When cooked correctly, eggplant can be incredibly tender and flavorful! Here are all the best eggplant recipes to eat it, from marinara to grilled.
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!):
- 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.
- 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.Print
Here’s how to make the BEST roasted eggplant! Baking until it’s tender makes for unreal flavor. Serve it as a side dish, or toss with pasta!
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 medium to large eggplants (about 2 pounds)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley
- Freshly ground pepper
- Preheat an oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the eggplant into 1-inch chunks, or you can cut it into long planks or round slices. Quickly mix with olive oil and kosher salt and fresh ground pepper (the eggplant soaks up the oil in an instant, so mix as soon as you add it). Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until browned and very tender, gently stirring the sheet at about the 25 minute mark. (If you’re roasting eggplant planks, flip the planks at 20 minutes and cook 35 to 40 minutes total, until browned and tender.)
- Remove from the oven and gently toss with the garlic and herbs, making sure to spread out any chunks of garlic that stick together. The eggplant will be very tender so handle it gently. Serve as a side dish or as Roasted Eggplant Pasta.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Roasted
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Eggplant Recipes, Roasted Eggplant
Last updated: May 2020
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.