Grilled Eggplant

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When eggplant is sliced and grilled it takes on a terrific texture and a fantastic smoky flavor.

Grilled Eggplant

Vegetables get exponentially more delicious when cooked on the grill, and eggplant is no exception! When eggplant is sliced and grilled, it takes on a terrific silky texture and a fantastic smoky flavor. It takes just a few minutes to grill and is a terrific side for other grilled dishes like grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak, Indian-Inspired Lamb Kebabs or Grilled Chicken Thighs in Indian Curry Marinade. Or make a whole bunch of grilled vegetables!

One of the not-so-secret secrets about cooking good eggplant on the grill is to salt it and keep a close eye on it.

Stack of Grilled Eggplant on white plate.

Grilled Eggplant: When eggplant is sliced and grilled it takes on a terrific texture and a fantastic smoky flavor.

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FAQs

How do you cut an eggplant for grilling?

I like to cut the eggplant about ½-inch thick in circles, but you can also trim off the very top and bottom and slice it lengthwise into larger planks. You can also cut thicker slices. Thinner slices will cook very quickly and have a tendency to burn easily.

Should you salt eggplant before grilling?

In most cases, yes. The key to non-bitter eggplant, no matter how you are cooking it, is to salt it first. This isn’t necessary for very small or young eggplant without many seeds, like Japanese eggplant, but for larger eggplant, it makes a big difference. It’s easy to do; it just takes a minute of hands-on time and a little planning ahead.

How to Salt Eggplant for Grilling

  1. Simply slice the eggplant about ½-inch thick and place a few slices in a colander. Don’t slice the eggplant too thin for grilling — the middle may start to burn before the outer edges become tender.
  2. Give the first layer of eggplant a sprinkle of kosher salt. This part is important; you need a coarser salt, like kosher or flaky sea salt, so that the salt pulls the moisture from the eggplant, but doesn’t make it too salty or allow it to become mushy.
  3. Continue to add layers of eggplant alternating with generous sprinkles of kosher salt until all of the eggplant is salted. Let sit in a sink or over a plate for 30 minutes; you will start to see moisture beading up on the eggplant, and some liquid may collect under the colander.
Slices of fresh eggplant in colandar.
  1. Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels or a clean dish towel. You’re now ready to brush the slices with olive oil and start grilling.
Woman patting salted eggplant slice with dish towel.

How to Grill Eggplant

  1. Oil the eggplant: Brush the eggplant on both sides with olive oil.
Placing oiled eggplant slices on hot grill.
  1. Grill the eggplant: Grill the eggplant for about 8 minutes until browned and tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Flipping grilled eggplant with barbecue tongs.

Grilling Tips

You should feel free to move the eggplant about the grill to cooler spots if they look like they are browning too quickly. You can grill them for longer. If you want softer eggplant, just make sure to flip them as needed and not let the slices start to get too brown in any spots.

How to Serve Grilled Eggplant

You can serve it plain and simple or with a dipping sauce, like Sriracha Sauce, Creamy Mustard Oregano Sauce, Simple Herb Dipping Sauce, Roasted Tomato and Garlic Sauce, Red Pepper Sauce, Chermoula, or Harissa Dipping Sauce. Also, think about combining grilled eggplant with other simply grilled vegetables (see below). Perhaps add it to an antipasti platter.

Grilled Vegetables with Grilled Eggplant on white plate at a cookout.

You can also give it a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and another little drizzle of olive oil. Some fresh herbs torn and strewn over the top would be lovely: try basil, marjoram, or mint.

Grilled eggplant can be diced and added to all kinds of pasta and grain salads. Or use it to make Caponata! You can also use it as the base of babaganoush or another dip or spread.

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Woman holding grilled eggplant on white serving platter.

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5 from 1 vote

Grilled Eggplant

When eggplant is sliced and grilled it takes on a terrific texture and a fantastic smoky flavor.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Salting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people
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Equipment

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Heat the grill to medium-high.
  • Slice the eggplant into ½-inch slices.
  • If you are using a larger eggplant, place a few slices of eggplant in a colander (you can skip this step for Japanese eggplant). Add a sprinkle of kosher salt. Continue to add layers of eggplant alternating with generous sprinkles of kosher salt until all of the eggplant is salted. Let sit in a sink or over a plate for 30 minutes; you will start to see moisture beading up on the eggplant, and some liquid may collect under the colander.
  • Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels or a clean dishtowel. Brush the eggplant on both sides with olive oil.
  • Place the eggplant slices on the grill. Grill the eggplant, covered, for about 5 minutes until they get nice grill marks on the bottom and begin to soften, then flip them and grill for another 3 minutes or so.
  • Remove from the grill and serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • The key to non-bitter eggplant, no matter how you are cooking it, is to salt it first. This isn’t necessary for very small or young eggplant without many seeds, like Japanese eggplant, but for larger eggplant, it makes a big difference. It’s easy to do; it just takes a few extra minutes.
  • You should feel free to move the eggplant about the grill to cooler spots if they look like they are browning too quickly. You can grill them for longer. If you want softer eggplant, just make sure to flip them as needed and not let the slices start to get too brown in any spots.

Nutrition

Calories: 703kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 56g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 40g, Sodium: 19mg, Potassium: 2071mg, Fiber: 27g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 208IU, Vitamin C: 20mg, Calcium: 82mg, Iron: 2mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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