Grilling season is here and I could not be happier about it. Cooking outside with a cold beverage is pretty much the greatest thing, and I just love the simplicity of a grilled meal. We usually do a bunch of vegetables, make one really great sauce, cook up a grain, toss up some greens, garnish with our backyard herbs, and then we just throw it all together.
It’s an easy, delicious, and nourishing meal strategy for a typically very busy season. Less thinking and planning, and more enjoyment in that warm sunshine is an ideal scenario for me.
I wanted to make a fun little twist on grilled eggplant with teriyaki sauce, which is forever and ever one of my favourite warm weather pairings. The ginger and sweetness combined with the smoky grilled eggplant just really hits me the right way.
Typically teriyaki sauce is thickened with some type of starch, but I thought about just whisking in peanut butter to thicken it naturally AND to give it that irresistible peanut sauce vibe. This turned out sooo, so good! I eat peanut butter pretty much every day in some form—whether it’s in my morning smoothie, used as a dip for apple slices or dates, straight off the spoon into my mouth, or whisked into a savoury sauce like we’re doing here.
It’s such an affordable source of plant-based protein. If you serve this eggplant with a nice heap of fluffy brown rice, a few extra veggies and greens, and a big drizzle of the peanut butter teriyaki, you’re easily on your way to a complete and satiating meal. If you’re like me and just sneaking mouthfuls of it straight out of the jar, you get extra credit J
This peanut butter teriyaki would be delicious over rice bowls or as a dip for salad rolls too. Lots of possibilities! It’s also just so easy to make. Once your eggplant is salted and rinsed, the rest comes together super quick. I love how pantry-friendly this is too! If you’re looking for more peanut butter recipe inspiration, you can click right over here. Hope you all give this one a try!
GRILLED EGGPLANT WITH PEANUT BUTTER TERIYAKI
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: I used maple syrup as my liquid sweetener, but agave nectar or honey are also appropriate here.
-This sounds like a lot of salt in the initial step, but you’ll be rinsing most of it off of the eggplant later.
2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1-inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon sea salt, plus extra
¼ cup natural peanut butter
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1 clove garlic, finely grated with a rasp
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated with a rasp
heat-tolerant oil spray, such as avocado
ground black pepper, to taste
chili flakes, to taste (optional)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 sprig of fresh mint, leaves thinly sliced
¼ cup roasted and salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Set a large colander in the sink. Place the rounds of eggplant into the colander. Sprinkle the tablespoon of salt over the eggplant and toss with your hands to evenly coat each slice in the salt. Let the eggplant rest for 20 minutes.
While the eggplant is resting, make the peanut butter teriyaki sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut aminos, garlic, and ginger. Once you have a smooth and unified sauce, set aside.
Preheat your grill to high. Place one clean kitchen towel and a large baking sheet on the counter.
The eggplant should have let off quite a bit of moisture. Rinse the eggplant thoroughly, tossing the slices with your hands to get all of the excess salt off. Then, transfer the rinsed eggplant slices to the clean kitchen towel. Pat the slices with the towel until they are completely dry.
Transfer the dry eggplant slices to the baking sheet. Evenly spray both sides of the eggplant with the oil. Season the slices with salt, pepper, and chili flakes (if using) on both sides.
Place the eggplant slices on the grill. Cook until char marks appear on the undersides, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the eggplant slices over. Continue to cook until char marks appear on the other side and eggplant has softened, about another 3 minutes.
Transfer the grilled eggplant to a serving platter. Drizzle the peanut butter evenly over the top of the eggplant. Garnish the dish with sliced green onions, sliced mint, and chopped peanuts. Serve immediately.