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Italian eggplant is the natural choice for classics like ratatouille and eggplant Parmesan, but varieties in different colors and shapes can be used interchangeably in many recipes. Prized for its dense, hearty texture and the ability to soak up flavor (it's ideal for grilling), this veggie can take the starring role in your next meatless meal.
Peak Season: July to October
How to select: Eggplant should have smooth skin and feel heavy for its size.
Price: $1 to $5 per pound
Keep it fresh: Store in your refrigerator's crisper drawer for 5 to 7 days.
Pairs well with: Tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, chickpeas, mint, basil
Creative Uses: Add Japanese eggplant to Thai coconut curry. Or chop and stir-fry with baby bok choy and bell peppers.
Nutrition highlights: Eggplant is rich in chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant compound that may aid in weight loss and regulation of lipid metabolism, as well as the anthocyanin phytonutrient, nasunin, which safeguards brain cell membranes.