June 23, 2024

20 Vegetarian Eggplant Recipes to Obsess Over This Summer

Eggplant has long been a staple in vegetarian cuisine. Its satisfying texture and remarkable ability to absorb other flavors makes it a perfect canvas for creative in the kitchen. We’ve all heard of eggplant parmesan, but what about Moroccan eggplant stew (or Zaalouk)? Whether your diet is completely meat-free or you’re just incorporating more plant-based meals into your weekly menu, there’s a world of possibilities when it comes to curating filling and healthy vegetarian eggplant recipes.

If you’re craving Mediterranean flavors, spicy Asian-inspired dishes, or perhaps a fusion of both cuisines, we have you covered. With this stellar fruit as our guiding star (that’s right, eggplant’s a fruit!), we’ve compiled a list of 20 vegetarian eggplant recipes that unlock its true potential.

Featured Image by Michelle Nash.

20 Vegetarian Eggplant Recipes to Satisfy Every Palate

Ratatouille-Style Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Why We Love It: While ratatouille has been a popular dish in French cuisine since the 1700s, I’ve found that very few people actually know what it consists of. Delicious bell peppers, zucchini—and yes, eggplant—comprise the perfect recipe to transition from summer to fall. It also give you a great excuse to cozy up with a delicious bowl of pasta. (Who wouldn’t enjoy that?)

Hero Ingredient: Fire-roasted tomatoes kick up the heat.

Healthy Flatbread Pizza with Eggplant and Ricotta

Why We Love It: The perfect summer dinner is here! Aside from the eggplant, you likely have the ingredients to create this delicious flatbread in your fridge or pantry. Any type of pizza crust or pre-bought flatbread will work for this recipe, but I’d opt for Camille’s homemade pizza dough!

Hero Ingredient: Ricotta is the ideal summer cheese to add to your pizzas. It’s creamy, a little salty, and delicious spread in a thin layer or dolloped on top.

Charred Caprese Stuffed Eggplants

Why We Love It: The Italians know what they’re doing—caprese is simply the best summery salad. Anything made with tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and balsamic glaze is a must-have when the weather heats up. Tossing stuffed eggplants with these ingredients is a filling and easy way to enjoy all the caprese flavors as an appetizer or light main.

Hero Ingredient: A good quality, aged balsamic vinegar is a game changer.

Skillet Eggplant Lasagna

Why We Love It: Eggplant parmesan might have to move aside as the best use of eggplant in an Italian dish. This skillet eggplant lasagna is lighter than the classic cheesy comfort dish, and it can be done all in one pan. Score!

Hero Ingredient: Baby spinach is a great way to add a boost of green to your lasagna.

Smokey Eggplant Dip

Why We Love It: Diverging from entrees, this eggplant dip is highly addictive and beyond simple to make. Your eggplant is roasted, charred, and thrown into a food processor with other delicious ingredients. I’m talking garlic, tahini, and creme fraiche that come together to complement the eggplant’s smokey flavor.

Hero Ingredient: Smokey spices like paprika and toasted cumin bring the flavor.

Stuffed Roasted Eggplants

Why We Love It: I’m a big fan of stuffed fruits and veggies of any sort. There’s something about being able to combine all your ingredients and getting a huge burst of flavor with each bite. Like baked potatoes, these eggplants can be customized to your crowd’s desires with a variety of delicious toppings.

Hero Ingredient: Pomegranate seeds add a deliciously unexpected pop of flavor and color.

Eggplant Caponata from Love and Lemons

Why We Love It: This recipe showed me the true beauty of crafting caponata. It’s made with roasted eggplant and a variety of tangy, briny, and slightly sweet flavors and can be served over pasta or on freshly sliced crostini. I’d go so far as to call it the perfect summery snack.

Hero Ingredient: Capers bring a bit of briny flavor. Don’t knock ’em until you’ve tried them!

Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant from Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: We’re big fans of grilling just about anything—and eggplant is no exception. After visiting Jamaica a few years back, I became obsessed with perfecting a jerk marinade filled with all of the best seasonings. Simply slice your eggplants into large, steak-like pieces, and coat them in your tangy and spicy marinade before popping them on the grill! Easy and delicious.

Hero Ingredient: This recipe includes a delicious BBQ-based sauce that’ is an absolute’s a must-have for this savory grilled fruit.

Grilled Eggplant With Chimichurri from Foodie Crush

Why We Love It: Last year, I took a cooking class where I learned how to create the perfect chimichurri, and to my surprise, it’s actually quite simple! Fresh herbs like parsley and cilantro are key to making the tastiest topping for all of your grilled delicacies.

