Grilled Eggplant

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My Grilled Eggplant is a little sweet and bright, a whole lot of savory, and has just a little crispy char. It goes great with everything, and it’s ready in 4 easy steps.

Grilled eggplant on white plate. Text reads "Grilled Eggplant".

Grilled Eggplant

When it comes to making veggies on the grill, you might not think to try eggplant. But trust me, it’s one of the tastiest and most versatile vegetables you can grill when done right. I like to use simple salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to highlight the natural sweetness of the eggplant. I also add some olive oil, which gives a richness to your eggplant and helps it get that coveted char on the outside.

By drawing out the watery moisture and then adding in the oil and spices, my recipe grills up slightly charred, totally amazing eggplant every time. I’ll show you everything you need to know to make perfectly crisp and chewy eggplant full of sweet and savory flavor to wow even the pickiest eaters.

Eggplant slices on baking sheet being sprinkled with salt.

How to Choose Eggplant

You can find eggplant in the produce section of your grocery store, and there are few things you want to look for when picking yours. You want to choose eggplant with a shiny and smooth surface, without any soft spots or bruises. It should be a little firm when you squeeze it, but you don’t want it too hard.

Because we’re grilling this recipe, I also recommend getting eggplants of the large, even variety. This way you have large slices that sit nicely on your grill grates, and you don’t accidentally sacrifice any yummy eggplant to the BBQ gods. Keep in mind, the larger your eggplant, the more bitter it will be. But don’t worry, I’ve got a tip later on to help with the bitterness.

Salted eggplant slices on baking sheet.

 

Seasoning Ingredients for Eggplant

While its taste falls on the milder side, eggplant has some delicious sweet and savory flavors naturally, brought out with some simple seasoning. This recipe does all that and adds a little citrusy kick, with just a few ingredients you likely have on hand already.

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 lemon (for zest and juice)

Paper towel wiping salt off eggplant slices on baking sheet.

Tips for the Best Eggplant

  • Salt it. The quickest way to ruin an otherwise delicious eggplant is by letting it get mushy when you cook it. It can have the most mouthwatering flavor, but if it’s slimy and squishy, then it will be difficult to enjoy. Place your sliced eggplant on a baking sheet, sprinkle it liberally with Kosher salt, and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. The salt will draw out the moisture from the eggplant so it will grill to a nice, spongy finish inside with some crisp edges. Be sure to remove the salt before doing anything else.
  • Soak it. Eggplant is pretty bitter on its own, and it can be a bit overwhelming for most. Placing your sliced eggplant in a zip-top bag with some olive oil and your seasonings for 15 minutes will help mellow out some of that bitterness. It will also help to bring out the natural sweet and savory flavor of your eggplant. This is totally optional, but I love the mild bitter flavor that remains after doing it.
  • Lids up. Grilling your eggplant with the lid open is super important when it comes to texture and mouthfeel. You want your guests to have a slightly crispy, chewy bite, and grilling with the lid open is key to achieving this. If you close the lid, you’ll create a steamy environment and bring moisture back into your eggplant. To avoid this and get a crisp and caramelized finish on the outside of your eggplant, leave the lid off.

Seasoning ingredients in white bowls next to zip top bag.

How to Make Grilled Eggplant

Crispy, chewy, delicious eggplant is the perfect side for any grilled meat, and it only takes a few easy steps. Here’s exactly how to make perfect eggplant:

  1. Prep the eggplant. Wash your eggplant and then, using a good knife like my Dalstrong Chef’s Knife, cut your eggplant. You want to cut them into slices around ¼ inch thick, and leave the skin on them. This thickness gives your guests a nice slice to bite into, while allowing them to cook through and avoid being squishy. Then, place your sliced eggplant on a baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with salt and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes, drawing out excess moisture. Remove salt before continuing.
  2. Season eggplant. Next, place your eggplant slices in a gallon sized zip-top bag, along with the olive oil, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, lemon zest, and juice. Seal the bag and then massage to evenly coat eggplant slices in the seasoned oil. Allow the eggplant to set in the seasoning for 15 minutes to absorb all the yummy flavor.
  3. Grill the eggplant. Turn on the grill and allow it to preheat to high heat (around 400-450 degrees F). Once your grill is up to temp, remove the eggplant slices from the bag and place them directly on the hot grill grates. You want to grill them for 3-4 minutes per side with the lid open to cook to a tender texture and develop some nice char marks.
  4. Enjoy. Remove the eggplant from the grill grates to your serving platter. You can give them an additional squeeze of lemon juice for some extra zest, or enjoy immediately.

Sliced and seasoned vegetables in zip top bag.

More Grilled Veggie Recipes

I love meat as much as anyone, but sometimes you just want some savory grilled vegetables. Here are a few of my personal favorite savory sides:

Crispy Grilled Eggplant Recipe

Follow the recipe below and you’ll be enjoying my Crispy Grilled Eggplant in no time. If you loved making this recipe, then you’ve got to check out the Hey Grill Hey app where we’ve got over 500 more delicious BBQ recipes just like this one. There’s no limit to the tasty food you can grill up to feed the people you love.

Here at Hey Grill Hey, we’re all about taking away the mystery of grilling to help you become a backyard BBQ hero. We’re always dropping new recipes, useful tricks, and all kinds of behind-the-scenes fun on social media. You can find us on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Grilled Eggplant

By: Susie Bulloch
0 from 0 votes
My Grilled Eggplant is a sweet, bright, and savory, and just a little crispy. It goes great with everything, and it’s ready in 4 easy steps.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings4 people

Ingredients
 

  • 2 large eggplants narrow type
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Moisture Draw

  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Prep eggplant. Wash and cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices with skin still on. Place slices on baking sheet, sprinkle with a generous amount of Kosher salt, and allow to sit for 15 minutes to draw out moisture. Remove salt by wiping with a paper towel before continuing to step 2.
    2 large eggplants, 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • Season eggplant. Place eggplant slices in a gallon sized zip-top bag, and then your remaining ingredients. Massage gently to coat eggplant in oil and seasoning and rest in sealed bag for 15 minutes.
    1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Grill eggplant. Preheat your grill to high heat, around 400-450 degrees F. Remove the eggplant from bag and place directly on hot grill grates. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side with the lid open until your eggplant develops char marks.
  • Enjoy. Remove the eggplant from the grill grates to serving platter and enjoy immediately. Add an additional squeeze of lemon juice, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 91kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 2330mg | Potassium: 540mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 64IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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2 Reviews

  1. Kathy C says:

    How do you remove the salt from the eggplant? Rinse it under water or wipe it off?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      Wipe it off with a paper towel and you’re good to go.