Fun fact: eggplants are technically fruits. They are formed from the flowers of the plant as a means to disperse seeds.
If you want to get even more technical, they are actually berries, but I’m not going to get into that right now.
What’s really important is how tasty eggplants are, and the variety of ways that they can be prepared (outside of parmesan).
This Paleo Shrimp & Eggplant Stir-Fry is based on the unique combination of eggplant and shrimp. It is accented with standard stir-fry flavors of garlic, ginger and basil and tossed in a light sauce. It’s an easy, complete meal that can be on the table in under an hour.
Even if you are not a huge fan of eggplant, it’s worth checking out the Chinese variety used in this recipe. It has thinner skin and a lighter taste than its Italian cousin which, not-so-coincidentally, makes it ideal for stir-fries.
Spaghetti squash isn’t essential for this recipe (you could easily serve this stir-fry with some riced cauliflower), but I love the texture and flavor it adds to the dish.
If you’re using it, simply cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Wipe a little coconut oil all over the squash and season it with salt and pepper. Roast in a preheated 400°F oven for 40-45 minutes, until a knife can easily pierce through the shell. Remove the squash from the oven and, once cool enough, shred it with a fork.
While the squash is roasting, you can prep your veggies. Slice up some Chinese eggplant, red pepper, onion, and shiitake mushrooms. Peel and mince some ginger and garlic while you’re at it.
You can also whip up the sauce, which is a combination of chicken stock, coconut aminos, fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar and arrowroot powder.
Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large wok over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 until pink. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl and cover it to keep warm.
Add two more tablespoons of coconut oil to the pan. Toss in half the eggplant and sprinkle with salt. Cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes until it starts brown, then stir and cook for a minute or two until it is tender, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer it to the bowl with the shrimp, then repeat with the remaining eggplant.
Add a little more coconut oil to the wok along with the onion, peppers, and shiitake mushrooms. Cook until just tender, 4-5 minutes, then add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.
Return the shrimp and eggplant to the wok along with some fresh basil and pour in the sauce. Heat for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
Serve the stir-fry with the spaghetti squash and garnish with green onion, cashews, and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Paleo Shrimp & Eggplant Stir-Fry
- 1 pound medium shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 pound Chinese eggplant halved and cut into 1/2" wedges
- 1 red pepper sliced
- 1/2 yellow onion sliced
- 6 oz. shiitake mushrooms sliced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 " knob of ginger peeled and minced
- 1 spaghetti squash (2~3 pounds)
- 5 tablespoons coconut oil divided
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves roughly torn
- sea salt
- black pepper
For the Sauce
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- juice from 1/2 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
- sliced green onion
- crushed cashews
- sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds. Massage the squash with a small dab of coconut oil and season with sea salt and pepper.
Place the squash cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 40-45 minutes, until the shell is easily pierced with a knife. Remove the squash and, once cool, shred with a fork.
Meanwhile, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat and add a tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes until pink and no longer translucent. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
Add two tablespoons of coconut oil to the wok. Add about half of the sliced eggplant. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, undisturbed, then stir and cook for another minute until just tender. Transfer to the bowl with the shrimp and repeat with the remaining eggplant.
Add the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil to the wok. Add the onions, pepper, and shiitakes and cook until the peppers are just tender, 4-5 minutes.
Push the vegetables to the side of the wok and add the garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the shrimp and eggplant back to the wok along with the basil. Pour in the sauce and heat until thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
Serve the stir-fry on top of the spaghetti squash and garnish with green onions, cashews and sesame seeds.