Hero Ingredient: Cilantro is essential for both this chimichurri’s signature flavor and color.

Roasted Eggplant and Mushroom Curry from The Roasted Root

Why We Love It: If you’re on the edge about incorporating eggplant into your diet, start with this recipe. As mentioned, eggplant is great at absorbing bold spices and flavors, making it one of the best bases for curry-like dishes.

Hero Ingredient: Coconut milk gives this dish the perfect creaminess without being overwhelmingly heavy.

Eggplant Pizza Bites from Primavera Kitchen

Why We Love It: Not only are these pizza bites adorable, but they’re also a plant-packed snack you can throw together in a pinch. If you’re looking for a twist on the beloved bagel bites, these are perfect for a light, summery dinner.

Hero Ingredient: Homemade or store-bought will do, but be sure to choose a good quality tomato sauce.

Zaalouk Toasts With Burrata from Pinch of Yum

Why We Love It: Here it is! The zaalouk recipe you’ve all been waiting for. These toasts are a flavor-packed appetizer that combines the traditional Moroccan dish of zaalouk (cooked eggplants, tomatoes, and tons of spices) with creamy burrata cheese.

Hero Ingredient: I could go on and on about burrata cheese.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan from Gimme Some Oven

Why We Love It: The classic Italian dish you’ve all been waiting for. This baked eggplant parmesan showcases the rich and comforting flavors of eggplant, tomato sauce, and melted cheese while being completely vegetarian-friendly.

Hero Ingredient: Lots and lots of freshly grated parmesan is basically a requirement.

Fire Roasted Eggplant Dal from Full of Plants

Why We Love It: If you’re a fan of heat, this fire-roasted dal might become one of your favorite comfort dishes. The Indian soup is made from simple ingredients—such as lentils, chickpeas, or beans—simmered in a variety of spices and served over a starch of choice. It’s beyond cozy and exactly what I want to curl up with at the end of a long day.

Hero Ingredient: Top with a dollop of yogurt or coconut cream for a little added tang.

Thai Basil Eggplant from Running on Real Food

Why We Love It: Most of the time, throwing together an elaborate Thai dish doesn’t fit into my schedule. But I always crave its comforting complexity. This stir-fried eggplant can be served with rice or noodles that complement its bold flavors—and it’s easy enough to throw together on a weeknight.

Hero Ingredient: Toss in your favorite baked tofu for an added bit of protein.

Eggplant + Tofu with Sweet-Hot Chili Glaze from Sprouted Kitchen

Why We Love It: Eggplant and tofu are a highly underrated pairing. The sweet-hot chili glaze uses Asian-inspired ingredients you likely have for your favorite staple dishes. Simply bake or fry the eggplant and tofu using your method of choice and stir-fry all of the remaining ingredients with the sauce in your wok or a large saucepan.

Hero Ingredient: Hot chili sauce is a staple ingredient in my house.

Butternut Squash and Eggplant Stir Fry from Downshiftology

Why We Love It: These stir-fried veggies make for the perfect appetizer or addition to any entree. With a simple sauce made from honey, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil there’s no excuse for bland veggies on the table.

Hero Ingredient: Honey gives your sauce body and the perfect touch of sweetness.

Baingan Bharta from Rainbow Plant Life

Why We Love It: If the smokey eggplant dip sounded up your alley, then this baingan bharta will make your heart (stomach?) soar. Indian-inspired spices complement this silky and hearty dish, which pairs perfectly with vegan naan, roti, or basmati rice.

Hero Ingredient: Ginger is a key aromatic in this recipe. Go big or go home.

Roasted Eggplant Sandwiches with Vegan Arugula Walnut Pesto from This Savory Vegan

Why We Love It: Roasted eggplant is highly versatile, but what’s simpler than a sandwich? Paired with fresh sourdough and arugula walnut pesto mayo (yum!), this eggplant sammie is anything but boring.

Hero Ingredient: You’ll want to add the arugula walnut pesto mayo onto every sandwich from now on.

Vegan Roasted Eggplant Salad From Food Dolls

Why We Love It: This vegetarian eggplant recipe is the perfect warm-weather dish to enjoy at your next cookout or get-together. It’s nutritious and filling thanks to the protein and healthy fats, and the tangy tahini dressing gives it the perfect creamy bite.

Hero Ingredient: Tahini has the ability to elevate just about anything—this dish included.

Vegetarian Eggplant Recipes