Prep Time: one minute
Cooking Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Eggplant is an excellent side dish at any grilling event. This simple recipe preps and cooks very quickly. All you need is a grill and some really good eggplant.
We serve this dish as a healthy replacement to a starchy side. And this eggplant recipe is the perfect base for an amazing baba ganoush. We grill a few extra eggplants, just to make sure there is plenty left for the baba ganoush!
Getting Good Eggplant
We companion plant our eggplants with root vegetables. The carrots, beets, turnips, and radishes grow into a vibrant living mulch for the eggplant.
And the root vegetables help inform the eggplant with a subtle rich flavor. We side dress the garden rows with a custom-blended fertilizer just as the eggplants begin to set fruit, to help intensify this flavor.
With really good eggplant, a simple grilling is all that’s needed to bring out the wonderful natural flavor.
- 2 medium eggplants
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
To prepare: Follow your normal procedure to preheat your gas or charcoal grill. Clean the grill grate. On the grill, turn at least one burner to high heat. For a charcoal grill, place the coals under the grill on one side of the pit.
Cut the eggplant in half length-wise. Generously brush all surfaces of eggplant with extra-virgin olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. (Note: Do not salt until you are ready to place on the grill.)
Place the eggplant over high heat with the grill lid closed for about one minute on each side—until there are good grill marks and the outside surfaces are seared. Move the eggplant to indirect heat for another 15 to 20 minutes. The eggplant will decrease in size by up to 20% as the moisture cooks out. Remove from grill and serve immediately.
Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories: 185 kcal
Protein: 2.78 grams
Fat: 13.9 grams
Carbohydrates: 15.62 grams
Fiber: 9.3 grams
Eggplant is high in antioxidants called anthocyanins and phenolic acids. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that have been found to be protective of neural cell membranes. Phenols have been found to be antimutagenic (cancer preventing) and can reduce LDL cholesterol.
More about grilled eggplant: The seeds of an eggplant contain alkaloids which can cause a bitter taste. Older, larger eggplants have more seeds, and can be potentially more bitter. But do not try to remove the seeds; the bitter taste is in the moisture of the eggplant. To make sure there is no bitter taste, simply cook the eggplant until the moisture has evaporated. Your eggplant will decrease in size by up to 20% as the moisture evaporates.
Some recipes recommend eliminating the bitter taste by cutting the eggplant, placing it in a colander over a plate, salting it well, and letting it sit for about 20 minutes. The salt expels the moisture onto the plate. We do not recommend sweating an eggplant in this method, not only to save time, but also because the grill will expel the moisture for you without completely drying out the eggplant, or getting it too salty.
Eggplant is wonderful in the garden. It is fairly easy to grow, and is a low energy consumption plant. The leaves and stems are good for compost. As part of our heritage farming techniques, we put animals into the garden as soon as the harvest ends, and the eggplant leaves and stems (and the fruit still on the plants) sustain our animals as they cleanse the soil and fertilize the garden.