This grilled eggplant is basted with seasonings, cooked until tender and slightly charred, then topped with feta cheese. It’s a quick and easy, delicious side dish that pairs with just about any grilled meat or fish for a complete dinner. It’s healthy, vegetarian, low carb, keto friendly, and gluten free.
Eggplant is so underutilized and not appreciated nearly as much as it should be, in my humble opinion. It’s such a healthy vegetable, inexpensive, and pretty versatile when it comes to pairing it with different seasonings and sauces. I think most people tend to overcook, undercook, or don’t season it properly so it turns out mediocre. This grilled eggplant is super simple and easy, but delivers big flavor!
How to Cut an Eggplant for Grilling
Eggplant is super easy to cut! First, make sure your eggplant is wiped clean and dry. Then simply hold the eggplant on its side with one hand, and with the other hand, using a sharp knife, slice into 1/2-inch thick rounds. If your eggplant is very small (like Asian eggplants), you can always slice it lengthwise into long strips, so the pieces don’t fall through the grill grates.
Do You Peel Eggplant Before Grilling?
Nope! You should not peel the eggplant before grilling it. You actually need the peel to hold the vegetable together – if you remove it, the flesh will fall apart. Plus, the peel adds texture and a visual appeal to your finished dish.
How To Grill Eggplant
Grilling eggplant is so quick and easy!
- Heat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan.
- Slice your eggplant into 1/2-inch thick rounds, as directed.
- Baste with the seasonings and oil.
- Place the eggplant slices on the grill and cook until tender and slightly charred.
How Long to Grill Eggplant
Eggplant cooks pretty fast, especially when cut into slices. The slices for this particular recipe should only take about 3-4 minutes per side until they are tender and browned.
Health Benefits of Eggplant
Eggplant is high in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber, which all support heart health.
- One cup of eggplant is only 20 calories and contains 2.5 grams of fiber.
- The polyphenols in eggplant may help protect the body from cancer.
- Eggplant also contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthi, which play a role in eye health.
How to Choose the perfect Eggplant
Eggplant is a very versatile vegetable, with a meaty texture and mild earthy flavor. It’s practically a sponge when it comes to soaking up seasonings and marinades. Follow these five tips when picking out an eggplant to ensure you’re getting the best one.
- Smooth and shiny skin – dull skin usually indicates poor quality and wrinkled skin usually means it’s old. Both of these factors could mean that it’s going to be bitter. Skin should be shiny and taut, without bruising or discoloration, so you know it’s fresh.
- A green stem – The eggplant’s stem should be green, not brown, and also be free of mold and not dried out.
- The texture is slightly firm – press your thumb against the eggplant; it should be soft and bounce back (but not so soft that it feels mushy.) If it has too much give, it’s overripe.
- It’s fairly heavy – regardless of its size, eggplant should feel solid and heavy in your hand.
- Size matters – the larger the eggplant, the more seeds it has. More seeds typically means a more bitter flavor. Pick a few small-to-medium sized eggplants instead of a single one that is gigantic.
- Make sure your eggplant slices are the same thickness, so they cook at the same rate.
- Don’t have a grill? Don’t worry! This recipe also works in the oven – simply place the eggplant slices on a sprayed baking sheet under the broiler. (Cook for the same amount of time as if you were grilling them.)
- Feel free to play with the seasonings if you’ve got a bunch of fresh herbs growing in your garden.
How to Store Leftovers
Grilled eggplant is best served right away, but can also be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. Any leftovers should be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freezing this recipe is not recommended, since thawed eggplant becomes very mushy and watery.
Ways to Use Grilled Eggplant
This recipe is perfect as a side dish, but you can turn it into an ingredient for other dishes.
- Use it mixed into pasta.
- Layer it into an awesome sandwich.
- Chop it up for a pizza topping.
- Make Baba Ganoush (eggplant dip).
- Instead of zucchini lasagna rolls, use slices of eggplant!
Watch the video for Grilled Eggplant
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 medium eggplants , sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
- Kosher salt and black pepper , to taste
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Heat a grill over medium-high.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, oregano, red pepper flakes; baste eggplant on both sides. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Coat the grill grates generously with nonstick spray.
- Grill eggplant slices until tender and slightly charred, about 3 minutes per side.
- Transfer eggplant to a serving platter or individual plates; top with the feta and parsley, and drizzle with the lemon juice.
- Eat and enjoy!