We’re all about corn, zucchini, and green beans in the summer, but it’s time to show eggplant some love! This Roasted Eggplant recipe is a simple way to bring out the best in this humble purple veggie that fills farm stands this time of year.
Why You’ll Love This Baked Eggplant Recipe
- Roasted Veggies Are the Best Veggies. Okay, I take that back: they’re definitely tied with grilled veggies. (Maybe make a batch of my Grilled Eggplant too and see which recipe comes out on top?) But! Roasted vegetables are always fabulous because they add a note of caramelization and soften crisp veggies into something tender and succulent.
- Eggplant Is Seriously Under-Rated. When cooked, eggplant becomes soft and almost buttery in texture. There’s a reason Eggplant Pasta and Eggplant Lasagna are so popular! Roasted eggplant is luscious, not spongy or bland.
- It’s Versatile. Eggplant is found in cuisines around the world, and while it’s delicious on its own, it pairs beautifully with a wide range of sauces, seasonings, and herbs. Serve it as a side dish, combine it with Roasted Red Peppers and Roasted Tomatoes for a Roasted Vegetable Salad, or toss it into your favorite jarred simmer sauce with your protein of choice.
- Outrageously Easy. Four ingredients (and three of them are likely in your pantry already!), a few minutes of prep, and no hands-on cooking time other than a quick toss at the halfway point.
To roast a medley of vegetables, and for more tips and seasoning suggestions, check out my ultimate guide to Oven Roasted Vegetables.
How to Make Roasted Eggplant
- Eggplant. You’ll need small or medium eggplant; smaller eggplants have a more tender texture and sweeter flavor than the large globe eggplants often used to make eggplant Parmesan. Larger ones can be bitter, so I prefer the medium ones here.
If you’re at the farmers’ market and see an array of heirloom and specialty eggplant varieties, pick one up and use it to make this roasted eggplant recipe! Just be sure to buy 12 ounces worth and cut it into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes or slices.
- Kosher Salt. Kosher salt is always my choice for cooking.
- Ground Black Pepper. You can add a little bit extra for a more peppery flavor.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Only a small amount of oil is needed since the eggplant is roasted on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Cut the Eggplant. I like to slice it into 1-inch rounds, then dice those rounds into cubes.
- Season BEFORE Oiling. Be sure to line your pan with parchment paper.
- Add Oil & Toss. Eggplant absorbs oil FAST, which is why I like to season it first, so I can start tossing the moment the oil touches it.
- Cook. Roast the eggplant at 425 degrees F for 23 to 28 minutes, tossing at the 15-minute mark.
- Serve. Toss again and serve hot or at room temperature. ENJOY!
- Roasted Eggplant With Pesto. Plate the roasted eggplant and drizzle it with Basil Pesto.
- Roasted Eggplant With Tzatziki. The subtle sweetness of roasted eggplant pairs well with the tangy flavor of yogurt, so a drizzle of tzatziki is another great serving option. My favorite recipe is in The Well Plated Cookbook.
- Greek-Inspired Roasted Eggplant. Place the roasted eggplant on a platter and dress it up with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, feta, and fresh basil, parsley, oregano, or mint.
- To Store. Keep leftover roasted eggplant in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Warm up leftovers in a 350 degrees F oven or skillet until heated through. You can also eat leftover roasted eggplant cold or at room temperature.
If you have a lot of leftover eggplant, you can mash it with tahini sauce, olive oil, and garlic for homemade baba ghanoush. Otherwise, toss leftovers into a pasta dish like Pesto Pasta or Italian Pasta Salad, use it to top Ricotta Pizza, or coarsely mash it with your best EVOO and spread it onto slices of toasted bread for a rustic appetizer.
What to Serve with Roasted Eggplant
- Pasta. Toss roasted eggplant with Garlic Pasta or use it in Pasta Primavera. It’s also great with pasta and your favorite store-bought marinara sauce!
- Grains. Serve your roasted eggplant alongside Lemon Rice or Quinoa Salad.
- Chicken. Smoked Chicken Breast is an excellent accompaniment to this recipe when the weather’s warm enough for outdoor cooking, or make Air Fryer Chicken Thighs while you roast the eggplant.
- Mediterranean Dishes. Eggplant pairs well with Mediterranean flavors like those in my Moroccan Couscous and Mediterranean Chickpea Salad.
- Pork. Smothered Pork Chops or Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin will take your dinner to the next level and add some protein to round things out.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Knife Set. With regular sharpening, a quality knife set like this can last decades.
- Cutting Board. Eggplant is like a sponge, which means it will soak up off flavors from your cutting boards. This non-porous board will keep your eggplant from tasting like onions!
- Measuring Spoons. I swear by these magnetic measuring spoons.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Cut Uniform Pieces. Then they’ll all be done roasting at the same time and you won’t have smaller pieces of eggplant that end up burnt.
- Never Freeze Leftover Eggplant. Eggplant is not a vegetable that freezes well! The texture ends up mushy and unpleasant after freezing, thawing, and reheating.
- Don’t Add More Oil. The eggplant will soak up all of the oil you add to it, which may leave you wondering if you should add some more. Don’t do it! If you keep adding oil until the eggplant is no longer dry, you’ll end up with a sheet pan of oily, unappetizing roasted eggplant.
- Give It Space. As with any roasted vegetable, eggplant needs breathing room so it caramelizes instead of steaming. Don’t crowd your eggplant onto the baking sheet—each cube should have some space around it and they should be arranged in an even layer.
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the cubed eggplant in the center and sprinkle it with the salt and pepper.
Drizzle on the oil then IMMEDIATELY toss to coat the eggplant (the oil will start to absorb instantly, which is why I suggest seasoning it with salt and pepper first; if you forget and pour the oil on first, toss it immediately, then add the seasoning and toss again). Spread the pieces into an even layer, making sure they do not overlap.
Roast eggplant for 23 to 28 minutes, using a spatula to toss it at the 15-minute mark, then spread it back into an even layer. When cooked, the eggplant will be tender and lightly browned in places. Remove from the oven and toss once more. Serve hot or at room temperature.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover roasted eggplant in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- TO REHEAT: Warm up leftovers in a 350°F oven or skillet until heated through. You can also eat leftover roasted eggplant cold or at room temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions
There’s no need to peel eggplant before roasting, especially if you use medium or small eggplant, which tend to have thinner skin.
Absolutely! You don’t have to salt the eggplant first for this recipe. Salting and draining eggplant slices in a colander draws out excess moisture, giving it a silky, creamy texture. With roasted eggplant, you want the eggplant to be tender, but still retain its shape.
The key to getting roasted eggplant that isn’t bitter starts with the eggplant you choose. Large eggplants are much more likely to taste bitter, as are older eggplants. Choosing smaller eggplant with tops that are still green (instead of dry and brown) will help you avoid bitterness.
Soaking eggplant is totally optional. Soaking the eggplant in salted water for 20-30 minutes before cooking can help to reduce oil absorption by breaking down the cell walls, but it’s tedious. It also makes your eggplant more likely to end up mushy.