One of the best ways to meal plan for the week is to come up with a theme based on one ingredient that enhances or stars in many different dishes. Take eggplant, for example.
Boasting a vibrant purple hue and a mild, versatile flavor, eggplants are one of the best, filling vegetables to keep in your home to cook with throughout the week. Beyond those benefits, eggplant is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. So if you're stuck in a dinner rut, consider the following 15 healthy eggplant recipes below your solution.
Market Veggies on Herbed Polenta
The Recipe: Market Veggies on Herbed Polenta
This dinner recipe from Half Baked Harvest is the perfect way to usher in the workweek on a Monday evening. Full of nutritious veggies like zucchini, summer squash, asparagus, and eggplant atop a bed of creamy, pecorino polenta, it's equally nourishing, filling, and comforting.
Pro Tip: "If the polenta seems a little thick you can add a tablespoon more of butter, milk or water to thin," recommends Half Baked Harvest.
Crispy Eggplant & Harissa Flatbread With Greens
The Recipe: Crispy Eggplant & Harissa Flatbread With Greens
When it comes to vegan-friendly recipes that hit the spot and improve our Instagram feeds every time, we always turn to The First Mess. This white-eggplant pizza recipe is both filling and flavorful while also being light, thanks to fresh mint leaves and peppery, baby arugula. There's also a touch of harissa for a kick of spice that will keep your taste buds intrigued.
Pro Tip: Add dukkah––an Egyptian nut and spice blend––for complex, depth of flavor.
Honey Garlic Eggplant
The Recipe: Honey Garlic Eggplant
Cook this Japanese eggplant recipe from I Am a Food Blog when you need a home-cooked meal to help you get over the midweek hump. Rich in flavor, these baked eggplant slices are marinated in honey and garlic. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds, scallions, and freshly ground pepper, serve the veggies over a whole grain of your choice.
Pro Tip: After adding honey and soy to a hot pan, "Turn the heat up to high so the honey-soy mixture bubbles, thickens and turns into caramel-sticky goodness," advises I Am a Food Blog.
Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant
The Recipe: Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant
If you're a vegetarian or simply want to cut back on meat for a day, try this Jamaican jerk eggplant recipe from Minimalist Baker. It's grilled to perfection. Plus, it takes less than 30 minutes to cook up this spicy, smoky dish, making it the perfect dinner option on a busy weeknight.
Pro Tip: Serve with cauliflower rice, or pair it with a bowl of rice or grain of your choice.
Eggplant Meatballs With Kale Pesto
The Recipe: Eggplant Meatballs With Kale Pesto
If you want to make an eggplant-centric dish because you love the taste but not the texture, then this eggplant meatball recipe from The First Mess is about to be your new favorite meal to cook at home. Though it's vegan-friendly, meat-eaters will enjoy it just as much. The "meatball" is made from a combination of Japanese eggplants, chickpeas, and lemon, so the flavor and texture are sublime.
Pro Tip: The kale pesto and za'atar make the perfect addition to this dish, but they'd also work well with pasta or some toasted bread, depending on how light or heavy you want it to be.
Roasted Eggplant, Crisp Garlic, and Basil Pasta
The Recipe: Roasted Eggplant, Crisp Garlic, and Basil Pasta
Salt & Wind's eggplant pasta recipe is refreshingly straightforward: Roast the eggplant, fry the garlic in shimmering oil, garnish with basil and feta! Don't forget to reserve some pasta water for the tomato sauce.
Pro Tip: Use vinegar and sugar to adjust the tomato sauce to taste.
Ajvar (Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Spread)
The Recipe: Ajvar (Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Spread)
This popular, versatile condiment from Europe's Balkan region is super easy to make, like this recipe from Salt & Wind. Just roast eggplant and bell peppers, then whirl in a food processor with garlic, oil, chives, and fresh lemon juice.
Pro Tip: If you're making this days ahead (Salt & Wind allows for up to four days in the fridge), bring the ajvar down to room temperature before serving.
