Cooking with Eggplant
A cousin to tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes, the eggplant gets its name from the first varieties of its kind, which were white, round, and egg-size. Now they also come in green and deep purple and are typically much larger. Although available year-round, they are most abundant from July to October. Look for firm eggplants that feel heavy for their size and have smooth, shiny skins and bright green stems. Try some of the recipes in this gallery for maximizing tastiness while cooking with eggplant.
Our Roasted Eggplants with Herbs recipe is a classic example of the delectable qualities of this veggie. This simple preparation yields irresistible results. Use very firm, small eggplants; if young and fresh enough, they won't be bitter.
Seared Tuna with Eggplant and Edamame
Eggplant is the real star here, with its meaty texture and savory notes that match those of the tuna. Soy sauce and sesame oil deepen the effect, and edamame offers delightful chew.
- Soy Sauce
- Toasted Sesame Oil
Hands-On: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Grill-Smoked Baba Ghanoush
This classic Middle Eastern eggplant dip is known for its smoky flavor and creamy texture. The smoke here comes from four components: charred eggplant, green onions, garlic, and a dash of smoked paprika. To grill the garlic, pull the cloves off in a clump from the bulb so the bundle won’t fall through the grates. Don’t worry if the clump contains more than 4 cloves—you’ll surely find a use for the roasty-toasty extras. Serve with pita bread wedges, pita chips, or crudités.
Charred Eggplant with Chermoula
While not Israeli in origin (chermoula is actually a Moroccan condiment), this dish speaks to the many culinary influences of Israel's North African and Middle Eastern neighbors. The sauce is wonderfully complex—bright, herbaceous, and spicy. Israel has a vegetable-centric cuisine (they are eaten at every meal); cooking vegetables over an open flame until deeply charred is a favorite cooking method.
Not your average veggie pizza, this pie is piled-high with flavorful summer produce, two types of cheese, and fresh oregano and basil. Serve it up with the eponymous animated film for a themed family movie night.
Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan
Time: 40 minutes
Prep pointer: If you don't have a wire rack, line a baking sheet with foil. Turn the vegetables after 8 minutes.
Serve with Lemon-Parsley Pasta: Cook 6 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Combine pasta with ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; toss. SERVES 4 (serving size: 2/3 cup) CALORIES 196; FAT 5.7g (sat 0.8g); SODIUM 126mg
Sesame Steamed Eggplant
Here's a dish worth the time spent in the kitchen. Add a bit of Asian flair to your table with this eggplant dish sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.
Grilled Baba Ghanoush
Roasted Eggplant with Pomegranate, Pickled Chiles, and Pecans
Eggplant is a staple in the Middle East, and they sure do know how to cook it. It's stellar: smoky and light and not at all bitter. The trick is to cook it whole over a gas stovetop burner or on a hot grill. The outside gets all charred as the inside steams, gathering a nice smoky overtone and becoming perfectly cooked. Toasted pecans and pickled jalapeños infuse some Southern accents into the traditional dish. If you can't find pomegranate arils (they come already "shucked" in the produce section), just omit them, or drizzle on a wee bit of pomegranate molasses.
Grilled Eggplant with Freekeh Pilaf
Pomegranate molasses brings tartness, and the feta adds a salty finish to this hearty side dish. Find the molasses where you buy Middle Eastern ingredients, or substitute balsamic glaze. Freekeh is a whole-grain cracked wheat with a nutty flavor and texture. If you can't find it, bulgur will work as well.
Grilled Eggplant Banh Mi Sandwich
Sandwich night doesn't have to be boring anymore. Mix things up with this veggie-filled, Vietnamese-inspired creation.
Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo
Removing intermittent strips of eggplant skin not only makes this dish easier to cut and eat but also retains some of the great flavor that's in the peel.
Grilled Eggplant with Moroccan Spices
Cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and mint provide North African flavor for the tender grilled eggplant. A tangy spiced yogurt sauce complements each sweet and smoky slice.
