remaining vegetable broth, and correct for seasoning.