Simple Recipe – Paleo Sauteed Japanese Eggplant with Garlic and Tomato

Paleo Sauteed Japanese Eggplant, one of our simple paleo recipes for beginners

Looking to spice up your rotation of paleo vegetable side dishes? Want a quick paleo sauteed Japanese Eggplant recipe? One of my go-to simple Paleo recipes for beginners or those on Paleo for a while, this Eggplant dish is a tasty meal with surprisingly little effort required

If you are looking for a no fuss recipe or simply love Japanese Eggplant, this is a great down home recipe for a hearty paleo sauteed Japanese Eggplant side dish or main course.

With this recipe, you simply add all of the ingredients into a pot and let it simmer until ready. So the time commitment on your part is very low, maybe 10 minutes at the most. The rest of the work of fusing the flavors is done by the stove as it simmers.

I think people sometimes call this style of recipe where you just throw everything into a pot “dump recipes”. But I have to say dump Japanese Eggplant just doesn’t have the ring I was going for.

Selecting Japanese Eggplant

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If you are not already familiar, Japanese Eggplant is a thinner variety of eggplant with a distinct flavor. It is  increasingly available at farmers markets, health food stores, as well as Asian grocery stores. I personally love the flavor of Japanese Eggplant and tend to buy it whenever I see it.

Japanese Eggplant, sometimes also called Ichiban Eggplant, tend to be about the same size and shape as zucchini. So a good rule of thumb when deciding how many to buy is to purchase the number of Japanese Eggplants as you would normally buy zucchini.

Components of the Japanese Eggplant Sauce

The ingredients needed for Paleo Sauteed Japanese Eggplant are as follows:

Fresh Ingredients:
  • Japanese Eggplant, cut them into 1/2 inch slices
  • Garlic Cloves, smash and peel the whole cloves (add garlic to your own taste preferences – I like to include a lot!)
 Pantry Ingredients:
  • Olive Oil
  • Paleo Friendly Fish Sauce (the Paleo Fish Sauce I’m familiar with is Red Boat)
  • Paleo Friendly Tomato Paste (I have found several Tomato Paste’s sold at Whole Foods where the only ingredients are Tomatoes and Salt)
  • Toasted Sesame Oil (for finishing the dish)
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Water

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Putting it all together

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In a medium to large stock pot, heat olive oil on medium-low heat. Add enough olive oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan and add the smashed garlic cloves.

At this point also add the sliced eggplant, a quarter cup of water, roughly two tablespoons of tomato paste, two tablespoons of Red Boat fish sauce and a pinch of salt. Cover the pot with a lid.

You might want to check on it every 10 to 15 minutes to make sure it is simmering and nothing is burning. Stirring the eggplant every once in a while helps to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom and that the water has not completely boiled away.

Other than that, your work is done – you simply wait for the eggplant to soften to a consistency that you like. Personally I like my eggplant relatively soft, but not to the point where it is extremely mushy. You will want to decide for yourself. If you haven’t had sauteed Japanese Eggplant before, you can taste the eggplant along the way until you are happy with the firmness/softness.

You can taste the sauce as well and add more salt, fish sauce and tomato paste as needed. Add a bit more water to the pot any time you notice the bottom getting dry or the egplant starting to really brown, until you feel you are ready to take it off the stove, at which point a little browning/caramellization can add flavor.

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The finishing touches

Finally, when the eggplant is a consistency that appeals to you and the garlic is cooked to your liking, turn off the heat. At this point, add a few tablespoons of toasted sesame oil based on your own taste preferences. This is also a good time to add pepper, extra salt and extra tomato paste to taste. 

The Final Product – Paleo Sauteed Japanese Eggplant

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Your eggplant will likely look something like the above, with some variation. You may have added more tomato, more oil, less garlic or wanted a more firm version. All are great options. Enjoy!

We hope you found this to be a great quick dinner option. Its definitely one our simple paleo recipes for beginners that we would recommend.

We’d love to hear about your experience with this recipe! Let us know what worked and didn’t work for you in the comments below.