This Mediterranean Roasted Eggplant recipe has savory tender eggplant, ripe burst cherry tomatoes, and a bunch of aromatic ingredients, like fresh garlic and basil. Serve this eggplant recipe on crusty bread as a side dish or with pasta for a main course.
Why You’ll Love This Roasted Eggplant
This Mediterranean Roasted Eggplant is simple yet flavorful. It’s somewhat inspired by the flavors of Sicilian Caponata, but instead of cooking the eggplant on the stovetop, we’re roasting it for a somewhat smoky flavor! Here are a few reasons we love this recipe and you will too:
- Bursting with Mediterranean Flavors – Fresh basil, capers, garlic, tomatoes, and good quality olive oil provide tons of flavor to this dish.
- Versatile Serving Options – Whether you’re after a hearty main course or a unique side dish, this eggplant recipe has got you covered. Serve it hot, at room temperature, over pasta, or with some crusty bread.
- Simple to Make – This dish requires just a few basic steps and ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Plus, it’s easy to customize to your taste with different herbs and veggies.
- Great for Meal Prep – Make this dish in advance for a week of delicious, ready-to-go meals. The flavors only get better over time, making it a perfect option for meal prep!
You can whip up this recipe in about an hour with just a handful of flavorful ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Eggplant – Choose a large, glossy eggplant without any soft spots for the best taste and texture. This is the star of this Mediterranean Roasted Eggplant dish!
- Cherry Tomatoes – These add a lovely sweetness and pop of color to the dish. Opt for ripe cherry tomatoes for the best flavor.
- Red Onion & Garlic Cloves – These aromatics bring a depth of flavor which will have you wanting one more bite!
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This helps to roast the eggplant to perfection, giving it a delicious tender and somewhat caramelized exterior. High-quality oil makes all the difference.
- Dried Herbs – I’m using dried basil and oregano for a touch of Mediterranean flavor.
- Vinegar & Capers – These add tang and brine to the dish, balancing out the sweetness of the tomatoes and the smokiness of the eggplant.
- Pine Nuts & Fresh Basil – Toasted pine nuts give a delightful crunch, while fresh basil adds a pop of freshness and color. They’re the perfect finishing touch to the dish!
This recipe is flexible, so use what you have on hand. Here are a few substitutions you could consider:
- Tomatoes – If you don’t have cherry tomatoes, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes or diced red peppers can be used as substitutes. They will each give a slightly different but still delicious flavor.
- Vinegar – Not a fan of vinegar or don’t have it on hand? Try substituting it with lemon juice for a fresh, tangy twist.
- Basil – If you’re out of fresh basil, fresh parsley makes an excellent substitute and will still deliver a burst of freshness.
- Capers – If you don’t have capers, kalamata olives could be a fantastic alternative, adding a distinct flavor.
- For an Extra Touch – Want an extra layer of flavor? Vegan feta cheese or a touch of dairy-free mozzarella sprinkled on top will make this dish even more special.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this eggplant recipe:
- A large glass or ceramic baking dish
- Wooden spoon
TIP: If you don’t have a baking dish you can use a large baking sheet or sheet pan instead.
Step By Step Instructions
For exact ingredient quantities, skip to the recipe card below!
STEP 1: Begin by washing the outside of the large eggplant. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise, then slice each piece in half again. Dice the eggplant into 1/2″ cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt to draw out moisture and bitterness.
TIP: Salting and soaking the eggplant helps remove bitterness and prevents the eggplant from soaking up an excessive amount of oil.
STEP 2: Set your oven to 425F. While it preheats, layer your baking sheet or dish with olive oil. This will help the eggplant stay moist.
STEP 3: As the eggplant rests, chop the onion and peel the garlic cloves. Add them plus the capers and cherry tomatoes to the baking dish along with the drained eggplant cubes. Stir in the crushed tomato, dried herbs and vinegar, making sure everything is evenly coated.
TIP: For golden brown eggplant with slightly crisp edges, omit the crushed tomatoes.
STEP 4: Transfer the dish to the oven. Roast until the mixture is bubbling, thickened, and the eggplant pieces are tender – about 35-40 minutes.
