Eggplant is a purple-skinned fruit with a white, spongy flesh.
It’s typically used as a vegetable in cooking and a common ingredient in vegan recipes, especially those that mimic the flavors or textures of meat.
When cooked, eggplant has a creamy texture. Plus, it’s very absorbent and soaks seasonings up well, making it a hearty, flavorful ingredient to use in vegan dishes.
Here are 10 delicious vegan eggplant recipes.
Eggplant Parmesan is one of the most popular ways to prepare eggplant, but it’s typically made with cheese and therefore not vegan.
This vegan eggplant Parmesan recipe solves that problem and uses a homemade, nut-based mozzarella cheese that’s dairy-free. It’s a filling main dish that’s loaded with flavor and makes a good dinner.
The mozzarella “cheese” is made from cashews, which are rich in heart-healthy fats and several vitamins and minerals.
It also uses nutritional yeast, a deactivated yeast that has a salty, cheesy flavor.
A gyro is a Greek sandwich made with meat that has been roasted on a vertical spit, served on pita bread, and topped with yogurt tzatziki sauce.
In this recipe, swapping meat for eggplant yields a delicious, vegan version of gyros that can be served for lunch or dinner. Cooked eggplant is topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, and hummus, instead of a dairy-based sauce.
The eggplant also provides a good dose of antioxidants. The purple skin of the eggplant is a source of anthocyanin pigments that act as antioxidants in the body and protect cells from disease-contributing damage (1).
When marinated in salty and smoky seasonings and cooked in a skillet, thinly sliced eggplant may serve as a vegan version of crispy bacon.
To make eggplant bacon, start by using a mandolin or sharp knife to cut the eggplant into long, thin slices.
Heat a heavy drizzle of canola or avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Then combine 1/4 cup (60 mL) of reduced sodium soy sauce with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of maple syrup, 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of vegan Worcestershire sauce, and 1–2 teaspoons (5 grams) of smoked paprika. Brush both sides of each eggplant slice with the mixture.
Arrange the eggplant slices in the skillet, and cook for 4–5 minutes on each side until crispy and slightly charred. Transfer the eggplant “bacon” onto a plate lined with paper towels. Continue cooking the eggplant in batches.
Chicken teriyaki is a popular Japanese dish that uses a sauce made from soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and mirin (Japanese rice wine).
Eggplant is a great base for vegan teriyaki recipes because it soaks sauces up so well. This eggplant teriyaki recipe comes together in under 30 minutes and relies on common ingredients.
Curry refers to a variety of dishes that feature meat, tofu, beans, or vegetables cooked in seasonings like turmeric, ginger, cumin, and coriander.
Eggplant is a delicious addition to curry dishes and contributes a creamy texture. This vegan version of eggplant curry uses coconut milk for even more creaminess, as well as chickpeas for a protein boost.
Roasted eggplant is milder in taste than its raw counterpart, and it has a silky texture, making it a wonderful base for a soup.
To make a vegan eggplant soup, halve a large eggplant lengthwise and place it cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast it for 30–35 minutes at 425°F (220°C) until fork-tender.
In the meantime, add 2 chopped onions and 4 minced garlic cloves to a stockpot with 4 cups (1 liter) of vegetable stock. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the eggplant is fully cooked in the oven.
Use a spoon to scoop the cooked eggplant flesh into the pot. Season it with salt and pepper, and stir in 1 teaspoon (0.9 grams) of dried thyme. Blend it with an immersion blender or transfer it into an upright blender to blend in batches.
Since eggplant grows in warm weather, it’s typically abundant during grilling season.
Grilled eggplant makes an easy vegan side dish for any summer meal. It’s low in calories and full of fiber.
To make grilled eggplant, slice eggplants into 1-inch (3-cm) rounds. Brush each side of the rounds with a mixture of olive oil, fresh garlic, salt, and pepper.
Place them on the grill, or a veggie mat on the grill, and cook it over medium-high heat for 4–5 minutes on each side. To reduce the bitter taste of eggplant, sprinkle the slices liberally with salt and let them sit for 30 minutes to “sweat” before grilling.
Eggplant mimics the texture of meat again in this vegan rendition of eggplant “steaks.”
Marinated in balsamic vinegar and topped with spinach cashew cheese and tomato salad, this eggplant steak recipe is sure to be a winner. It makes four servings and can be an easy family dinner.
The spinach and tomatoes in the dish, in addition to the eggplant, provide beneficial nutrients.
Spinach contains iron, an essential mineral that vegan diets can lack, while the tomatoes are a source of vitamin C, which can aid iron absorption (
Baba ghanoush is a vegan dip made from cooked eggplant, tahini, olive oil, lemon, and garlic.
This creamy snack can be served with pita chips and vegetables or used as a sandwich spread. Many delicious recipes for baba ghanoush can be found online, but this Lebanese baba ghanoush is especially tasty.
Plus, the tahini used in baba ghanoush is made with ground sesame seeds, which are loaded with healthy fats, B vitamins, and many health-promoting plant compounds (
Baby eggplants can make for a delicious vegan stuffing.
Mediterranean stuffed eggplant is full of flavor and nutrition, thanks to ingredients like kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, parsley, and lemon. The dish uses mostly pantry staples and can be on the table in an hour.
The eggplant and other veggies contribute fiber and several micronutrients. Kalamata olives are also a good source of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that may have anti-inflammatory effects and support your immune system (
Eggplant is a delicious food to enjoy on a vegan diet. Depending on the type of preparation and seasonings, it can even mimic the taste of meat.
The recipes on this list are some of the tastiest ways to eat eggplant without animal products. Refer to the options above whenever you need a healthy lunch, dinner, snack, or side dish.