When it comes to veggies, fall varieties like squash, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower get all of the love. But being a favorite means they're often overserved—and overeaten. For something with a little more variety and a lot more flavor (trust us), we say next time you're in need of some veg, reach for the humble eggplant. The squishy insides are perfect for soaking up all kinds of flavor, so go ahead and get saucy with one of these 21 healthy eggplant recipes.
Eggplant Parmesan is classically made by frying the eggplant, soaking it in tomato sauce, and drenching it in melted cheese. While its hard to argue with that, we do love that this recipe that lightens things up by opting for baking and breaking the eggplant into single-serve portions—making it perfect for a dinner party or removing the temptation for overconsumption (because, melted cheese... ). Serve with a simple side salad or sautéed broccolini.
There's a reason eggplant and zucchini are often seated next to each other at the grocery store. They simply belong together. The slight crunch and bitterness of zucchini pairs perfectly with the squish and sweetness of eggplant, which is even more amplified with cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, and Parmesan cheese.
We love serving as a veggie side paired with flaky white fish or chicken or topping on grains (like quinoa) to keep it vegetarian.
Could veggie fries be any more genius? While we love potato, opting for alternatives like asparagus, zucchini, or eggplant, mean we can eat them that much more often.
With bread crumb-coated eggplant and refreshing tzatziki sauce, these Mediterranean-inspired fries are one of our favorite departures from the norm. To make them extra crunchy, opt for panko instead of classic bread crumbs.
Hummus (or guac) may be the first dip you think of when craving something creamy and delicious, but this Persian eggplant dip will change that for good. Made with only a handful of ingredients, it's way easier to whip up than the average hummus and is a great way to shake up the table—not to mention, your nutrient intake. Serve with warm pita, lavash, naan, or some good ol' sliced veggies.
The sauce on these suckers is so darn good, we could honestly eat this dish for dessert. Made by blending black garlic (which is easily found at specialty shops), miso, sake, and mirin, its thick as can be and the perfect pairing to the light, natural flavor of eggplant. For a little crunch, add sliced scallions or toasted sesame seeds.
First comes fries, then comes pizza. Is there anything eggplant can't transform into? This recipe is a great low-carb twist on the comforting classic and can be made in fewer than 30 minutes.
Simply slice the eggplant, coat with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with marinara sauce and the toppings, bake for five more minutes, and get your pizza feast on.
Veggie burger patties tend to be overly dry or just a bit too soggy—they're never just right. Eggplant changes that. Because of the veggie's moist nature, the ingredients in the patty hold together perfectly. We're talking no breakage and just the right amount of ooze (thanks to melted cheese). And because there's no egg, it's super simple to make it vegan. Simply sub vegan cheese!
We love this Big Fat Greek Dinner. Made by sautéing eggplant, tomato, onions, and garlic, and layering on rice, cheese, and spices, this dish is the perfect balance of comforting and healthy. If mizithra cheese sounds like something out of Lord of the Rings, worry not. You can sub goat cheese or feta for a similar flavor—and a much simpler shopping experience.
Who needs tortillas, anyway? As much as we love chips and salsa and all things taco, this recipe nails our favorite Mexican flavors—thanks to black beans, avocado, cilantro, and shredded cheese—without going crazy on carbs. And don't worry, you don't actually need a grill to get that charred, delicious flavor. Simply broil the eggplant or use a grill pan.
We want to dive right into this eggplant gratin. Made with an unexpected blend of cheeses—feta and Gruyere—and a killer combo of creams (yes, even more creaminess than just cheese), this recipe is a decadent spin on eggplant Parmesan that's light on tomato and heavy on melted goodness. We love the combo of thyme, chives, and basil and that the eggplant is just sturdy enough to carry its dairy-filled load.
While many recipes mask the flavor of eggplant with heavy sauces, this pasta recipe lets the eggplant shine. Store-bought tomato sauce is made slightly more punchy with the addition of sherry, and eggplant is accompanied by caramelized onions and herbs for a simple yet fulfilling easy weeknight night dinner. If you're vegan (or don't eat dairy), keep the recipe as is or feel free to top with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parm.
