Easy roasted eggplant is a great addition to any low carb meal. Bake in the oven to use as the main course for tonight's dinner or as a standalone side dish. Roasted eggplant is easy to reheat and can be served warmed or at room temperature. We love it with our vegan basil pesto drizzled on top!
Please read the entire post for tips and tricks to ensure a perfect recipe every time. And don't forget to tag @peelwithzeal on Instagram so we can admire your creation!
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We have been on a roasting streak in the Peel house lately. Maybe it is the colder weather. You can check out our most recent slow roasted tomatoes and our roasted garlic to see what I am talking about. Serious goodness!
And now we have moved on to eggplant. Not sure how to make eggplant quickly? Does your eggplant ever turn out rubbery? What about an odd bitter flavor? Then this recipe is for you!
We struggled to make eggplant for years. Then I realized what I was doing wrong. I wasn't salting to draw out moisture and then when I finally learned that trick I followed conventional wisdom and did it for a full hour. Way too long!
I finally got the hang of it. While many cooking websites say that salting, or bringing the eggplant, isn't necessary because modern eggplants are less bitter I just don't agree. I find the salt improves both the flavor and texture. Plus when selecting an eggplant you never exactly how bitter it might be. Better safe than sorry!
A few tips and tricks when it comes to properly baking and eggplant. A little pre-salt goes a long way, the thickness of the slices really matters and temperature is key. Lets get to it!
How to Select Eggplant
Most of us are used to Italian eggplant that is found in most supermarkets. However, smaller eggplants like the Thai and Japanese varieties are becoming more readily available, especially from your local farmer's markets. Any of these varieties work well when roasted — just make sure you’re picking a good eggplant from the start and that you slice it appropriately for its shape and size, long ways vs Crossway.
Look for eggplant with firm, unblemished skin. Eggplant should feel heavy for its size and be free of soft spots. You can check by giving it a gentle squeeze it should feel firm, not spongy or too hard.
How to Make Eggplant Slices in the Oven
- Cutting the Eggplant: Trim the ends and cut into rounds, between 1/3 – 1/2 inch thick. For longer thinner eggplants, slice lengthwise. Smaller eggplants may just need to be sliced in half.
- Brine the Eggplant Lay eggplant on a wire rack, generously sprinkle each side with salt. Allow the eggplant to sit for 10-30 minutes while the salt pulls out excess moisture. Gently rinse the eggplant and use a towel to lightly push out the excess water.
- Bake the Eggplant- Preheat the over to 400 F degrees. I prefer to line a baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Alternately you can oil the baking sheet but I find parchment works better. Spread out the eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet and lightly brush oil on both sides. Sprinkle with black pepper. Do not add additional salt, the initial salting has seeped in and you can always salt to taste later. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Flip halfway through for even caramelization.
How to Serve Baked Eggplant
I used to avoid eggplant. I just wasn’t really sure how to use it outside eggplant parmesan. But now it is a staple in our lives. Here are some of the ways we like to serve this recipe:
- Topped with marinara and fresh parsley or basil, a simple side dish
- As part of a chicken bowl, sprinkle with zaatar and add fresh tomatoes, olives, and parsley
- As part of a veggie stack with vegan basil pesto, our roasted zucchini, portabella mushrooms, and red onions.
- Rolled with our roasted garlic cashew cream cheese stuffed inside and a fresh tomato sauce drizzled on top, the perfect vegan main course
- Serve as a side with a preserved lemon vinaigrette and sprinkled with microgreens
- Serve with pork tenderloin and carrot-ginger dressing
- In a roasted veggie sandwich
We have enjoyed experimenting with different ways to serve healthy baked eggplant so much that we have decided to try growing eggplant in our garden this year! Let us know in the comments on how you plan to use your roasted eggplant.
- Sheet pan
- wire rack or parchment
- 1 eggplant
- kosher salt
- olive oil
- black pepper
- Cut off ends of eggplant and slice into 1/3 inch rounds. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet. Lay the eggplant on the rack. Liberally sprinkle each side of the steaks with the salt and let the eggplant sit for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Rinse the eggplant under cool water and thoroughly pat dry with a towel.
- Arrange the eggplant and single layer on the parchment lined baking sheet. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil and a light sprinkle of black pepper.
- Roast the eggplant in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip and roast for an additional 10 minutes. Serve as desired.