Food: Grilled Eggplant
Content-Type: Food Blog
Grilled eggplant is a tasty side dish that is lightly scorched and full of smokey flavor. Enjoy it plain or dress it up with some freshly made couscous!
Grilled eggplant was one of my all-time favorite recipes when I was first learning how to cook with seasonal vegetables.
When we were living in Austin at the time, my friend and I would visit farms nearby and return home with armfuls of summer vegetables like zucchini and eggplant.
Before we had an outdoor grill, we would heat the grill pan and cook everything until it was soft and had the right char. We’d bring around some crusty bread, put on a delectable sauce, and call it dinner.
Even though a lot has changed since then—we now reside in Chicago and have access to an outdoor grill—grilled eggplant continues to be a summertime favorite in our home.
I adore how the eggplant’s interior turns silky smooth while the exterior becomes pleasantly browned.
You may discover my simple grilling technique for eggplant and my preferred preparation method below. The deep, smokey flavor of the grilled eggplant is highlighted by a crisp couscous salad.
Make the entire dish, including the salad, or simply grill as much eggplant as you can. In either case, grilled eggplant is an essential summer side dish.
Should I salt or not salt? The query is that. If you frequently eat eggplant, you undoubtedly already know that many recipes call for salting and letting the eggplant drain for at least 20 minutes and possibly even several hours before cooking it.
The bitter flavor and spongy texture of eggplant are claimed to be improved by salting. My opinion? Here, it is not necessary.
If you skip this step, you’ll save a ton of time, and your grilled eggplant will still taste fantastic (as long as you salt it before you eat it, of course).
With salting eliminated, my technique for grilling eggplant is quick and simple. This is how it works:
- Prepare the eggplant first. In your local grocery shop or farmer’s market, look for firm, glossy eggplants. Pick the eggplant variety that best suits your grilling preferences, or use a combination of several. Slice or shape the eggplant into 1/4-inch-thick rounds or pieces when you’re ready to cook. Drizzle or brush the olive oil on the eggplant slices before adding salt and pepper.
- Cook next! Heat the grill pan to medium-high. Add the slices of eggplant when it is very hot and grill for two to three minutes on each side. Don’t undercook them under any circumstances. Slices shouldn’t be hard or spongy; they should be easily pierced with a fork. When the grilled eggplant slices are entirely soft and have grill marks on both sides, they are finished.
SUGGESTIONS FOR SERVING GRILLED EGGPLANT
Even while grilled eggplant is delicious on its own, I prefer to top it with herbed couscous to up the flavor. I combine freshly chopped parsley, diced dried apricots, toasted almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil with cooked Israeli couscous.
I then garnish it with a few fresh mint leaves and a dash of red pepper flakes. It goes perfectly with the grilled eggplant and is quite easy to prepare.
The tangy lemon, fragrant herbs, and sweet dried apricots all complement the smoky flavor of the eggplant to perfection. If you add some roasted chickpeas and feta cheese crumbles to the mixture, you could use it as a meal replacement.
It’s a terrific side dish just the way it is. For a cool summer lunch, pair it with a robust salad like my Mediterranean Chickpea Salad, Cucumber Tomato Salad, Greek Salad, or Panzanella.
It would also be fantastic with a straightforward prepared protein, like lentils with lemon marinade or any of these traditional cookout dishes:
- Excellent veggie burger
- Black Bean Burger
- BBQ Sandwiches with jackfruit
- Burger with Portobello Mushrooms
- The Quinoa Burger
Learn the secret to consistently delicious grilled eggplant! Fresh couscous salad is placed on top of the soft, roasted eggplant segments. Cooked quinoa can be used in place of the couscous to make this dish gluten-free.
- 2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- sea salt
COUSCOUS SALAD TOPPING
- 1/2 cup dry Israeli couscous and extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus 1/2 teaspoon zest
- 3 tablespoons chopped dried apricots or Medjool dates
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pinches of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley and mint leaves, for garnish
- 3 tablespoons chopped or sliced almonds
- Create the couscous salad. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the couscous for 7 to 8 minutes or until it is al dente. Transfer the liquid to a medium bowl after draining. Add olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, dried apricots, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add the parsley and almonds after seasoning to taste.
- Grill the eggplant. It should be heated to a medium-high temperature. Drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper over the eggplant. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until well-charged and tender.
- Place the couscous salad on top of the assembled eggplant in a serving dish. Add some fresh mint as a garnish. Add a drizzle of olive oil and season to taste. serves two as a main course or four as a side dish.