Roasted garlic eggplant comes out caramelized and delicious. It just might be the most delicious way to cook eggplant. Enjoy this versatile vegetable as a side dish with your favorite proteins and grains.
If you're looking for a new way to enjoy eggplant, you need to try this roasted garlic eggplant recipe! With a simple seasoning mix and oven-roasting technique, it turns out savory, caramelized around the edges, and perfectly tender in the middle.
The addition of garlic powder adds a depth of flavor, and a pinch of salt and pepper complements the natural sweetness of the eggplant. Finish everything off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for a sweet and tangy note that elevates the dish.
Roasted garlic eggplant makes a great side dish with mains like grilled lemon pepper chicken or brown sugar salmon. For a balanced meal, pair it with other side dishes like roasted root vegetables and garlic Parmesan cauliflower rice.
If you love roasting vegetables, don't miss our guide and learn how to roast any vegetable.
Why You'll Love Roasted Garlic Eggplant
Here are just a few of the reasons why you’re going to love roasted garlic eggplant:
- Rich and complex flavors: Roasting eggplant results in perfectly crispy, caramelized edges, while the garlic and balsamic vinegar create a bold and vibrant flavor profile.
- Ready in just 30 minutes: Just toss the eggplant cubes with seasonings, then pop them into the oven for a side dish that’s ready in no time!
- Packed with nutrients: Eggplant is rich in fiber and various vitamins and minerals, making this a healthy dish to serve to all ages.
Ingredients and Substitutions
There are only a few pantry staples you’ll need for this recipe. Here is a quick breakdown:
- Eggplant: We use globe eggplants for this recipe, which are the most common type in America, but you can use other varieties like Chinese, Sicilian, Japanese, etc. If eggplant isn't available, zucchini makes a good substitute.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: Helps the seasonings stick to the eggplant cubes, enhancing the flavor and texture. If you don’t have extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil works great as well.
- Garlic powder: Adds robust, aromatic notes. If you don’t have any on hand, substitute it with onion powder. Be careful with freshly minced garlic cloves as they may burn.
- Balsamic vinegar: Provides a tangy finish to the dish. For a richer flavor, you can experiment with a balsamic glaze or soy sauce. Or, try fresh lemon juice for a bright element.
How To Pick The Perfect Eggplant
If you’re unfamiliar with eggplants, follow these instructions to ensure you pick out the best ones at the store:
- Size: Choose eggplants that are small or medium-sized. They tend to be sweeter and contain fewer seeds than the larger ones.
- Skin: Look for eggplants with smooth, shiny skin and avoid wrinkled skin. This indicates an old or poorly stored eggplant.
- Color: For globe eggplants, choose dark, deep purple colors. A lighter shade may indicate underripe fruit.
- Stem and cap: Ensure the stem and cap (also called the calyx) are bright green.
- Weight: Purchase eggplants that feel heavy for their size, which indicates moistness.
- Firmness: A fresh eggplant should have slight give and bounce back when it’s gently pressed. If it stays indented, that usually means it’s overripe.
How To Make Roasted Garlic Eggplant
This dish is super easy to make and customize to match your tastes and meals.
1. Prep The Eggplant
Preheat your oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You’ll want your oven to be quite hot to achieve crispy, caramelized edges.
While the oven warms up, cube your eggplant into 1-inch pieces. You can also cut the eggplant slices of your preferred thickness. Whatever the case, cut them into similar sizes for even cooking.
2. Season The Eggplant
Toss your cubed eggplant with olive oil, garlic, salt, and black pepper. You can add extra dried herbs or spices if you want. Don't skimp on the olive oil here — it prevents the eggplant from drying out.
3. Roast The Eggplant
Ensure the seasoned eggplant is spread out in a single layer on the baking tray to prevent it from steaming. Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes, but flip the cubes after 20 minutes for even browning.
4. Add The Finishing Touches
Once your eggplant is golden brown and tender, remove it from the oven and drizzle it with balsamic vinegar. We recommend serving it immediately for the best taste and texture. You can garnish it with fresh parsley, basil, Italian seasoning, toasted pine nuts, or crumbled feta.
What To Serve With Roasted Garlic Eggplant
Roasted garlic eggplant can be enjoyed with a variety of entrées and other sides. Try some of these ideas:
- Quinoa or brown rice: Serve it in a grain bowl with brown rice or quinoa and other veggies. You can even serve it with your favorite pasta.
- Grilled chicken or fish: Pair it with lean protein like chicken or fish.
- Burgers: Roasted garlic eggplant goes well with a jalapeño cheddar burger or salmon burger.
- Side salad: A fresh, crisp beet salad perfectly complements the warm, roasted eggplant.
- Kabobs: Try serving roasted eggplant alongside teriyaki beef kabobs or cilantro lime chicken kabobs.
Storage and Reheating
Roasted garlic eggplant is great for meal prep. Here's how to store and reheat it:
- Fridge: Once cooled, store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.
- Freezer: For longer storage, freeze the eggplant cubes in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: Reheat the cubes in the microwave or oven at 350F until warmed through. If frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Switch Up The Flavor
If you’re in the mood for a different flavor profile, here are some quick tips to make your roasted garlic eggplant unique:
- Spicy: Amp up the heat with a dash of cayenne pepper or chili flakes.
- Cheesy: Sprinkle on some Parmesan or mozzarella cheese during the last few minutes of roasting for a dish that’s similar to eggplant Parmesan.
- Creamy: Instead of balsamic vinegar, try drizzling on a few tablespoons of tahini for a rich, creamy touch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about how to roast eggplant.
Yes, you can roast eggplant without peeling it. In fact, the skin adds a crispy and delicious texture.
While adding sea salt and blotting with a paper towel can help draw out excess moisture and bitterness in older, large eggplants, it's not necessary for this recipe, especially if you’re using smaller, younger eggplants.
Yes, you can use fresh garlic in this recipe, but it may burn at such high heat. It’s best to add fresh garlic halfway through the roasting process.
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- 2 medium eggplant, cubed (1 inch)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or glaze)
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- Nutritional Information
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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