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Jul 23, 2014 10:26 AM

Replacing chicken with eggplant

Hello! I have very fond memories of Chicken Marballa from my childhood, and want to try replacing chicken with eggplant. I found this recipe and have made the marinade, and am sort of puzzled has to how to cook it with the eggplant, Roast the eggplant first and then pour the marinade on and roast some more? Roast and then fry in a pan? Add some liquid to the marinade and then cook on the stove? Would some other vegetable be a much better chicken sub than eggplant (portabello mushroom?) thanks!

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  1. Eggplant collapses as it roasts, so I would put the marinade on before and during baking. I'd halve them lengthwise, make some crosshatched slashes into the flesh, and drizzle on as much marinade as it will absorb. Use wadded aluminum foil or inverted ramekins to hold the halves upright as they roast. Periodically baste with additional marinade. Enough syrupy liquid will be exuded as the eggplant bakes that the skin will be roasting in the syrup by the time it's done. I'd use a sheet pan and add portabella caps, rutabaga slabs, and halved zucchini or winter squash, treating them the same as the eggplant but taking into consideration that the zukes will take less time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      This sounds good. I guess I have more questions - I have prepared the marinade and there is very little liquid - the dates and olives are soaking things up. With the chicken it wouldn't matter because the chicken is oilier than the eggplant - so should I add more oil? More oil and vinegar? More of everything? THanks for the great ideas

      1. re: supergoldie

        I was thinking the Silver Palate version of Chicken Marbella, which you can google, and compare to the amounts in the recipe you linked.

    2. What about slicing the eggplant into cutlets. Cook the cutlets by whatever method you prefer (broil, roast or saute). And then marinate the cutlets overnight in the sauce and serve at room temperature?

      1. if you're okay with faux meat that is the option I usually do with these kind of recipes.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Rory

          rory, what is the option you usually do?

          1. re: supergoldie

            I'm not rory but i would keep the eggplant idea (sounds amazing!) and add either cubed tempeh or extra firm pressed tofu to marinade to make the dish more hearty. A faux chicken like trader joe's chickenless strips or upton natural's seitan if you like those.
            I think the tempeh would add a nice nutty flavor to the dish

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              you can use quorn chicken breasts (veg wth egg whites) or Trader Joes vegan chicken strips or Gardein etc...I'd defrost them, rub olive oil on them, then put them with the marinade for about 15 mins, then put everything together in the oven or a covered pot on top of the stove for maybe 1/2 hr or even an hour on low, to let the flavours marry. I do this all the time with Italian 'meat' recipes, Greek ones, Indian ones, Persian ones, works a treat.

              1. re: Rory

                I am not going to use meat replacements...

                1. re: supergoldie

                  The issue with many of these approaches is that the substance (i.e. eggplant or tofu or Qorn product) likely won't stand up to extensive marinating and roasting, and will likely fall to mush. Tempeh might be the exception here, which likely wouldn't break down. Otherwise, I would probably prepare the eggplant separately (e.g. bread/fry) and bake the sauce, then spoon onto whatever "substance" you are serving.

        2. So in the end I didn't marinate, but just poured the sauce on before baking and it worked great. The eggplant was a tiny bit bitter so I cooked down some white wine with fried shallots and silan and made a sweetish sauce to pour on top.

          1 Reply
          1. re: supergoldie

            If you salt the eggplant slices first and let them drain about 30 minutes, you get most of the bitter juices out before cooking.