All you need is 4 ingredients to make delicious roasted eggplant slices! This eggplant is tender, lightly spicy, and the perfect addition to weeknight meals.
I spent much of my life intimidated by roasted eggplant, because the result is so often disappointly spongy or bland.
Because of that, I've spent many years testing and adjusting how to make the best roasted eggplant slices, and I think you'll be equally satisfied with the result, which I also use in my hummus bowls.
The secret to meaty but tender eggplant is to roast eggplant slices at high heat. I'm a big proponent of roasting vegetables at 425F (I also use this method with okra) because it caramelizes the natural sugars and creates charring, resulting in a soft and tender texture with a slightly sweet and smoky flavor.
High heat also helps to dry out the eggplant, which makes it easier to remove excess moisture, preventing the eggplant from becoming mushy or spongy.
Best eggplant for roasting
Globe eggplants are the most common eggplants found in grocery stores, and they work well for roasting. They have firm flesh and a mild flavor that pairs well with a variety of seasonings.
Other varieties of eggplant, such as Japanese or Italian eggplants, can also be roasted. Just keep in mind that different types of eggplants may have varying textures and flavors, which can affect the final outcome of the roasted eggplant.
For this recipe, I recommend sticking to globe eggplant.
- Canola oil has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, which makes it a good choice for high-heat cooking, but you can use olive oil or avocado oil if you prefer.
- Salt enhances the natural flavor of the eggplant and helps to draw out excess moisture, which can improve the texture of the final dish. My go-to is Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, but regular table salt or sea salt work.
- Harissa paste: Harissa adds a smoky, slightly spicy flavor. It is a North African spice paste made from chili peppers, garlic, and other seasonings. If you don't have harissa paste, you can substitute it with another type of chili paste, like garlic chili sauce or sambal oelek.
Have leftover harissa? Use it in sweet and spicy tofu or add it to peanut stir fry sauce in place of garlic chili sauce.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a full sheet pan with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
Slice the eggplant into ½-inch rounds. Do not peel the skin, as it adds flavor and texture to the dish. Slice those rounds in half to form half-moons.
Note that this roasting method works just as well with full slices of eggplant.
In a large bowl, mix together the oil, harissa paste, and salt. Add the eggplant slices and toss to coat.
Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Roast on the middle oven rack for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Flipping the eggplant helps it to cook more evenly.
The eggplant is ready when tender and slightly caramelized. The eggplant should be completely soft and almost jammy, with a shriveled appearance.
Tips for success
- How to choose an eggplant: Globe eggplants work best for roasting because they have firm flesh that holds up well to high heat. Look for eggplants that are shiny and firm, with no soft spots or blemishes.
- Don't peel the skin: The skin of the eggplant is edible and contains many of the vegetable's nutrients. Leaving the skin on also helps to hold the slices together as they cook.
- Seasonings: Eggplants have a mild flavor, so season generously with salt and harissa. Try adding other spices like za'atar seasoning, Italian seasoning, and coriander for a different flavor profile.
- Don't overcrowd the baking sheet: It's important to give the eggplant slices enough space on the baking sheet so that they can cook evenly and get crispy around the edges. If doubling the recipe or using more than one eggplant, use two baking sheets or roast them in batches.
- Flip the slices halfway through: Flipping the eggplant slices halfway through cooking helps to ensure that they cook evenly on both sides and get crispy around the edges.
- Salting eggplant: From my experience, when roasting eggplant at high heat you do not need to salt it first. Traditionally, eggplant is salted to draw out moisture and decrease bitter flavors. While this is certainly a great method, I don't find that it's necessary when roasting eggplant at 425F.
There are so many different ways to serve eggplant, but here are a few of my favorites:
- Serve in a sandwich or wrap with hummus, greens, sliced cucumber, and harissa tofu.
- Topped with crumbled feta cheese, fresh herbs, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze and served on ciabatta for an eggplant sandwich.
- As a pizza or flatbread topping. Cook the eggplant for 12 minutes on its own then finish cooking on the pizza.
- In quinoa or farro bowls with other roasted vegetables, a protein like tofu or tempeh, and a scoop of hummus.
Leftovers: Roasted eggplant slices can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Reheating: Reheat the eggplant slices in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until heated through or reheat on a skillet over medium heat.
Freezing: Roasted eggplant slices do not freeze well, as the texture can become mushy when thawing. It's best to enjoy them fresh or within a few days of making them.
More vegetable sides
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Spicy Roasted Eggplant Slices
- 1 medium globe eggplant
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- ½ teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Meanwhile, slice the eggplant into ½ inch rounds. Slice each round in half to make a half-moon.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, harissa, salt, and black pepper to taste. Add the eggplant, tossing until well-coated.
- Line a full sheet pan with parchment paper. Transfer the sliced eggplant to the sheet pan. Try to avoid overlapping any pieces.
- Bake in the preheated over for 25 minutes total. Remove halfway through and flip the eggplant. The eggplant is ready when soft and golden and is best served immediately.
- Eggplant: I recommend globe eggplant because it's the most common eggplant at US grocery stores. This method should work with other varieties of eggplant.
- Harissa: This is a spicy chili paste. It can be replaced with an equal amount of garlic chili sauce or sambal oelek.
- Leftovers: Roasted eggplant slices can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Reheating: Reheat the eggplant slices in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until heated through or reheat on a skillet over medium heat.
- Freezing: Roasted eggplant slices do not freeze well, as the texture can become mushy when thawing. It's best to enjoy them fresh or within a few days of making them.
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