I used to think that I hated eggplant! When I first went vegetarian as a teen, eggplant showed up in a lot of restaurant menu options. I remember the rubbery slices in sandwiches and the bland cubes of it tossed into mixed roasted vegetable dishes. Surely there has to be good eggplant recipes out there.
Properly seasoned and lovingly cooked eggplant is a beautiful thing! The texture can range from meaty to silky. It plays well with a lot of my favourite flavours: garlic, chili, warm spices, lemon, tomatoes, and herbs. One of my favourite tips for cooking eggplant is to apply salt to dices/slices of it before cooking. This draws some of the liquid out of the eggplant and the resulting texture is so wonderful.
In this roundup, I have a bunch of great options for your eggplant cooking adventures. There are crispy, polenta-coated bites, savoury vegan meatballs, grilled slices with a ginger peanut sauce, a spicy harissa stew, super creamy and luscious dip, vegan meatballs with kale pesto, and a stuffed eggplant that’s served with my favourite sauce of all time!
Hope you can find some inspiration here! Let me know some of your favourite eggplant recipes in the comments too :)
My cookbook has a seriously delicious eggplant “bolognese” recipe, a crispy eggplant “bacon” recipe, and so much more vegan cooking inspiration for you!
Braised Harissa Eggplant with Chickpeas. The spicy and warm vibes of harissa mesh so perfectly with lightly fried cubes of eggplant. The chickpeas round this stew-like dish out and make it hearty. I love serving this one with some warm millet or a big, crusty piece of bread to sop up the tomato-y broth.
Eggplant Dip with Toasted Walnuts, Lemon, Tahini & Yogurt. This luscious eggplant dip is rich and flavourful with a tangy dollop of vegan coconut milk yogurt in the mix. This dip is naturally vegan (obviously!), easy to make, and just so delicious. The inspiration point for this dip and the eggplant preparation is baba ganoush.
Crispy Eggplant Polenta Bites with Lime. These crispy and golden morsels of eggplant are actually baked! Perfectly accompanied with some lime juice and a tiny drizzle of agave nectar, this recipe is from one of the Green Kitchen Stories cookbooks and it really is the perfect snack to have with a beverage.
Grilled Eggplant with Peanut Ginger Sauce. These flavours are just too good together! The gingery and slightly garlicky peanut sauce over the smoky slices of eggplant is finished with fresh bits of mint and basil. This simple, no-cook sauce would be great with grilled tofu and other vegetables as well.
Eggplant Meatballs with Za’atar and Kale Pesto. These hearty vegan meatballs come together with sautéed bits of eggplant, almond meal, whole grain bread, chickpeas, and parsley. Perfectly paired with a bright green and garlicky kale pesto.
Creamy Eggplant Pasta with Walnuts & Spiced Bread Crumbs. This pasta has so much going on. Creamy and crunchy textures. Plenty of flavour from garlic, warm spices, chili, lemon, fresh dill, and charred smoky eggplant in the sauce. A slightly unexpected pasta dish that is so, SO good!
Caponata Panzanella. In this recipe, I smash together my love of caponata, that amazing Sicilian eggplant salad/relish with fried bits of eggplant, with panzanella–a classic bread and tomato salad. Even though this recipe was posted way back in 2013, it just works! Eggplant + tomatoes + bread forever.
Garden Stew with Toasted Cashews and Shallots. Such a beautiful broth-y soup to celebrate whatever vegetables you have on hand! I find this recipe super flexible, but especially loved it with tender pieces of eggplant in the mix. This recipe is from Erin Scott‘s Yummy Supper cookbook!
Pesto Orzo Salad with Roasted Vegetables & Chickpeas. This hearty and flavourful pasta salad is such a crowd pleaser! A nut-free arugula and basil pesto dresses cooked orzo, perfectly roasted vegetables (including eggplant!), and chickpeas. The eggplant pieces in particular soak up the pesto dressing so nicely.
Stuffed Eggplant with Sunflower Romesco Sauce. The stuffed eggplant here is a satiating and wonderful vegan main course, but this post is really about the sauce for me. The sunflower seed-based romesco is in my top 3 go-to sauces. I still make it all the time! Perfectly paired with eggplant or honestly anything else.
One-Pan Harissa Eggplant, Pearl Couscous & Chickpeas. This is a hearty vegan dinner that comes together simply. Harissa paste brings a bit of spice to perfectly browned eggplant slices that sit on top of spiced pearl couscous, chickpeas, and spinach. Herbs, pine nuts, and dollops of non-dairy yogurt finish off this hearty vegan meal
Eggplant Recipes: Grilled Eggplant with Peanut Ginger Sauce
- 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 tamari soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated with a Microplane
- 2- inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated with a Microplane
- heat-tolerant oil spray, such as avocado
- ground black pepper, to taste
- chili flakes, to taste (optional)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 sprig fresh mint, leaves thinly sliced
- ¼ cup roasted and salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 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.
- 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 ginger 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 ginger sauce evenly over the top of the eggplant. Garnish the dish with sliced green onions, sliced mint, and chopped peanuts. Serve immediately.