STEP 5: While the dish is cooking, toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat until golden, and chop the fresh basil.
STEP 6: Once removed from the oven, taste the mixture. Depending on the acidity of the tomatoes, you may want to add sugar to balance the flavor. Finish by sprinkling the dish with toasted pine nuts, fresh basil, and a few grinds of black pepper.
TIP: Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to crush the roasted whole garlic and mix it in to the other vegetables.
Whether you’re serving this as a side dish or main course, there are so many delicious ways to enjoy this roasted eggplant. For a light and refreshing meal, serve it at room temperature with fresh veggies.
If you’re looking for a more hearty option, serve it over your favorite gluten-free or vegan pasta, or alongside some crusty bread.
If you want to switch it up, you could even try drizzling a bit of tahini sauce on top. The smoky flavor of the eggplant pairs beautifully with this addition.
To store leftovers, place them in an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator.
This dish tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld together.
- Choosing a ripe, quality eggplant is crucial for this dish: Look for eggplants (Italian eggplants or globe eggplants work great) with glossy skin, free of soft spots. The outside of the eggplant should be firm but give slightly when pressed.
- Add more olive oil as needed: Try to keep the eggplant moist in the oven- if it looks like it’s drying out, add a drizzle or two of extra olive oil.
- Season to taste: Because this dish relies heavily on high-quality, fresh produce, adjust the seasonings as needed. Add more herbs, sugar, or vinegar to taste.
Absolutely! This dish is perfect for meal prep. It can be cooked in advance and reheats well.
The eggplant should have a bright, glossy skin without any wrinkles or soft spots. The outside of the eggplant should feel firm but give slightly when pressed.
Did you make this mediterranean roasted eggplant recipe?
⭐️ I’d love to know! Leave a star rating and comment below! ⭐️
- 1 large Italian or globe eggplant + 1 heaping tsp table salt
- ¼ cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow or red onion, diced
- 8 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 16 oz ripe cherry tomatoes or 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp capers optional
- ½ cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp salt, to taste
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp red or white wine vinegar (plus more to taste)
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- ¼ cup finely chopped basil, garnish
- ½ tsp cane sugar, to taste
- Thoroughly wash and dry the eggplant. Remove the ends and slice in half lengthwise, then dice into ½” cubes. In a large bowl, combine the eggplant cubes and 1 tsp of table salt. Add tap water until all pieces are covered and set aside to soak for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 425F. Meanwhile, prepare a 9x13” baking dish by drizzling with olive oil. You can also use a large baking sheet with a raised lip.
- Dice the onion and peel the garlic cloves, then add these to your oiled baking dish.
- Add the cherry tomatoes, capers (if using), and the ½ cup crushed tomatoes.
- Drain the salted water from the eggplant cubes, pat dry using a tea towel or paper towel, and add them to the baking dish.
- Season the contents of the baking dish with dried basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add the vinegar. Stir until all ingredients are evenly coated with oil and spices.
- Bake at 425F for approximately 35-40 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and thickened, and the eggplant cubes are tender. Stir occasionally.
- While your dish is baking, toast the pine nuts in a small dry skillet on the stove over medium-low heat and roughly chop the fresh basil for garnishing.
- After removing the baking dish from the oven, taste the mixture. If needed, add sugar to balance any acidity (this will depend on the acidity of the tomatoes you've used).
- Garnish with toasted pine nuts and chopped fresh basil.
- Serve hot or at room temperature, alongside crusty rustic bread, pasta, or crackers. Top with crispy spiced chickpeas or serve alongside other tapas-style dishes. Enjoy!
- Choosing ripe, quality eggplants is crucial for this dish: Look for eggplants (Italian eggplant or globe eggplant works great) with glossy skin, free of soft spots. The outside of the eggplant should be firm but give slightly when pressed.
- Add more olive oil as needed: try to keep the eggplant moist in the oven- if it looks like it's drying out, add a drizzle or two of extra olive oil.
- Season to taste: because this dish relies heavily on high-quality, fresh produce, adjust the seasonings as needed. Add more herbs, sugar, or vinegar to taste.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 105Carbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 2g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
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