20 Baked Eggplant Recipes That Even Haters Will Love
Easy Baked Eggplant Recipes
Eggplant skeptics, listen up. These easy baked eggplant recipes are about to change your views for the better. Whether it’s topped with sauce and cheese or roasted and mashed into a creamy dip, eggplant becomes creamy and luxurious with the help of your oven. Hearty eggplant can also stand in for meat in recipes, making it an easy way to sneak a little more nutrition onto your plate. Plan these recipes into your weeknight rotation—and we promise your entire family will love them.
First up, this stunning—and healthy—eggplant parmesan. Traditional versions of this dish can tip the scales at nearly 1,000 calories and 30g sat fat per serving. This makeover cuts that by more than two-thirds and still has plenty of marinara, melty cheese, and crispy baked eggplant.
Roasted Eggplant With Fresh Tomato, Pea, and Prosciutto Topper
This satisfying, vegetable-forward dish features meaty eggplant and a fresh and flavorful herbaceous topping. The method for crisping the prosciutto is easier (and less messy) than pulling out a pan, and the results offer a concentrated hit of flavor that makes this dish special. Omit the prosciutto to make this a fully vegetarian meal, or, alternatively, use bacon. You can use fresh or frozen peas for the topping, but if you choose to use fresh, blanch them for a couple of minutes to soften.
These vegetarian-friendly eggplant “roll-ups” are incredibly satisfying, thanks to both generous amounts of fiber and the savory, umami flavor that eggplant delivers. They’re also a healthier and lighter option than most eggplant dishes at Italian restaurants. Buying the right eggplant is key for this: you want them to be at least 3 1/2-inches wide, so that after you trim them, you have enough to cut into slabs.
Cheesy Pull-Apart Eggplant
This is the low carb, high fiber version of cheesy pull-apart bread. Perfect as part of a mezze platter, or simply served on its own, this healthy, cheesy eggplant will even satisfy a carb lover. We steam the eggplant first and then add the cheese to reduce the chance of the cheese melting too much and falling through the cracks. For more even cooking, look for an oblong eggplant versus a shorter, stouter one.
Provençal-Style Summer Vegetable Tian
This Provençal-style gratin is a dish of summery, simple vegetables cooked just long enough to soften without losing their fresh flavor. With a generous amount of parmesan, and olive oil the tian is both delicious and has an easy-to-execute upscale presentation. Look for veggies that are all around the same diameter and use a mandoline to get uniform slices. Pair this side dish with any classic American or French protein.
Smoky Eggplant Zaalouk
This creamy, smoky dip is Morocco's answer to baba ghanoush. Serve with grilled meat or fish, or as a spread in a sandwich.
Caponata is a classic Sicilian side typically made with fried eggplant. Our lighter version gets a quick sauté in heart-healthy olive oil.
Sheet Pan Tempeh and Eggplant With Harissa
Made from roasted red peppers and chiles, harissa (a.k.a. "Moroccan ketchup") is a flavor bomb that transforms this dish. Its chunky texture helps it cling to the eggplant and tempeh, which roast up crispy, glazed, and delicious.
If you can’t find Japanese eggplant at your grocery store or local Asian market, regular eggplant will work just fine.
Eggplant With Spicy Meat Relish
This entrée puts eggplant at the center of the plate and moves meat to the role of condiment. A small amount of rich ground pork—made rich and flavorful with shallots, garlic, fish sauce, and chiles—becomes a relish that embellishes the eggplant. You can also use ground beef in place of pork; opt for a fattier grind, such as chuck.
Heirloom Tomato and Eggplant Terrine
A terrine is a classic French dish where ingredients are pressed together in a baking dish or sheet. Here, our take showcases summer veggies like tomatoes and eggplant. Use multicolored tomatoes for the prettiest terrine.
Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb and Pine Nuts
This cinnamon-scented recipe is Yotam Ottolenghi and Rami Tamimi's take on a dish made by Elran Shrefler at Azura Restaurant.
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.
Roasted Eggplants With Herbs
This simple preparation yields irresistible results. Use very firm, small eggplants; if young and fresh enough, they won't be bitter.
Vegan Eggplant "Bacon"
Eggplant lovers rejoice—here’s one more way to enjoy your favorite purple-skinned vegetable. Try this eggplant on crostini with a sprinkle of chopped tomatoes, feta, and capers, or stir it into your favorite pasta with a splash of good extra-virgin olive oil and a handful of chopped basil.
Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan
This classic dish is made extra crispy by subbing Panko for regular bread crumbs, and given a fiber boost from whole-wheat pasta. Switching out some of the eggplant for zucchini gives the dish some surprising flavor combinations as well.
Harissa-Roasted Eggplant With Minced Chicken
Poultry is a go-to protein in the Mediterranean diet, but in smaller portions than what you’ll see in a traditional American diet. Here we play with the concept of meat as condiment, using a small amount of rich chicken thighs to serve as a sort of relish on roasted eggplant. We sauté the chicken then mince and crisp it with seasonings; this creates chewier, “meatier” bits than if you were to start with ground chicken. A layer of creamy Greek yogurt offers a cooling counterpoint to the heat of harissa.
Baked Chicken Moussaka
This Greek dish is similar to lasagna, but it's traditionally layered with eggplant, tomatoes, ground beef or lamb, and a béchamel sauce. Our lightened version for the Cooking Light Diet calls for ground chicken, using a mix of light and dark meat for added richness, and a yogurt-based sauce. Brown the chicken well; most of the rich, meaty flavor comes from that step. Serve the casserole with a Greek salad and toasted whole-wheat pita.
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.
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.
Jumbo stuffed shells are your weeknight answer to homemade lasagna: Instead of endless layers, spoon a single vegetable mixture into each shell, and bake 12 minutes or until the cheese melts. Shells are also easy and fun to serve—you’ll know exactly how many equal a serving. This vegetarian version turns a French summer stew into a hearty filling, a great way to double up on vegetables in a pasta dish. Use leftover chickpeas to bulk up any summer vegetable or grain salad.