Chinese Eggplant With Garlic Sauce
The Recipe: Chinese Eggplant With Garlic Sauce
Make Pickled Plum's eggplant stir-fry recipe with a garlic sauce that also includes soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, Shaoxing cooking wine or dry sherry, and sesame oil. It all comes together in 15 minutes.
Pro Tip: "The only thing to watch for is the texture – always make sure that your eggplant is cooked through before serving it," writes Pickled Plum.
Nasu Dengaku (Miso-Glazed Eggplant)
The Recipe: Nasu Dengaku (Miso-Glazed Eggplant)
In Pickled Plum's recipe for nasu dengaku, a miso glaze made with sugar, mirin (a fermented, Japanese rice wine), and sake creates a caramelized coating for pan-fried and broiled eggplant. Garnish with sesame seeds to complete the dish, and serve with rice, or as a side dish to a main course.
Pro Tip: "The trick to scoring the eggplant is to cut the inside flesh in a criss-cross pattern – without cutting the outer skin," Pickled Plum recommends .
Grilled Eggplant Muffuletta Sandwich
The Recipe: Grilled Eggplant Muffuletta Sandwich
For a New Orleans-inspired sandwich, try Feasting at Home's Muffuletta sandwich. This sandwich boasts a flavor trifecta when eggplant is layered with olive tapenade and basil pesto. The recipe calls for a 10-inch loaf of bread, so keep the sizable sandwich in the fridge and slice off a piece throughout the week for an easy weekday meal, writes Feasting at Home.
Pro Tip: Sub in almonds, or toasted almonds, for pine nuts.
Grilled Eggplant Salad With Freekeh and Yogurt Dressing
This easy-to-assemble salad from Feasting at Home features grilled eggplant, fresh herbs, freekeh (smoked wheat kernels, and considered an ancient grain), and a yogurt dressing. Make a big batch ahead of time, or make it vegan with a few substitutions, like using a plant-based yogurt or sour cream.
Pro Tip: Add the optional sumac and Aleppo red chili flakes to your shopping list to unlock traditional Middle Eastern flavors in this dish.
Vietnamese Eggplant and Leek Lettuce Wraps
The Recipe: Vietnamese Eggplant and Leek Lettuce Wraps
Roasted eggplant, leeks, soy, sriracha, and lime get piled into lettuce cups and served with rice in this recipe from Feed Me Phoebe. Whisk condiments and citrus with sugar, and the sauce will serve as a dressing for charred eggplant and leeks.
Pro Tip: This recipe can be adapted to an indoor or charcoal grill, or for roasting veggies in the oven.
Doi Begun (Eggplant in Spiced Yogurt)
The Recipe: Doi Begun (Eggplant in Spiced Yogurt)
"Doi Begun is a popular Bengali eggplant curry," explains Playful Cooking, and her recipe forgoes the traditional step of cooking the eggplant with the yogurt, in favor of serving it separately, "which makes it a very quick meal." You'll also need cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric, and oil to pan-fry (or roast) the eggplants in.
Pro Tip: "Massage the eggplant slices with salt and leave it aside for about 30 minutes," advises Playful Cooking. "This will release moisture and soften the texture and as a result it will not soak a lot of oil when frying."
Shim Begun’er Chorchori (Flat Green Beans and Eggplant Stir-Fried)
Playful Cooking writes that chorchori is a vegetarian Bengali dish that can be prepared with a variety of vegetables, and her chorchori recipe is full of flat green beans, eggplant, and potato. It's all flavored with turmeric, ginger, and a roasted spice mix featuring cumin, fennel, and chilies.
Pro Tip: "Most Bengali dishes tastes best with rice but dishes like these go great with roti or paratha too," explains Playful Cooking.
Mafaldine Pasta With Eggplant
The Recipe: Mafaldine Pasta With Eggplant
Roasted eggplant and homemade marinara sauce coat long strands of mafaldine pasta (known as reginette, or "little queens" in Italian, write A Couple Cooks.) Add garlic and basil, and capers for "final flair."
Pro Tip: A Couple Cooks recommends making the marinara sauce with fire-roasted tomatoes for the best flavor.