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Intro to Cooking: Eggplant Pizza


Credit: Pooja Gandhi

If you’ve been a CollegeCandy reader for some time, you know we run our Intro to Cooking series every week, where even the most kitchen-shy co-ed can find easy, yummy recipes to please her suitemates (and sweet tooth!). Well, we’ve changed up the syllabus for Intro to Cooking: you’ll still get the fabulous recipes you love, but we’ll be including background nutritional info on specific ingredients that are must-haves in every college girl’s pantry.

This week’s ingredient: Eggplant!

I can’t praise this vegetable enough. Known for its unique, deep-violet hue and dense texture, eggplant is a perfect choice to substitute an extra serving or two of veggies for your usual bread or pasta. It’s quite filling on its own, and is low in calories (just 27 per 1 cup serving). It packs tons of phenolic antioxidant compounds, which boost the immune system and fight free radicals in the body.

Easy meals:

1. Chop an eggplant into small cubes, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and lay on a baking tray. Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes (or until edges brown and it is soft to the taste) at 350 degrees. Serve as you would potatoes, i.e. alongside a burger, veggies, scrambled eggs, etc.

2. For eggplant parmigiano, slice an eggplant into half-inch disks. Crack four eggs into one bowl, place bread crumbs in another bowl, and coat each disk first in the egg, then the bread crumbs, repeating the process once.  Place disks on a greased baking tray, covered with marinara and layers of mozzarella cheese, in the oven for 30-45 mins on 350 degrees.

The recipe: Eggplant Pizza!

There is perhaps no relationship more sacred than the one between a college student and pizza. Pizza has always been there for you after long nights at the bars, for sharing between friends while commiserating about that hottie track star and his new girlfriend, and for the simple reason that it’s just the easiest, cheapest, and most soul-satisfying food in a two-block radius from every college campus in the free world. Here is a shockingly simple, cheap, and infinitely healthier update on the collegian staple–and the beauty of this recipe is that you can be creative with the toppings!

One large eggplant
One can diced tomatoes
One 8 oz. bag part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz. chopped kaleHandful of sliced mushrooms


1. Cut the stem from the eggplant, then slice in half lengthwise. Use a spoon or melon baller to scoop out most of the insides of the eggplant so you essentially have a cast of the vegetable.

2. Dice the scooped-out eggplant and place in a plastic container to be served later (perhaps in one of the Easy Meals above).

3. Layer the bottom of each eggplant half with kale, then cover with diced tomatoes, cheese, and mushrooms (you might not use all of these ingredients, just add to your liking).

4. Place the halves on a non-stick baking tray in the oven at 375 for about 45 minutes.

5. Garnish with parsley and enjoy! Serves two.

Other ideas for toppings: sausage, peppers, pepperoni, pineapple, anchovies…you name it!

    I have a New York accent, an open mind, an obsession with running, a philosophy degree, a gluten allergy, a talent for remembering peoples' birthdays, emetophobia, a horrible sense of humor, and a collection of Olympics memorabilia.