26 of the Easiest-Ever Eggplant Recipes

Including pizza, fries, salads, and sandwiches. (Seriously, this is one versatile vegetable.)

Spicy Chicken and Eggplant Stir-Fry
Photo: JEN CAUSEY

Eggplant is the best kind of vegetable, which is to say, it's a multi-tasker. It's a healthy meat substitute. It can stand up to being grilled, fried, or baked (like in eggplant Parmesan or eggplant rollatini), and it's delicious roasted, stewed, or sautéed for ratatouille or a healthy dip. Bonus: Learning how to cook eggplant is pretty easy if you start with these simple eggplant dishes and cooking methods.

01 of 26

Roasted Eggplant With Miso and Sesame Seeds

Roasted Eggplant With Miso and Sesame Seeds
Antonis Achilleos

In this Asian-inspired recipe, the eggplants roast at high heat, making the outside skin crispy and the inside succulent. The rich miso dressing gives it a salty umami flavor that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Serve alongside a piece of fish or meat for an easy and impressive meal.

02 of 26

Eggplant Parmesan Rollatini

Eggplant Parmesan Rollatini
Jonny Valiant

Give eggplant parmesan a twist—literally—by rolling the ricotta mixture inside each pre-baked eggplant slice before topping with marinara sauce and freshly grated mozzarella. This eggplant recipe has all the cheesy, saucy goodness you'd expect from lasagna, but without the heaviness of pasta noodles. Bake until browned and bubbly, then serve warm to guests.

03 of 26

Eggplant and Chicken Caponata Pizza

Eggplant and Chicken Caponata Pizza
Jen Causey

Here, fresh eggplant, shredded chicken, and salty capers create a delicious (and surprising) topping for pizza.

04 of 26

Eggplant "Sandwiches"

Matt Romero's Eggplant Sandwiches
Katherine Wolkoff

A sandwich sans bread might not sound like much of a sandwich, but when you replace standard bread slices with slabs of thick, fried eggplant, the result is pretty darn delicious. Stuff some beefsteak tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and goat cheese crumbles in the middle, and you've got yourself a satiating sandwich alternative.

05 of 26

Greek Lamb Burgers with Baked Eggplant Fries

greek-lamb-burgers-0519din
Greg DuPree

Alongside this delicious burger recipe comes eggplant fries, which are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The key to coating these fries is a bath in frothed egg whites and then a toss in panko, or Japanese breadcrumbs. It's easy but with complex flavors—the best kind of entertaining recipe.

06 of 26

Grilled-Eggplant Salad

Grilled-Eggplant Salad
Andre Baranowski

Let the eggplant shine in this simple grilled salad recipe. To avoid any bitterness, choose young, smaller eggplants that don't have a lot of seeds. This recipe utilizes more fresh summer produce, but feel free to vary the other vegetables depending on the season.

07 of 26

Eggplant, Feta, and Lemon Tart

Eggplant, Feta, and Lemon Tart Recipe
Greg DuPree

This elegant eggplant tart recipe is easy, fresh, and incredibly flavorful. The thinly sliced eggplant melts into the buttery pastry, and the thin slices of lemon brighten up every bite. And did we mention the slices of feta? This flavorful tart is the star of any dinner party as a veggie main or sliced into small squares for a bite-sized appetizer.

08 of 26

Eggplant Panzanella

Eggplant Panzanella Recipe
Andrew Purcell

A panzanella is a traditional Italian salad that features cubes of deliciously grilled bread. While it's hard to beat that, this version's protein-packed kale and meaty eggplant chunks make it filling enough for dinner. And don't sleep on the lemony vinaigrette and juicy cherry tomatoes, which give this salad plenty of fresh, acidic notes. Plus, we love that the whole thing is tied together with shaved Manchego cheese and fresh dill.

09 of 26

Miso Eggplant Dip

Miso Eggplant Dip
Caitlin Bensel

If you're a dip fan, you've probably had baba ganoush, and while this dip is similar, we'd argue that it's actually tastier than the Middle Eastern classic. It combines baba ganoush with the umami flavor from miso eggplant. To make this flavorful dip, you'll blitz the flesh of a roasted eggplant with miso paste, nutty tahini, mirin, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. The result is a rich dip you'll want to make again and again. Bonus: It goes with crackers, crudités, and everything in between.

10 of 26

Roasted Eggplant and Olive Pasta Salad

This pasta salad will satisfy all of your savory cravings. Get the recipe for Real Simple's Roasted Eggplant and Olive Pasta Salad.
Greg DuPree

Who doesn't love pasta salad? Salty olives and feta cheese combined with fresh tomatoes, chewy pasta, and tender cubes of roasted eggplant make this a perfectly satisfying (and healthy) lunch or dinner. The longer it sits, the more the flavors meld together. So make extra and eat well all week long!

11 of 26

Grilled Eggplant and Smoked Mozzarella Melts

Grilled Eggplant and Smoked Mozzarella Melts
Charles Masters

For those days when you're just craving a sandwich, this open-faced melt will do the trick. Grilling thick slices of country bread and melting mozzarella over the top elevates the humble sammie into an elegant meal you would be proud to serve to anyone (or keep all to yourself).

12 of 26

Spicy Summer Squash Stir-Fry

Spicy Summer Squash Stir Fry
Greg DuPree

While summer squash is the star of this vegetarian stir fry, half-moons of Japanese eggplant help make this spicy dish extra hearty. The meal, which riffs off Kung Pao, features a savory cornstarch-soy sauce that thickens around the crisp summer veggies. It also includes a spicy red jalapeño and crushed red pepper flakes, which bring some serious heat. To ensure the vegetables don't get soggy, go ahead and sear them in batches. This way, you'll be left with tender, golden-brown pieces.

