The humble eggplant often gets pushed aside in favor of trendy produce like avocados or kale, but this versatile fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) deserves a place at your table, too. Thankfully there is no shortage of eggplant recipes to try.
Eggplant has a unique combination of textures that makes it a versatile ingredient in many dishes, and it’s loaded with antioxidants, fiber and potassium. Plus, who doesn’t love that rich purple color?
Get ready to embrace eggplant after you check out these exciting, healthy and delicious eggplant recipes, many of which suit the vegan diet. From pizza and dips to soup and chips, you’ll want to include eggplant at every meal.
40 Exciting Eggplant Recipes
Crispy eggplant sans frying is possible. Ground almonds are used in place of traditional breadcrumbs to coat eggplant slices and then are baked to achieve ultimate crunch. Serve with marinara sauce, in a sandwich or with a salad.
2. Baba Ganoush
One of my favorite eggplant recipes, this Middle Eastern staple is perfect for dipping crackers, veggies or spreading on a sandwich. Broiling the skins adds a smoky flavor to the dip — I recommend you make a double batch. You’ll want it!
Photo: Baba Ganoush / Inspired Taste
This delightfully simple healthy recipe is full of flavor thanks to Dijon mustard, garlic, fresh thyme and, of course, balsamic. Try adding other veggies, like zucchini, onions or carrots, for a hearty side dish.
Reminiscent of lasagna, this beef and eggplant casserole is the type of dish that’s excellent on a cold night when you need something cozy for dinner.
Ground beef is cooked with garlic and marinara sauce and then layered atop fresh eggplant slices and Parmesan cheese. The result is a crisp, oven-baked casserole that’s carb-free and delicious. Top with fresh basil.
Photo: Beef and Eggplant Casserole / Not Enough Cinnamon
Former cheese-loving vegans, get excited: This dip tastes super similar to traditional queso dips except it has no cashews, soy, dairy or gluten. Thanks to roasted eggplant as its base, this dip does have lots of creamy, spicy goodness. Top it with smoked paprika for extra color.
Skip the gluten, carbs and calories normally found in lasagna, and add in tons of taste with this dinner. Eggplant slices stand in for noodles while a mix of veggies and cheese finish it off. Hint: Omit the chicken to keep this vegetarian-friendly.
Homemade Sichuan-style eggplant is the perfect antidote to greasy takeout Chinese food. It’s also crazy quick to whip up, great for busy weeknights.
Serve it with a side of brown rice, veggies or even eat it solo (but make sure to use coconut oil!). You won’t regret it.
Photo: Chinese Eggplant With Spicy Garlic Sauce / Steamy Kitchen
Put down the bag of store-bought chips, and snack on these instead. Eggplant slices are slow-roasted in smoky seasonings for a perfectly crisp chip. Because an entire eggplant is just 150 calories, you can snack on these and feel great about it!
Photo: Crisp Eggplant Chips / Healthful Pursuit
Forget potatoes, and swap in eggplant in this breakfast hash. Drying the eggplant before cooking will let help it reach ultimate crispiness. Try this for a weekend brunch or on breakfast-for-dinner night!
Photo: Crispy Eggplant and Tomato Hash / Baker By Nature
Brown rice is baked with eggplant, peppers and tomatoes in this easy main dish. Because of spices like turmeric, ginger and cinnamon, it’s packed with flavor. Sneak in more veggies, or swap in your favorites.
Think you can’t get a good stuffing without bread? Think again.
Eggplant and your favorite mushrooms absorb the goodness of the other ingredients — think grass-fed butter, bacon (opt for beef!) and turkey juices — while keeping their own shape. Try this once, and you won’t look back at your usual stuffing again.
Make a restaurant favorite at home — and keep it low-carb and gluten-free — with this Benedict recipe. Eggplant slices stand in for English muffins in this impressive breakfast. Use turkey or beef bacon, and to make this extra special, serve with asparagus on top or on the side.
Photo: Eggplant Benedict / All Day I Dream About Food
Need an easy appetizer? I love the idea of using eggplant slices in place of bread for a fresh bruschetta that comes together right on the grill during warm months — broil when it’s too cold out!
With such few ingredients required to make this gratin, sticking to fresh herbs will turn this main into a show-stopping meal. Pair this with a side salad for a warm, filling meal.
Photo: Eggplant Gratin With Tomato, Herbs and Crème Fraiche / The Iron You
In this non-traditional take on the classic “hole in the head” breakfast, eggplant stands in for bread, with eggs cooking right in the center. It’s easy to make and fun to eat!
16. Eggplant Jam
Eggplant jam?! It sounds crazy, but it tastes amazing on everything from grilled meats to grilled bread.
Harissa keeps things spicy, but sub in hot sauce if you don’t have this Mediterranean condiment. Try it out at your next cookout!
Eggplant Parmesan sounds like a healthier alternative to the chicken version, but after dredging and frying eggplant slices, it’s easy to load up on calories, too. This baked version is good for you and easy too: Eggplant “boats” serve as the base while the other delicious ingredients gets stuffed right into them — no slicing or dicing here.
Opt for gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond meal.
Photo: Eggplant Parmesan With Fresh Mozzarella / She’s Cookin’
Eggplant plays well with other vegetables in this easy soup. Because the soup gets blended at the end, mix and match other veggie favorites to tweak the taste — celery would be a nice addition.
Bite into creamy goat cheese and buttery eggplant when you make this amazing side dish or snack. Raisins add a hint of sweetness while basil adds fresh flavor — and a hint of green!
