16 Eggplant Recipes That Celebrate the Gorgeous Summer Vegetable
With its gorgeous aubergine hue, sweet, slightly bitter flavor, and endless possibilities for preparation, eggplant is one of our favorite vegetables to cook with. Technically a fruit, it comes in a range of shapes and colors including graffiti eggplant (white and purple striped), smaller Italian eggplant, and white eggplant. Globe eggplants are, however, the largest and most common. The smaller Japanese eggplant is long and narrow, with fewer seeds, thinner skin, and a milder, less bitter flavor than the globe variety. Try these eggplant recipes as a delicious way to enjoy the vegetable.
Though available year-round, eggplant peaks in the summer. When shopping for eggplant, here's what to look for: The flesh of an eggplant should give a bit when gently pressed; it should have no hard spots. The skin should be shiny and smooth, not wrinkled or mottled. Stems should be green. Avoid those with brown or soft spots. Whole eggplant will keep up to a few days in a cool place. Avoid storing in the refrigerator, as this will damage the eggplant's texture.
Now get to work! When grilled, eggplant develops a smoky, sweet flavor and its texture becomes so tender. We love it in Italian-inspired dishes, such as Eggplant Parmesan (grilled or breaded!) and Tomato-Eggplant Gnocchi, which is a quick and delicious weeknight meal. Eggplant is also a popular ingredient used in lots of traditional Indian dishes; here, we're sharing a few of our favorite preparations. Indian Eggplant (Bharta) is a fabulous dip that's a little spicy and a little savory. It can be served alongside naan or pita for a delicious appetizer, or over rice for a vegetarian meal.
Roasted or grilled, sliced or puréed, these eggplant recipes are absolutely delicious.
For a quick, hearty, and meat-free meal, make this riff on caprese pasta. In addition to fragrant basil, creamy ricotta, and fresh diced tomatoes, sautéed, diced eggplant is added to the mix. It's a delicious way to elevate store-bought gnocchi in the summertime.
Here's a lighter, low-carb version of eggplant parmesan. Instead of breading and frying slices of the purple vegetable, they are grilled. Top with mozzarella, return to the grill until the cheese melts, and then top with a tomato-shallot mixture, basil, and good-quality olive oil.
Eggplant and Roasted-Pepper Pasta
Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes
Indian-Spiced Eggplant Stacks
Eggplant Meatball Casserole
Blistered Eggplant with Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta
Talk about a restaurant-worthy starter! The only cooking required here is broiling the eggplant until it becomes juicy and crispy—the rounds are then topped with heirloom cherry tomatoes, mixed olives, parsley, feta, and a rich olive oil. Serve with crusty bread to sop up all the juices.
Skillet Pizza with Eggplant and Greens
Indian Eggplant (Bharta)
This dish starts with an unconventional technique—roasting a whole eggplant directly on a gas stove. From there, a paste is made with onions, ginger, and garlic; sauté that with a diced chile pepper, cumin seeds, diced tomatoes, turmeric, and eggplant. Serve over rice for a flavorful entrée.
Soba Salad with Grilled Eggplant and Tomato
Refreshing and healthy, this charred, vegetable-based soba noodle salad makes a delicious lunch or side dish—and it's vegan!
Eggplant, Pistachio, and Pomegranate Pizza
Making this pizza takes less time than it would take to order one and pick it up from your favorite neighborhood spot—and it's so much more delicious. The variety of textures, colors, and flavors makes for an exciting meal.
Eggplants Stuffed with Lamb, Rice, and Currants
Grilled Eggplant with Tomatoes, Basil, and Feta
Talk about a summer stunner. Large slices of eggplant are grilled, then topped with a Mediterranean-inspired combination of cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, pine nuts, and basil. It's just like your favorite caprese, but elevated with eggplant.
Traditional Eggplant Parmigiana
Calamarata with Roasted Eggplants, Tomatoes, and Olives
No, those aren't rings of calamari in this Mediterranean dish. Calamarata is a type of pasta that just so happens to resemble calamari. Here, it's tossed with a variety of colorful vegetables and sweet Italian sausage.