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- Grilled Eggplant Recipe: Why You’ll Love It
- Ingredients & Substitutions
- How To Grill Eggplant
- How Long To Grill Eggplant?
- Tips For The Best Grilled Eggplant
- Topping Ideas
- Storage Instructions
- What To Serve With Grilled Eggplant
- More Easy Eggplant Recipes
- Tools For Cooking Eggplant On The Grill
- Grilled Eggplant Recipe (Quick & Easy!)
This grilled eggplant recipe transforms a simple, unassuming vegetable into a savory, satisfying, and easy healthy side dish! My recipes for oven roasted eggplant and sauteed eggplant are some of the most popular veggie dishes on Wholesome Yum, but let’s face it: Sometimes you want a summer meal without using the stove or oven on a hot day. So for thos edays, let me show you how to grill eggplant…
Grilling eggplant makes it deliciously caramelized on the edges and soft in the middle. I tried it only a couple years ago, when my husband’s cousin grilled it for us with feta on top. It was amazing, and now finally, I have the perfect grilled eggplant recipe for you to try. I kept it simple with a basic version, but I’ll also tell you about some topping ideas (including the feta!) that pair perfectly and will take your eggplant on the grill over the top.
Grilled Eggplant Recipe: Why You’ll Love It
- Rich, smoky flavor
- Golden, caramelized edges with soft texture in the center
- Deliciously charred grill marks
- Uses basic pantry staples
- 15 minutes from start to finish
- Naturally gluten free, vegan, low in carbohydrates, and healthy
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for grilling eggplant, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Eggplant – For the best taste and less bitterness, get small to medium eggplants rather than large ones. Look for smooth, firm skin and no soft spots. If you have extra eggplant, use it to make eggplant caponata.
- Olive Oil – I use extra virgin olive oil for flavor, but any neutral oil works. Avocado oil is another great choic.
- Seasonings – Store-bought or homemade Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt (I used sea salt, but kosher salt also works), and black pepper.
VARIATION: Add some acidity.
Mix 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar with the olive oil.
How To Grill Eggplant
This section shows how to cook eggplant on the grill, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Preheat. Heat outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. For outdoor grills, at least 15 minutes of preheating time is optimal.
- Slice. Cut the eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch rounds. (You can also cut lengthwise if you prefer, but it stays together better and is easier to flip if you cut crosswise.)
- Whisk. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and seasonings.
- Season. Brush half the oil mixture on the eggplant slices. Flip and repeat on the other side.
- Grill. Place rhe eggplant slices on the grill and close the lid. Grill on both sides until tender and caramelized.
How Long To Grill Eggplant?
Cook eggplant on the grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side. It’s done when slices are charred on the outside and tender in the middle. They should no longer look white in color.
Tips For The Best Grilled Eggplant
This is an easy recipe for grilled eggplant already, but here are a few extra tips for success.
- When slicing, cut off the leafy end of the eggplant last. You can use this end to help grip the eggplant as you slice the rest.
- Large eggplants need extra prep. Small to medium eggplants are usually not bitter, but medium to large ones can be. To avoid any bitterness, sprinkle the eggplant slices with 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt and let them sit for 15-20 minutes. Wipe the salt and any moisture away with paper towels, then proceed with the recipe as written.
- There’s no need to soak eggplant. Some say that it helps remove bitterness, but I have found it to be unnecessary.
- Don’t undercook. Grilled eggplant should be more yellow in color (not white), very soft, and caramelized. It will taste bland and tough if you undercook it.
Serve it plain, or spread on a platter and top with extra sauces and seasonings, such as:
- Feta Cheese – Add crumbled feta after grilling, or add a large cube of feta on top of the eggplant on the grill toward the end, close the lid and let it soften.
- Fresh Herbs – Parsley or basil would be delicious. You can add them to the marinade, but I prefer to sprinkle them on fresh.
- Lemon – Add fresh squeezed lemon juice to the marinade, or simply serve the final dish with lemon wedges.
- Red Pepper Flakes – Mix with the marinade ingredients, to taste.
- Sauces – Tahini sauce or balsamic glaze are great options.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can You Freeze Grilled Eggplant?
No. Avoid freezing grilled eggplant recipes (or really any eggplant recipes), as this veggie will get too mushy after thawing.
You can reheat eggplant on the grill over medium heat, in a 350 degree F oven, or in a hot skillet, until warm.
What To Serve With Grilled Eggplant
Now that you know how to grill eggplant, there are so many foods to pair with it! Since you’ll already have your grill turned on, try it with these dishes:
- Burgers – Eggplant pairs well with juicy burgers or turkey burgers. It can also serve as a burger (in place of the patty) for an easy vegetarian option.
- Seafood – Try eggplant with grilled salmon or grilled shrimp skewers.
- Kabobs – The flavor of this veggie pairs nicely with grilled chicken kabobs or lamb kofta kebab.
- Pork – Throw eggplant on the grill with some pork chops for a complete meal on the grill.
- More Grilled Veggies – Grill broccoli, asparagus, and cabbage steaks along with your eggplant.
More Easy Eggplant Recipes
If you like eggplant prepared this way, try these easy eggplant dishes too!
Grilled Eggplant Recipe (Quick & Easy!)
This grilled eggplant recipe is perfectly tender and caramelized! Learn how to make eggplant on the grill, the quick and easy way.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the grill or a cast iron grill pan to medium high heat.
Slice the eggplant crosswise to make circles, about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick. Cut off the leafy end only after you are done slicing, so that you'll have more to grab onto as you slice.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Brush about half of the mixture over the eggplant slices. Season with half of the sea salt and black pepper.
Flip the eggplant slices and repeat with the remaining oil mixture, salt, and pepper on the other side.
Place the eggplant slices on the grill or grill pan in a single layer. If using a grill pan, spray with cooking spray first and cook uncovered. If using a grill, close the lid. Grill eggplant for 3-5 minutes per side, until charred, tender, and no longer white.
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Serving size: 3-4 slices, or 1/6 entire recipe
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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