13 of 26

Eggplant-Mushroom "Meatballs"

These hearty, veggie meatballs are made with two of the most toothsome vegetables: eggplants and mushrooms. Get the recipe for Eggplant-Mushroom Meatballs.
Jennifer Causey

Yes, it's possible to make meatballs without any actual meat, and yes, the result is still delicious. In this vegetarian recipe, the toothsome combo of eggplants and mushrooms helps ensure that these meatballs still deliver the familiar texture you know and love. Rolled oats and brown rice help bind the meatballs together while also adding plenty of satiating fiber to the meal. Throw in some garlic, parsley, and a shallot, and you've got the perfect meat-free sub filling or salad topper!

14 of 26

Halibut With Grilled Eggplant Salad

Halibut With Grilled Eggplant Salad
Quentin Bacon

For a no-fuss meal, grill the fish and eggplant together, then drizzle with a no-cook dressing of rice vinegar, ginger, jalapeño, and soy sauce.

15 of 26

Torn Pita and Eggplant Salad With Parsley and Green Tahini

Torn Pita and Eggplant Salad With Parsley and Green Tahini
Jennifer Causey

Eggplant isn't as popular a salad ingredient as, say, tomatoes, but that doesn't mean you should shy away from using this meaty nightshade in your next bowl of greens. In this recipe, which is kind of like a deconstructed baba ganoush, you've got broiled, seasoned eggplant, crispy pita pieces, and parsley leaves. Everything is tied together with flavorful green tahini, which is as tasty as it is versatile. Seriously, you're going to want to make extra and pair it with everything from grain bowls to crudités.

16 of 26

Roasted Summer Vegetable Pasta

Roasted Summer Vegetable Pasta
Marcus Nilsson

Eggplant is joined by other colorful veggies—think bell peppers and cherry tomatoes—in this dish to create a vibrant summer meal. Eat it warm for dinner, or serve it at room temperature for your next picnic. Pro-tip: If you're extra hungry, toss in some fresh mozzarella, crumbled feta, or goat cheese crumbles.

17 of 26

Eggplant Dip With Feta and Crudités

eggplant-dip-0419din
Victor Protasio

If you want to really impress guests at your next gathering, kick things off with this picture-perfect mezze platter. It's packed with feta cheese, pita, and fresh vegetables, but the undisputed star is the baba ganoush. The savory roasted eggplant dip is creamy, smoky, and packed with flavor. If you're feeling a bit adventurous, sprinkle some sumac on top of the dip, which will add tart, citrus-like notes.

18 of 26

Eggplant and Tofu Stir-Fry

Eggplant and Tofu Stir-Fry, a great RS eggplant recipe
José Picayo

Add a sliced chili to this vegetarian stir-fry for a boost of heat.

19 of 26

Spicy Chicken and Eggplant Stir-Fry

Spicy Chicken and Eggplant Stir-Fry
Jen Causey

Eggplant's meaty texture makes it a true stir-fry star. Here, the hearty ingredient joins chicken breast pieces and scallions to create an easy-to-make meal that's ready in less than 30 minutes. Toasted sesame oil, fresh ginger, and teriyaki sauce help deliver that familiar stir-fry taste, while fluffy jasmine rice makes this dish a complete meal.

20 of 26

Eggplant Pasta Salad

Eggplant Pasta Salad
Anna Williams

This picnic-ready salad is loaded with ingredients that pack a punch, including capers, pine nuts, and sautéed tomatoes and eggplant.

21 of 26

Curried Eggplant With Tomatoes and Basil

Curried Eggplant With Tomatoes and Basil
Con Poulos

Serve this fresh, summery dish with plain yogurt to balance out the warming curry sauce.

22 of 26

Deep-Dish Eggplant Parmesan

Deep-Dish Eggplant Parmesan
Paul Sirisalee

Is there anything more satisfying than digging into a rich plate of eggplant Parmesan after a long day? Not really. This version of the classic dish features layers of baked eggplant, marinara sauce, Parmesan cheese, and fresh mozzarella cheese. The whole thing is topped with panko breadcrumbs, which get perfectly crispy after a trip to the oven. If you're on a quest for a family-friendly meal that takes roughly one hour to make, this is it!

23 of 26

Eggplant Parm Panini

Two eggplant parmesan paninis are placed on a cutting board.
Caitlin Bensel

For a take on eggplant parm that requires slightly less hands-on work, try the classic dish in panini form. To make this irresistible Italian sandwich, you'll start by roasting the eggplant slices until they're melt-in-your-mouth tender. The eggplant is then joined by sliced tomato, fresh basil leaves, mozzarella, and marinara sauce, and the whole thing is sandwiched between two slices of crispy ciabatta bread.

24 of 26

Grilled Eggplant Provolone

Grilled Eggplant Provolone
James Baigrie

Eggplant halves become the main attraction when grilled and topped with melted, bubbly provolone cheese.

25 of 26

Roasted Baby Eggplant

Roasted Baby Eggplant
Amy Neunsinger

Stuff the eggplant with lemons, garlic, and oregano to allow their pungent flavors to permeate the entire dish.

26 of 26

Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Maura McEvoy

This rustic French classic is chock-full of healthy summer veggies, including zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, and—of course—eggplant.

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