With this Grilled Eggplant, you’ll convert any eggplant hater into an eggplant lover! Smoky and slightly charred on the outside and smooth and tender on the inside. It makes a real summer treat.
I’ve got a confession to make. I have never liked eggplant in my life, until recently. My mom used to make it often, and every time I covered my nose, closed my eyes, and swallowed it. Until I got a barbeque. Holy smokes! Suddenly, eggplant is the best thing I have ever tried. But shh… don’t tell my mom!
Now, I make grilled eggplant at least twice a week, along with my other two favorite grilled vegetables, Grilled Asparagus and Grilled Zucchini. Serve it as a side dish to your preferred main dish and you’ve got your summer meals covered. Or you can also enjoy it on its own.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Eggplant – choose small plump eggplants, firm to the touch with smooth and dark skin. One per person.
- Sea Salt – eggplants can be pretty bitter, I recommend using coarse sea salt to draw the bitterness out of it. This seems to be the secret to making it delicious.
- Olive Oil – you need oil to prevent the eggplant from drying out on the grill. Olive oil seems to work best, but you can also use any other flavorless oil. Avocado oil and sunflower oil are both good options.
- Herb Salt – I like using herb salt to add a little more flavor than regular salt. However, regular sea salt tastes great too.
- Pepper – use freshly cracked pepper if you have it, otherwise, regular pepper works just as well.
How to Make Grilled Eggplant
- Wash well and dry your eggplant. Then cut it into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Don’t make it too thin or too thick. 1/2 inch seems to be the perfect thickness.
- Then, place the round slices on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle them with PLENTY of coarse sea salt. Don’t worry, we’ll wipe it all off later. The sea salt will draw out the bitterness of the eggplant and will help it become much sweeter.
- Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes. You will see how the salt pulled out all that bitter water. Then use a paper towel to wipe off the water and salt.
- Drizzle olive oil all over the eggplant rounds and use your hands to coat each slice well on all sides. You can use a basting brush if you prefer. Bits and pieces that don’t have oil on them will dry out instead of grilling nicely, so take your time here.
- Season with some herb salt and pepper, then place them on a 450F preheated grill. Grill for 5-6 minutes on one side, then flip and grill for another 5-6 minutes on the other side. Make sure to close the grill’s lid while grilling to maintain the heat.
- When done, serve your grilled eggplant on a plate and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley for garnish and enjoy!
I promise you, if you don’t like eggplant, THIS is the best way to prepare it to absolutely love it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you need to salt eggplant before cooking?
Eggplants have a bitter flavor by nature. The older the eggplant the more bitter it gets, but salting them before cooking seems to be the best solution to remove that bitterness and achieve a great flavor.
There are different methods for salting them, like placing them on a flat tray covered with paper towels and sprinkling coarse salt, as I did in this recipe. Some people place the pieces of eggplant in a colander and sprinkle them with salt so the bitter water drains on its own. No matter what method you choose, I recommend salting the eggplant to ensure it tastes delicious every time.
What does grilled eggplant taste like?
Grilled eggplant has a mild, bland and slightly bitter taste, similar to zucchini. Its hearty and fleshy texture is perfect for grilling making it a healthy and inexpensive side dish.
- 2-3 eggplants
- 1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- herb salt
- parsley for garnish
- Cut the eggplant into 1/2" rounds and place them on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet.
- Sprinkle plenty of coarse sea salt on the rounds. Don't worry, we will remove the salt later. Be generous.
- Let the eggplant sit for 15 minutes. The salt will draw out the bitterness of the eggplant.
- Use a paper towel to remove the coarse sea salt together with the water it pulled out of the eggplant.
- Now oil each piece using your hands to ensure it's well-coated all over. Pieces of eggplant that are not well oiled will dry out instead of grill nicely.
- Seasons with herb salt to taste and place on the 400F preheated grill for 5-6 minutes, then flip and grill 5-6 minutes on the other or until they have brown grill marks on each side and are the softness you like them. Make sure to close the lid of the gill while grilling to maintain the heat.
- Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley for garnish.