Turkey Burgers with Roasted Eggplant
Leftover eggplant puree from this recipe is perfect as a dip for toasted pita wedges. Marmite is a concentrated yeast paste that helps give this burger meaty flavor—find it in supermarket baking aisles and health food stores. Use sesame-poppy seed buns.
Grilled Baby Eggplants with Green Onion Salsa
If you can't find Indian eggplants, as we used here, go for small, slender Japanese eggplants instead.
Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
Transform sandwich night with this hearty veggie-laden stacker. You can peel the eggplant, but the sandwiches are prettier with the deep purple skin intact.
This perfect version of a classic Italian meatless dinner, Parmigiana, will quickly become a family favorite. Add a glass of vino for a Sicilian-style date night or a scoop of gelato for a kid-friendly Italian night.
Heirloom Tomato and Eggplant Terrine
Use multicolored tomatoes for the prettiest terrine.
This open-face veggie sandwich is hearty on crusty bread and cool from the Greek yogurt. Experiment with your own mix of in-season vegetables.
Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
If you're working on a charcoal grill set up for indirect heat, mound the coals to one side of the grill.
Falafel-Stuffed Eggplant with Tahini Sauce and Tomato Relish
Traditional falafel is made from seasoned, mashed chickpeas that are shaped into patties and deep-fried. Here we use the same components to make a tasty filling for eggplants, baked and topped with a deliciously nutty sauce.
Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian
Tian, a French word used throughout Provence, refers to both a shallow cooking vessel and the food cooked in it. This veggie and breadcrumb casserole is perfect for a weeknight dinner and great reheated the next day too!
Barley Risotto with Eggplant and Tomatoes
Our favorite purple vegetable shines in this hearty barley dish. Pine nuts, fresh basil, and goat cheese add a unique, fresh flavor.
Penne with Sausage, Eggplant, and Feta
Meaty breakfast sausage, earthy eggplant, and zesty feta complement each other in this hearty pasta.
Charred Vegetable Salad
Fire up the grill – this salad is a perfect side for grilled steak, chicken, or shrimp. Although you can successfully prepare this colorful end-of-summer salad on a gas grill, charcoal will imbue the vegetables with extra flavor.
Eggplant, Tomato, and Smoked Mozzarella Tart
Salting the eggplant draws out some of the bitter flavor and moisture. Less moisture in turn minimizes the amount of oil the eggplant will absorb. This dish has a crispy crackerlike crust, a nice contrast to the tender eggplant.
Zucchini Eggplant Lasagna
Summer means a bounty of zucchini from farmers’ markets. This lasagna makes use of fresh summer produce in a filling meatless entrée.
Roasted Eggplant Salsa
The perfect pairing to a bowl of sticky rice, this savory, garlicky paste gets toasty flavor from roasted eggplant and blackened garlic and peppers. In more traditional versions, you grill ingredients over charcoal for deeper flavor.
In this meatless version of the classic Greek dish, bulgur wheat stands in for ground meat in a spiced tomato filling surrounded by eggplant layers and topped with a béchamel sauce. The eggplant and bulgur pack this dish with fiber. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
Hearty sirloin, pasta, and eggplant blend together for perfection in this filling, 6-serving dish.
Chow down on the flavors of Italy with this vegetarian entrée of Eggplant Involtini.
Herby, creamy, and zesty, this classic dip is perfect for potlucks, parties, or just to snack on at the house.
Eggplant with Capers and Red Peppers
Try this savory veggie mixture over rice, mixed in with quinoa, or as a topping over grilled salmon or chicken.
Ratatouille Pizza with Chicken
The addition of chicken to a quick ratatouille makes a great-tasting and satisfying pizza when put on a crust. Serve with a green salad for a light weekday meal.
Seafood Stuffed Eggplant
You can assemble and refrigerate the eggplant halves up to a day in advance, then bake just before serving. If the stuffed eggplants are cold, you may need to cook them an extra five minutes.