42 Eggplant Recipes That Make Easy Mains or Sides
Eggplant Recipes That Make Easy Mains or Sides
Eggplant Is So Much More than Just Baba Ghanoush
This shiny, purple veggie is the perfect base for meatless dishes or a welcomed addition to burgers, seafood dishes, and pastas. When it's raw, eggplant is spongy and plain, but once it's roasted, grilled, sautéed, or stir-fried, it comes into its full glory: tender, creamy flesh with a satisfying meatiness. That makes it ideal for meatless sandwiches or chicken Parmesan-style dishes, like this one. It's equally delicious when grilled and drizzled with a simple vinaigrette for a warm side salad or slow roasted with a sprinkling of fresh herbs and a squeeze of zesty lemon juice.
Although available year-round, eggplants 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.
Miso-Glazed Eggplant Steaks
To quote Robin Bashinsky, the mastermind behind this recipe, “This is a dish full of char and vigor.” Savory miso is a natural match for thick eggplant steaks; look for miso in the refrigerated section of your grocery store’s produce department.
Caponata is a classic Sicilian side typically made with fried eggplant. Our lighter version gets a quick sauté in heart-healthy olive oil.
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.
Spicy Eggplant With Plums
This combo of spicy char, sweet fruit, and creamy yogurt is a surefire hit.
Grilled Baba Ghanoush
Grilling the eggplant adds a charred note to this classic Middle Eastern dip. Let the slices steam after cooking so the flesh becomes even more tender. Serve with toasted pita, slices cucumber, or fennel.
Potluck-Perfect Pasta Salad With Tomatoes and Eggplant
Congratulations—You just found your new go-to pasta salad! This veggie-packed beauty is nice and filling, thanks to meaty eggplant. If you can’t find burrata, simply tear 6 ounces of fresh mozzarella into bite-size pieces.
Heading to a potluck? Feel free to make this recipe ahead of time; just be sure to let it come to room temperature and toss with an extra drizzle of vinegar and oil before serving. Add a few tablespoons of chopped fresh basil leaves for an extra layer of flavor.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.