Sticky, sweet, sour, savory... what more could you ask of a sauce? This traditional Sichuan dish does require a trip to an Asian supermarket (or specialty store), but it's all kinds of worth it. You can also make things easier by sticking to plain soy sauce (instead of the two recommended varieties), using dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine, and grabbing whatever dried chilis are available (just stay away from chipotle). We also love subbing crumbled tofu or ground chicken for the pork.
Yet again, eggplant prevails over potato. Now we know what you're thinking: How can watery eggplant create crispy chips? Great question. It's actually pretty easy! The super-thin slices mean there's no risk of sogginess—unless the chips are over-oiled before baking. To keep that oil light and just right, opt for a spray oil (like coconut or avocado) and make sure they bake without any overlap. Sayonara, processed food. These chips are utter perfection.
These rollatini are anything but teeny. Eggplant is sliced length-wise to create the perfect sized roll-up, providing just enough space to squeeze in a hefty blend of cheeses (don't worry, there's delicious overflow too).
For extra veg, we love adding thawed frozen spinach or diced marinated artichoke hearts. And though fresh basil does make for a beautiful topping, we actually love it sprinkled throughout the inside too.
This recipe is one of those simple dishes that requires throwing things in a pot, stirring a bit, and waiting for the heat to work its magic. Easy is an understatement.
We're also huge fans of its protein-packed prowess, a hefty dose of veggies, and that it tastes good with all kinds of additions and substitutions. Don't love chicken? Use sausage or ground turkey. Sick of spinach? Use Swiss chard or kale.
In a grain bowl rut? One of our favorite things about the easy lunch (or dinner!) is that you can throw pretty much anything in it, toss on some seasonings, and find yourself eating something super delicious.
But if you do need some guidance—we all do every now and again—try this Buddha-inspired recipe full of hard-boiled eggs, roasted Brussels sprouts, and baked eggplant. As with many bowls, the secret lies in the dressing, which, in this case, is a perfect mix of tart and sweet.
Hate boring salads? Don't we all. This recipe uses some of our favorite salads tricks—we're talking grains, fresh fruit, and creamy dressing—to make it all kinds of exciting (and nutritious too).
We love the crunch from grapes and walnuts and the savory flavor from caramelized onions and eggplant. But what we love most of all is the secret addition of salty feta cheese and the fact that the lettuce is warm and wilted, making it the perfect fall or winter salad remedy.
Coconut bacon, tempeh bacon, rice paper bacon... as much as we love a good vegetarian substitute, none of the options we've tried nail the equally chewy and crispy consistency of our favorite bacon (as in, real bacon).
Cue eggplant, the veggie that has once again swooped in to save the day. Its meaty insides mean that the texture resembles that of actual meat, and the seasoning is smoked and spiced to perfection. Whether you're vegan or a tried-and-true bacon lover, this salty spin-off won't disappoint.
Perfect for a picnic, an easy lunch, or an afternoon snack (it's a snack if you share, right?), this eggplant sandwich packs so much freshness into one bite it's a little ridiculous. Made with pesto, grilled veggies (roasted works too), fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, and hearty ciabatta bread, it's everything you love about Italian flavors stuffed into a single bite. Feel free to skip the meat to keep it veggie or substitute grilled chicken for a boost of protein.
Lentil meatballs—and other vegetarian options, for that matter—not only take ages to make (so much boiling and blending!), but they're also often dry and aren't punchy enough when it comes to flavor.
This recipe uses eggplant as a vegetarian filler and adds bread crumbs, garlic, onion, egg, and a slew of herbs and seasonings to make sure they're anything but flavorless. Douse with yogurt sauce, wrap in warm pita bread, top with pomegranates, and enjoy the best Meatless Monday (or Tuesday, Wednesday... ) ever.
We've talked a lot about eggplant's unparalleled ability to soak up sauces. But nothing demonstrates this skill quite like curry. The rich flavors sink deep into the flesh of the eggplant, making every bite a curry-filled explosion—and that's putting it lightly.
We love the crunch from onion and chickpeas, extra protein from tofu, and the fact that the curry sticks to minimal ingredients—which never happens—and minimal cook time.