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Here are all the best classic eggplant recipes! From eggplant Parmesan to ratatouille, there’s something for everyone.

Pasta alla Norma

Eggplant is one of those vegetables you have to know how to cook correctly. But when you: it’s incredibly delicious! It’s used in lots of styles of cuisines, from Mediterranean to Asian. Here at A Couple Cooks, we’ve been on a hunt for the best ways to eat it. If you’ve got a few eggplant on hand you’re looking to use: you’ve come to the right place!

Here’s a list of the our best eggplant recipes: from grilled to roasted, from doused in marinara sauce to spread with pesto in a sandwich. When it’s done right, it can be elegant and crowd pleasing.

And now…the best eggplant recipes!

How to cut eggplant

What’s the best way to cut eggplant? It depends on the recipe, but this vegetable is pretty easy to cut. In most recipes you’ll either slice it into rings, or dice it. Here’s the basic method for how to cut eggplant (and see below for a video!):

  1. To cut rings: Using a large chef’s knife, slice off the top of the eggplant. then slice it into rings, the width called for in your recipe.
  2. To dice: Using a large chef’s knife, slice off the top and bottom of the eggplant. Stand the eggplant up and cut thin slices lengthwise. Then stack the slices and cut them into strips. Turn the strips and cut them crosswise to the desired size.

Do you really need to salt and drain eggplant?

If you’ve cooked eggplant recipes before, a recipe may have called to let the eggplant drain with salt on it for 1 hour to extract some of the bitterness from the eggplant. Is this extra step really necessary? According to Epicurious, it’s actually not! This used to be conventional practice with eggplants in the past because they were more bitter. Today’s eggplants are bred to be less bitter, so there’s no need to waste an hour salting the eggplant. Now you know!

What are Asian eggplant or Japanese eggplant?

Asian or Japanese eggplant is a variety of eggplant that is long and thin, instead of globe shaped like the eggplant used in Italian and Mediterranean style recipes. The skin is thin and it has a lightly sweet flavor. It’s harder to find at grocery stores, so look for Japanese eggplant at farmers markets or specialty stores. All of the recipes above except for the eggplant salad call for globe eggplant, but you can typically substitute Asian eggplant. Be aware that it is much smaller than a globe eggplant, so you’d have to use 2 or 3 to equal the same weight as 1 globe.

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Pasta alla Norma

20 Tasty Eggplant Recipes


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Pasta alla Norma is a signature Italian eggplant recipe! A tangy red sauce and salty cheese complete this Sicilian masterpiece.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 ½ pounds), chopped into 3/4” inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced 
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 28 ounce can high quality crushed tomatoes, such as San Marzano 
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar, optional
  • 12 ounces large tubular pasta (rigatoni or we used calamarata)
  • ¼ cup grated ricotta salata*, to serve
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese, to serve

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the eggplant and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Sauté for 7 to 10 minutes until browned and tender, stirring often so the eggplant doesn’t stick (the pan will be pretty dry, but this is as expected). Remove the eggplant to a bowl.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, along with the garlic, parsley and basil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, oregano, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer 15 minutes, until the flavors meld. Stir in ¼ teaspoon the sugar. Add in the eggplant just before serving.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta to al dente and drain. Add the pasta back to the pot with a drizzle of olive oil. Pour the sauce with eggplant over the pasta and gently toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve topped with grated ricotta salata cheese, grated Pecorino Romano, and chopped fresh parsley and basil.

Notes

*Ricotta salata is a Sicilian aged ricotta cheese with a hard texture similar to Parmesan and a salty flavor like feta cheese. If you can’t find it, the Greek cheese Mizithra is a great substitute. Don’t use fresh ricotta, which is soft and creamy instead of salty and aged. If you can’t find either, feta cheese has a similar flavor: or you can omit and simply use Pecorino Romano cheese.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian Inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Eggplant Recipes

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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3 Comments

  1. I have two eggplants that I need to cook now but I don’t want to serve the caponata until Saturday… is it okay to freeze it?