Summer squash and corn may be the typical stars of the show when it comes to grilled summer vegetables, but in my world, it's all about the eggplant. There's just something about it that I can't get enough of, especially when grilled. It can easily replace meat as a main meal or be turned into a quick appetizer to satisfy your guests. And cooking it over the grill on a beautiful summer day only seems to make it taste that much better.
When you're firing up the grill this summer, pick up an eggplant and try one of these incredible grilled eggplant recipes. From the classic pairings to some new twists, there's a recipe here for everyone to enjoy.
1. Grilled Mini Eggplant Pizzas
We absolutely adore this recipe. It's great for when you're craving pizza, but trying to go the low-carb route. It also makes for a tasty appetizer at dinner parties. Plus, it only requires seven savory ingredients.
Chef's Note: For a thicker crust pizza, you'll want 1-inch slices. For thinner crust style pizza, slice the eggplant in 1/2-inches slices.
2. Grilled Eggplant Parmesan
This is unlike any eggplant parmesan you've had before. Focusing more on the flavors of the veggies rather than the breading, blistered cherry tomatoes with roasted garlic are combined with grilled medium eggplant rounds, chunks of burrata cheese, a sprinkle of parmesan, a handful of garlic and herb golden brown breadcrumbs, and fresh basil to top it off.
While you could make the whole thing the old fashioned way in the oven, by grilling the eggplant you achieve a perfect texture that also adds a complex smoky flavor to compliment the whole dish.
3. Eggplant Pesto Roll-Ups
This easy recipe is a great appetizer for a summer barbecue. Keeping things simple, brush eggplant slices with extra-virgin olive oil, then place eggplant on the grill for a few minutes until each side gets those nice grill lines. Then stuff each eggplant with a mixture of pesto, creamy ricotta, and lemon juice.
This would also taste phenomenal if the eggplant was marinated in balsamic vinegar. Either way, it's best to grab a couple eggplants because your guests will devour these faster than you can make them.
4. Grilled Eggplant Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
This is not your traditional grilled summer salad. This is a hearty, citrusy eggplant salad and it's simple to make. To grill eggplant, cut lengthwise, brush with olive oil, then grill over medium-high heat until nicely charred. Then drizzle the slices with a mustard and herb vinaigrette and top with micro greens.
5. Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant
One of my favorite Minimalist Baker recipes is this tantalizing eggplant dish. Inspired by jerk chicken, this eggplant dish is smoky, spicy, and bursting with flavor. Serve it on a bed of white rice as suggested or you could even turn it into a savory sandwich.
6. Grilled Eggplant Tahini Satay
No, that's not chicken. That's eggplant. Delicious, delicious eggplant that is marinated in a citrusy, coconut-y tahini sauce and then is grilled to perfection. This is what your veggie friends want at the next barbecue, and your meat eater friends too.
7. Loaded Grilled Eggplant with Creamy Herb Sauce
Take a break from grilling stuffed bell peppers and try stuffing eggplant with this hearty, umami recipe. A golden brown grilled eggplant is stuffed with a spiced nut meat crumble and topped with a cool herb sauce. Did I mention it's also vegetarian and Whole30?
8. Grilled Eggplant Gyros with Tzatziki
Want a break from veggie burgers and portobello burgers? Give your main dish a tasty twist with this recipe. A warm pita is stuffed with gyro spiced grilled eggplant, thin slices of red onion, fresh tomatoes, herbs, and a homemade tzatziki. For a vegan or lactose-free option, you can replace the tzatziki with tahini instead.
Chef's Note: Be sure to grill eggplant over medium-high heat for the best results.
9. Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich
This recipe is a tasty way to give your ordinary summer sandwiches a delightful twist. To assemble, grill eggplant rounds, halloumi cheese, and the bread until you achieve the desired grill marks. Then load it on the bread with slices of tomato, greens, and a dollop of pesto. For an even smokier flavor, try grilled tomato.
10. Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini, and Peppers Salad
Give your summer salads a charred twist with this yummy recipe. A beautiful side to go with your spread, it's a grilled vegetable medley of zucchini, colorful mini peppers, and eggplant all tossed in a balsamic and apple cider vinaigrette. This would be great served with some grilled crostinis on the side and possibly some fresh feta cheese.
11. Grilled Eggplant, Cherries, and Couscous Salad
This side dish is the embodiment of the seasonal flavors of summer. A heaping of eggplant, fresh corn, and sweet ripe cherries are tossed into a bed of couscous and topped with fresh lemon juice, herbs, and almonds. And to add even more depth, the grilled eggplant gives it a smoky twist. Next time you have a barbecue, add this fresh dish to the list.