Notorious Nightshades

The nightshades are a vegetable class that include eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers. Lately, I have been hearing some shady talk about this group. These vegetables belong to the Solanaceae family. Some very vocal celebrities advocate avoiding these nutritious vegetables. They claim that they are dangerous and can cause inflammation. The science for this is weak. Each of these vegetables contain different types of antioxidants which have solid research supporting their ANTI-inflammatory properties. It is possible that some individuals might experience joint pain when they consume the nightshades. They are probably sensitive to the alkaloid substance known as Solanine. For the rest of us, these vegetables are completely safe and healthy….and delicious.


Roasting is a great way to enjoy the nightshades. Slice the vegetables, season and coat with a little oil and then place in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. The thinner you slice them, the quicker the cooking time.

Try this trick with your eggplants…it makes them less bitter and also allows you to use less oil. Slice the eggplants to ¼” and place in a single layer on a plate, lightly salt and then cover with a paper towel. Repeat and continue layering until you run out of eggplant. Cover the top with another paper towel and then a plate. Now put something heavy on top and let rest for approximately 30 minutes. Remove the eggplant slices from the wet paper towels and roast. Some recipes call for rinsing the eggplant before roasting but I find it you go easy on the salt, you do not need to.