Grilled Eggplant Recipes
Of all the vegetable recipes I post, eggplant recipes are the most divisive. Early on, this surprised me, because eggplant recipes have always been some of my favorite foods to eat. As a kid, I never wanted to stop playing at dinnertime, except when my mom was making eggplant Parmesan. And when I started to explore vegetarian cooking on my own, grilled eggplant was one of the first dishes I mastered.
But if I’ve learned one thing through writing Love and Lemons, it’s that not everyone likes eggplant. I’ve heard it called spongy, bitter, and bland, and to that I say, “Valid!” If it’s not prepared well, it can be all those things. But when it’s done right, it’s delicious. Plus, its character totally transforms depending on how you cook it. It might be meaty and smoky coming off the grill, rich and silky after it cooks in the oven, or crisp on the outside and tender in the middle after a few minutes on the stove. Sure, you don’t like it one way, but if you cooked it differently, you could love it!
In short, I hope all you eggplant skeptics will give this controversial veggie another chance. To get you started, I’m sharing 12 easy eggplant recipes below. They include bright summer pastas, fresh grilling recipes, cozy casseroles, and everything in between. Throw caution to the wind, and have fun exploring these tasty eggplant recipes! I bet you’ll find one you love.
Grilled Eggplant Recipes
Of all the different kinds of eggplant recipes out there, grilled eggplant recipes will always be my favorite. I love how the outside of the eggplant gets nicely charred, while the inside becomes silky smooth.
When I was first learning to cook vegetables, grilled eggplant was one of my favorite things to make. It’s not hard to see why: it’s super easy, and it’s absolutely delicious! Enjoy it as a side dish on its own, or take it to the next level by piling a fresh couscous salad on top.
Grilled Ratatouille Tartines
When it’s too hot to stand over a pot of ratatouille on the stove, I make these grilled ratatouille tartines instead! Pair them with your favorite rosé, and your guests (and you) won’t be able to get enough.
Zucchini Lemon Orzo
In late summer, I could eat this vibrant orzo pasta every night! It gets its bold, fresh flavor from simple ingredients like lemon, feta cheese, pine nuts, and grilled eggplant and zucchini.
Mediterranean Stuffed Eggplant, page 179 of Love & Lemons Every Day
No grill? No worries! You can make this recipe two ways: on the stove and in the oven. In the grilled version, I stir fresh basil and arugula into the bulgur filling, and in the baked version, I smother the stuffed eggplant with crispy panko and pecorino cheese. Both ways are delicious!
Grilled Eggplant Pasta, page 139 of The Love & Lemons Cookbook
This grilled veggie pasta is the perfect meal for a slow summer night. It packs a huge punch of flavor, but it comes together in minutes. Grill the veggies while you cook the pasta. Then, toss them with fresh basil, sherry vinegar, and pickled onions for pop! Dinner=solved.
Baked Eggplant Recipes
Cooking eggplant in the oven shows off its versatility. Chop it up and roast it briefly, until it’s golden brown and tender, or bake it whole, until it collapses to the touch. You’ll find both of these approaches in the baked eggplant recipes below.
My lighter riff on my mom’s classic recipe! Instead of frying the eggplant slices, I bake them with a panko and Parmesan coating. When they’re golden brown and crisp, I layer them with homemade marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil to create a comforting, crave-worthy dish.
Nope, that’s not hummus! It’s baba ganoush – a smoky, silky eggplant dip. It’s best enjoyed with fresh pita and crunchy veggies, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself standing at the counter, eating it out of the food processor with a spoon.
Vegetarian Tacos with Avocado Sauce
You can make these zesty tacos with almost any roasted veggies, but if eggplant’s in season, I always add it. I love how the earthy roasted eggplant contrasts with the bright, tangy tomatillo sauce on top.
Eggplant and Mushroom “Meatballs,” page 141 of The Love & Lemons Cookbook
Calling all eggplant skeptics! You can’t detect the eggplant in these veggie balls, but it still contributes to their hearty texture and rich flavor. Make them a meal by stuffing them into vegan meatball subs, or serve them over pasta, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and vegan Parmesan cheese.
Sautéed and Fried Eggplant Recipes
In these easy eggplant recipes, I cook the eggplant on the stove. This way, it absorbs flavor from other ingredients like olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and herbs as it cooks.
No list of eggplant recipes would be complete without ratatouille, a Provençal stew made from eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes. In my recipe, I sauté the veggies on the stove until they soften. Then, I transfer them to the oven, where they melt into a rich and tangy stew that’s fantastic with a drizzle of olive oil and lots of crusty bread.
Eggplant Salad with Roasted Tomatoes
This eggplant salad is my ideal summer lunch. It’s light and fresh, but still satisfying, thanks to nutty farro, chickpeas, pan-fried eggplant, and roasted cherry tomatoes. Swap quinoa for the farro to make it gluten-free!
Zucchini Noodle Puttanesca, page 177 of Love & Lemons Every Day
Sautéed eggplant acts like a sponge in this bight and briny pasta recipe. As the eggplant cooks, it soaks up flavor from sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives, and white wine. When you sit down to eat, it’ll be rich, tangy, and tender – make sure to get some in every bite!
More Favorite Summer Recipes
If you love these healthy eggplant recipes, check out these delicious summer recipes next:
- 35 Best Zucchini Recipes
- 50 Fresh Tomato Recipes
- 37 Best Salad Recipes
- 51 Easy Picnic Food Ideas
- 50 Easy Dinner Ideas
Eggplant Recipes: Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- 2 large eggplant, cut into ¼-inch thick rounds
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup almond milk
- 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, more for sprinkling
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 28 ounces Marinara Sauce
- 2 large balls fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium-sized shallow dish, whisk the eggs and almond milk.
In another medium-sized shallow dish, combine the panko, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, and several grinds of pepper.
Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture and then into the panko mixture. Place onto the baking sheets, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 18 minutes or until tender and golden brown.
In an 8×12 or 9×13-inch baking dish, spread ½ cup marinara, layer half the eggplant, and top with 1 cup of marinara and half the mozzarella. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, the remaining marinara, and the remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a few more pinches of sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted. Turn the oven to broil and broil for 2 to 4 or until the cheese is browned and bubbling.
Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil.
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