Grilled, meaty eggplants make a wonderful substitution for traditional beef burgers. Topped with halloumi cheese and pesto, this is a veggie burger even carnivores will love.
Eggplant and mozzarella are a natural fit, and there’s no better way to munch on them together than in this side dish/appetizer. Eggplant slices are grilled and then stacked with mozz, tomatoes and basil. Use a grill pan to get those great grill marks if it’s too cold outside!
This caramelized Japanese-style eggplant is melt-in-your-mouth good. Grilling gives it a smoky flavor, but the stovetop works in a crunch, too. Use coconut sugar in place of regular, and don’t forget to top with scallions at the end!
Photo: Grilled Miso-Glazed Japanese Eggplant / Recipe Tin Eats
Who needs pizza crust when you have eggplant? Slather your favorite ‘za toppings (don’t skimp on the fresh basil!) onto eggplant slices, bake and enjoy. Pizza night has never been this easy.
Get your Mediterranean fix with this loaded salad. Bursting with chickpeas, garlic and cheese, it’s healthy and tastes delicious to boot. Did I mention it’s really simple to make, too?
You’ll be eating your burgers with a side of yum after making these eggplant fries. Almond meal helps the fries crisp as they bake, while maple syrup, sea salt and paprika infuse flavor. Bye bye, potato fries!
Photo: Oven-Baked Eggplant Fries / Veggies Don’t Bite
If you’re tired of eating quinoa the same way, this should perk up your taste buds. Quinoa, which is loaded with protein and fiber, gets stuffed into eggplant, along with veggies, flaxseed and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. You’ll love this meatless main dish.
Photo: Quinoa and Veggie Stuffed Eggplant / Lemons and Basil
Biting into a hearty vegetarian sandwich can be difficult sometimes. That’s not the case with this one.
Oven-baked eggplants slices are topped with avocado, cheese and a kale-based pesto. Throw it all on a sprouted grain hamburger bun, and you’ve got yourself one amazing sandwich.
If your idea of pilaf is of the boxed rice variety, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. This version is quinoa-based and brimming with juicy raisins, crunchy pine nuts and roasted eggplant.
It’s a fine side dish, but served with a side salad, it’s a great vegan main, too.
This is one of those tasty eggplant recipes that is comfort food at its best: good for your body and your mind. It’s also perfect for beginners in the kitchen: It’s ready in just a few steps.
This delicious stir-fry-esque meal will become a new family favorite.
Photo: Roasted Eggplant With Spinach, Quinoa, and Feta / Julia’s Album
Do the words “pasta salad” conjure up images of limp, mayonnaise-slathered pasta? Think again.
This wholesome pasta dressing is made with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice and loaded with veggies. Crumbled feta adds saltiness, and fresh basil ties it all together. Use brown rice or gluten-free pasta, and inhale.
Photo: Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad / Cookin’ Canuck
Not only an animated movie, ratatouille is also one of the most classic eggplant-based dishes. It’s a standout meal brimming with fresh veggies — hit the farmers market for this one.
Because it takes several hours to roast in the oven (and tastes even better the second day!), I recommend you make this during the weekend and then enjoy on a hectic weeknight.
Photo: Slow-Roasted Ratatouille / Feeling Foodish
When you’ve got a hankering for Chinese fried rice, this spicy eggplant and quinoa will hit the spot — and has more nutritional value. Plus, like most stir-fry dishes, the veggie ingredients are entirely customizable based on what’s on hand.
Photo: Spicy Asian Eggplant and Quinoa / Julia’s Album
This “poor man’s caviar” is a smooth spread that can be eaten as either an appetizer or a side dish. Try it on crackers, as a sandwich spread or with your scrambled eggs. Yum!
Who says a veggie burger has to be second class? This veggie patty, made from potassium-packed sweet potatoes and eggplants, isn’t just a meat substitute — it’s a great burger in its own right.
Try it with a side of baked French fries for a healthy happy meal.
Pretend you’re in Bangkok while indulging in this dish. It’s full of Thai flavor goodness, but it uses common Asian cooking ingredients like hoisin and soy sauces.
Sub tempeh in for tofu and arrowroot powder for cornstarch to keep this quick dish healthy and tasting good.
Photo: Thai Basil Eggplant / Vegetarian Gastronomy
You can be a vegan and get your bacon, too. Smoky eggplant “bacon” meets lettuce, tomatoes and cashew mayo for the ultimate veggie BLT.
Use sprouted grain bread and almond milk for the cashew mayo. This is one sandwich you’ll want to make again and again!
Photo: The Best Vegan BLT / Oh My Veggies
Get your healthy fats in with this eggplant- olive oil- and tomato-based dish. With just a few ingredients like diced tomatoes and fresh parsley, you’ll have a restaurant-worthy meal. Save yourself a slice!
One of the eggplant recipes you should definitely try tonight: Meatballs!
Combine eggplant, white beans and gluten-free crumbs, which all lend an unbelievable texture to these vegan meatballs. Enjoy them over brown rice pasta, in a sandwic, or, as suggested, with zoodles (zucchini noodles).
No matter what vehicle you use, you’ll love these meatballs!
Photo: Vegan Eggplant Meatballs / skinnytaste.com
Another classic among eggplant recipes, this healthy version includes spinach, goat feta, oregano, basil and more. It’s ready in an hour and can feed a big family.
Instead of a greasy pizza-shop pie, try this healthy eggplant flatbread. It features a host of veggies and uses gluten-free flour for the crust. You’re guaranteed to love it!