Eggplant Recipes

You'll find eggplant in dishes around the world, from Italian to Chinese to Indian cuisine. Vegetarians have long appreciated this hearty ingredient because it can be swapped in for meat in a number of recipes. And eggplants don't all look the same. They can be long and slender like Japanese eggplants, short and striped like the Sicilian versions, or white, like the aptly named white eggplant. This ingredient can be sautéed, roasted, grilled, fried and more. If you're using oil, make sure it's extra hot. According to chef Joël Robuchon, "Usually, cooked eggplant absorbs so much oil and becomes full of fat," which is why eggplant parmesan can be a soggy, greasy mess if not done right. His genius suggestion? If you can, soften the eggplant by steaming it instead of sautéing it in oil. F&W's guide covers all your favorite eggplant recipes, plus a few that might surprise you.

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Grilled Eggplant with Summer Marinara

A mix of canned whole peeled tomatoes and tomato puree creates the perfect silky, but still chunky, texture in the sauce. Pomodori pellati tomatoes are hand-peeled, seeded, and processed with salt and basil at peak season, capturing their ripe, sweetly acidic flavor.

8 Mistakes You Are Making When Cooking Eggplant

Get maximum flavor with minimal effort by avoiding these eggplant cooking pitfalls.

Fairy Tale Eggplant with Crispy Shallots and Thai Dressing

Chef Joe Ogrodnek (BNC class of 2014) pulls out all the stops with this next-level eggplant dish. First he seasons the eggplant and lets it sit before charring on the grill to draw out moisture and add flavor from the inside out. Then he adds plenty of crispy-crunchy texture to the silky grilled eggplant by stuffing each one with peanuts, fried shallots and garlic, fresh herbs, onions, and radishes before drizzling the punchy dressing on top. Delicious hot or room temperature, they’re perfect for your next summer cookout. Be sure to using hot water in the dressing to help dissolve the sweet, floral coconut palm sugar. Related: More Eggplant Recipes

Charred Eggplant with Burrata and Pomegranate-Walnut Relish

As a thirty-something eager to discover the exoticism of the land where East meets West, I visited Turkey on a trip that would irrevocably change the way I think about flavor. Somewhere between the grand bazaars of Istanbul and the bougainvillea-lined streets of Kas, a small seaside town on Turkey’s southwestern Mediterranean coast, I fell heavily in love with this country—and all of its eggplant dishes.   The vegetarian food of Turkey is light and lively, resplendent with spice, and bursting with color. Vegetables are the headline act in Turkish meze, the small plates of appetizers shared at the beginning of every meal. There is cacik, ground cucumbers mixed with yogurt, garlic, and mint; dolma, grape leaves stuffed with seasoned rice; zeytinyağlı taze fasulye, green beans cooked in tomato, olive oil, garlic, and onions; and muhammara, a spicy red pepper and walnut dip. But it’s the silky eggplant meze plates that shine brightest in my memory.    Eggplant is central to Turkish cuisine and culture; there’s even a folkloric tale that tells of a time during Ottoman Istanbul when many houses burnt down due to unsuccessful attempts to fry eggplant. Today, fried eggplant remains a summertime staple. In fact, there are innumerable eggplant dishes in Turkish cuisine, all beautifully spiced and irresistibly aromatic. A few of my favorites include patlican salatası, a smoky grilled eggplant similar to baba ghanoush; şakşuka, an eggplant and tomato stew; and imam bayildi, a famous dish of eggplant stuffed with tomatoes, onions, and garlic.    This elegant salad is an emphatic nod to the celebratory eggplant dishes of Turkey. Velvety eggplant is paired with a tart-yet-earthy relish of toasted walnuts, cilantro, and pomegranate seeds. Toasting the walnuts brings out their full nutty, slightly bitter character, which plays well against the bright pomegranate seeds, which provide fresh bursts of juice and sweetness. The burrata brings unbridled decadence to this dish, providing an oozy, creamy backdrop for the eggplant and relish. If burrata is not your thing (although honestly, how could it not be?) or you can’t find any, there are many alternatives. You could opt for fresh mozzarella, a generous swipe of rich Greek yogurt or ricotta, a few flecks of goat cheese, or a dollop of tangy labneh. For those looking for a dairy-free option, you could enjoy it with cashew cream or, for a heartier alternative, serve on a bed of bulgur wheat or brown rice. When the weather is warm, grill your eggplant for an even deeper smoky flavor.   A Note about Eggplants: Eggplant, or aubergine as it is known in England and Europe, is a member of the nightshade family that also includes tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes. Many home cooks ask about how to choose the best eggplants, since they range so much in size and skin color. Generally, choose eggplants with smooth, shiny skin that are uniform in color and heavy for their size. Test for ripeness by lightly pressing a finger against the skin—if it leaves an imprint, the eggplant is ripe. Smaller eggplants tend to have fewer seeds and are, hence, less bitter. A green stem is a good indicator that an eggplant is ripe.

Sheet Pan Eggplant Parmesan

A quick broil followed by a longer bake makes this no-fry recipe hands off enough to put together on a Tuesday, with results delicious enough for a weekend dinner party. Be sure to let the eggplant drain to achieve the best charred eggplant texture.

Agedashi Eggplant

Deep-fried eggplant is immediately soaked in a mixture of dashi, mirin, sake, and soy to infuse it with flavor and create a juicy texture.

More Eggplant

Sautéed Eggplant

At Petra and the Beast, chef Misti Norris makes an eggplant conserva with salted eggplant, olive oil, and vinegar that pickles for a solid week. This quicker at-home version captures the intention of her flavors in a fraction of the time.

Roasted Eggplant Sauce

2019 Best New Chef Misti Norris roasts eggplant until it fully collapses then whirls it with honey and oil to create this sauce’s fluffy texture. 

Baharat-Spiced Eggplant with Hazelnuts, Cherries and Tarragon

F&W Best New Chefs 2017 Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson, of L.A.’s Kismet, brine eggplant before coating it in a fragrant spice mix and pan-frying. They create a magical plate of that eggplant along with pickled onions, sweet cherries, toasted hazelnuts, creamy lebneh and herbs. Slideshow: More Eggplant Recipes