Garlic Grilled Eggplant – Slender Kitchen

Garlic Grilled Eggplant packed with tons of flavor from an easy garlic marinade that is ready on the grill in less than 10 minutes.
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4g FAT



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Learn how to grill eggplant so that it comes out perfectly tender with all that great smoky flavor from the grill. Use it as an easy summer side dish, add it to salads, or use it as a sandwich filling. Eggplant lovers should also try this Healthy Eggplant Parmesan and Baked Eggplant Cutlets.

If you aren’t grilling eggplant yet, you are missing out. Throwing this often overlooked veggie on the grill gives what can be a sometimes bland vegetable a ton of added flavor. The eggplant soaks up the flavor of the simple garlic marinade and then gets some smoke and char from the grill. It’s delicious.

The other thing I love about grilling eggplant is that there are so many different ways to use it. The obvious option is as a side dish, but it also makes such a yummy addition to burgers, sandwiches, salads, and pasta. We also love layering it with some fresh summer tomatoes and fresh mozzarella or feta cheese for a delicious appetizer or meal. Drizzled with some balsamic glaze and fresh basil – so good. 

Garlic grilled eggplant with grill marks in a bowl with parsley and lemon.

How to Grill Eggplant

  • Pick: Start by choosing a firm eggplant with shiny skin free from blemishes. For the best flavor, choose one that is small to medium in size.
  • Prep: Gently wash the eggplant to remove any dirt or debris. Then slice the eggplant into rounds or horizontal planks. They should be about 3/4 inch thick. You can also chop the eggplant if you are using a grill basket or foil.
  • Add oil: Eggplant will stick to the grill without oil. Make sure to brush the eggplant with olive oil (or another neutral oil) on both sides.
  • Seasoning: Add flavor to your eggplant with salt, pepper, and any other spices or dried herbs you like. Consider trying steak seasoning, cumin, paprika, or curry powder.
  • Grill: Now it’s time to grill. Eggplant will take about 4 minutes on each side. In a grill basket, it will take 7-9 minutes and you will want to shake the basket a few times.
  • Optional: To add some extra flavor, toss the eggplant with vinaigrette or marinade before serving. We love it with a quick drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and parsley.

Recipe Ideas for Grilled Eggplant

  • Make Grilled Eggplant Parmesan: One of my favorite things to do with grilled eggplant is to make a fresh take on eggplant parmesan. Once the eggplant comes off the grill just add marinara sauce and cheese. Place it on some foil and return to a hot grill for 1-2 minutes until the cheese melts. Top with breadcrumbs if desired for some crunch.
  • Use it for Sandwich Buns: Low carb, Paleo, Keto, and Whole30 folks or anyway looking for a light burger bun. Use grilled eggplant slices instead of bread. Just make sure to cut them thick enough they are sturdy.
  • Switch out the Seasoning: Once you start grilling eggplant, you will quickly learn that it is a sponge when it comes to flavor. Try out all your favorite spice blends and herbs to create unique flavor combinations. 
  • Add Fresh Herbs and Dressing: Another yummy option is to add fresh herbs and vinaigrettes to the eggplant when it comes off the grill. The eggplant soaks up the flavor and the herbs add brightness.
  • Top with Cheese: Eggplant pairs great with cheese. Try it with some crumbled feta, goat cheese, Parmesan, or fresh mozzarella.

Is eggplant bitter?

Eggplant has a bad reputation for being a bitter vegetable but it should actually be one the sweet side as long as you are choosing a young, fresh eggplant. Here’s the thing. As eggplants mature and grow large, they become more bitter. They also become more bitter as they age. Therefore the best way to ensure your eggplant isn’t bitter is to choose small to medium sized eggplant that is fresh. Do that and there will be no bitterness to be found.

Do I need to salt eggplant before cooking?

Salting eggplant is a method that is generally used to help remove bitterness. However, as I mentioned above, as long as you choose small to medium sized eggplant then you can skip these step entirely. 

Staring at a large eggplant? Then you might want to take the extra step to salt the eggplant. Simply slice it into rounds or planks. Sprinkle it with salt on both sides and let sit for 15 minutes in a colander. Then rinse it off and dry well before cooking. 

One other note about salting the eggplant, if you absolutely hate any mushiness in your eggplant, salting can help. Since it removes some of the moisture, it will result in a less mushy eggplant.

How to grill eggplant with sliced eggplant on a plate with a napkin.

How to choose eggplant?

Generally speaking, you want to look for an eggplant that is firm, smooth, and doesn’t have any brown spots or blemishes. Smaller eggplants tend to be sweeter and have less bitterness that larger eggplant. Normally I recommend choosing small to medium sized eggplants for this reason.

Additionally, you can look at the eggplant stem to test freshness. It should be green and shouldn’t have any mushiness or signs of mold.

How long does grilled eggplant last in the fridge?

Once you have grilled the eggplant, it will keep in your fridge for 4-5 days. It can be eaten cold or you can reheat it in a hot skillet or in the microwave.

If you haven’t cooked the eggplant yet, they generally last for 2-3 weeks when kept whole in the fridge. On the counter, they will last 4-5 days. It is generally not recommended to freeze raw eggplant, but you can freeze cooked eggplant.


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