smokey, roasted eggplant

March 22nd, 2013

two eggplants

I’ve never been a picky eater. Partly because picky eaters were not allowed in the house I grew up in and partly because there is just so much delicious food out there I don’t want to miss. But eggplant, well eggplant never did it for me.

eggplant before

I always looked at it as the vegetarian’s meat. And not being a vegetarian, I chose the actual meat. Eggplant sat there spongy and tasteless. Yes, eggplant parmesan is delicious, but if you accidentally breaded and fried your kitchen sponge, then doused it in tomato sauce, it might be delicious too.

eggplant after

This past year, I waged a food war with my pickiest eater, my youngest. I’m happy to say I won (and have been thinking of posting about it–would you be interested?) but part of the battle involved looking at the food I ate. Was I picky? I didn’t think so, but I had fallen into a food rut. I bought the same things every week, so we ate some variation of the same things every week.  I went out and bought 2 eggplants.

smoky, roasted eggplant

Then I had to figure out a way to cook them. I found a good recipe, messed with it a bit, and have made it at least ten times. I eat eggplant–willingly! This eggplant is smoky and bold, bright and fresh, a little winter-y and a little spring-y. It is lovely warm, but equally as good cold.  Can you tell I love it? I love it even more the next day with a fried egg on top.

egg and eggplant


smokey, roasted eggplant

adapted from this recipe on the kitchn


  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika (don’t substitute regular paprika, go get the smoked stuff)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional, but good)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 cup flat parsley leaves, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Cut the eggplant into cubes (1 inch or so) and sprinkle with the salt
  3. Whisk the oil, vinegar, paprika, cumin, and maple syrup together
  4. Add the garlic and the eggplant.
  5. Mix everything up and spread it out on one sheet pant (it looks like a lot for one sheet pan, but the eggplant shrinks considerably)
  6. Put it in the oven for 1 hour–stirring now and then. Really it can stay in for even longer, it just gets better.
  7. When the eggplant is done, take it out and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the top.
  8. Stir in the parsley and eat!


Posted in food/recipes.

23 Responses to smokey, roasted eggplant

  1. cate says:

    this looks delish, but I already love eggplant! and, I would absolutely be interested in reading about your food war.

  2. Laura D says:

    Elise, *I’m* interested. Grace is a picky eater and mealtimes are often a battle. Picky eaters weren’t allowed at my house, either, and my brother often gets mean trying to get her to eat what’s put before her. (She’s my niece, but I have half shares in raising her and her sister.) My SIL was and still is a little picky, though we’ve corrupted her into liking things that she previously hated. But Gracie… we’re trying to fix it. It’s not that we allowed it to happen, she kind of came like that. We’re tired of the food wars. Little sister Nicole will eat just about anything. How did y’all do it?

  3. Karin says:

    Yes, please post about your food war! One has started with my youngest, who just turned 3, and I’m determined to get us all to eat the same things (more or less).

    And that looks amazing. Deborah Madison has a slowed cooked butternut squash that seems like a sweet version of this.

  4. Darcey says:

    Yes, I am interested! And this looks delicious!

  5. Lee says:

    I look forward to trying this since I have always loved eggplant. In fact, I bought my first cookbook because it had the most eggplant recipes in it. ;-)

  6. Steffie says:

    Darn you. Double darn you. I love eggplant. And I’m horribly allergic to it!

  7. kristin says:

    Definitely want to hear about the food war, so I can wage them on both my daughter and my husband! Actually he’s getting better but she’s still really difficult. Hehe deep fried kitchen sponge… :)

  8. carolina says:

    I love eggplant and I will try your recipe. I bake my own moussaka version, is with eggplant, tomatoes, oregano and goat cheese. I cut the eggplant (not dices) and put it in water with salt all night. I put in a baking pan, eggplant, then tomatoes with oregano and goat cheese, Then again the same. Put in the oven, never know how much time, until eggplant is ready and serve with buttery potatoes. My kids love tomatoes so love this recipe.

  9. Adrienne says:

    I am not a picky eater and will eat almost anything. However, I have always turned my nose up at eggplant! So now I am intrigued and am so going to try this dish! Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Jo says:

    Your recipe looks good, I’ll definitely try it. I think eggplant is at its best with Middle Eastern flavours, as you’ve done here. Baba ghanoush is a classic smokey dip we like. Have fun with your new found love!

    • Jo says:

      Oops, forgot to say I’d love to hear about your food war. Have been waging one with my 3yr old and am hoping the tide is turning my way finally!

  11. Oh this is perfect timing. My 5 year old asked me to buy an eggplant the other day which I happily did…. But now it is looking at me every time I open the fridge and I can’t remember any good recipes I made in the past with eggplant! Definitely going to make this! I hope she will like it! I will tell her it has maple syrup in it and she will for sure be interested :-)

  12. jennifer says:

    hi.. would definately want to hear about the food war.. in detail. My son and his picky eating is the bane of my existance… I find I am cooking like a trained monkey when it comes to him and I want it to stop. Full… So, yes please to the food war coverage !!!

  13. Stephanie says:

    Please, please, please post about your food wars! We actually are vegan and my 5 year old tells me every night how much he hates veggies (except broccoli). We manage but he ends up eating the same couple of things all the time and because of our limited diet, it worries me. I’ve tried everything but always looking for some new input. By the way, I just found my way to your site by way of a shared post about the sock bunny (which I adore) and I’m hooked! Thanks so much!!!

  14. Oh, that’s just mean! I love eggplant, but covered in that gooey egg is just too much. Wish I wasn’t pregnant so I could eat it!

  15. Wendy says:

    I’d love to hear about your battles and success with picky eaters. I’m deep in the trenches here and would love to hear some inspirational
    tales of victory!

  16. Jennifer says:

    Eggplant- meh! I can take it or leave it. I had a picky mother, so I never had to eat a variety of vegs when I was growing up. Then my Dad remarried a woman from Syria who ate dishes like stuffed grape leaves, raw beef, eggplant, and brussel sprouts! Poor 13-year old me was in misery, but lucky for me, my Dad, who is not a picky eater, encouraged me to try everything she put on my plate and I am ever so grateful for that, because now, I can say I eat just about anything you can put in front of me. Eggplant parmesan can only go so far, so I’m willing to try this! Thanks for sharing and yes, I’d be interested, because I am waging a picky eater war with my 4 year old son, which is getting really exhausting! He used to eat everything and now won’t eat anything. At least his three older sisters eat just about everything, so no worries, I hope this is just a phase for him!

  17. Sarah says:

    oh, man, yes please, tell us how you won the food war! my daughter has expressed that she hates nights when we have family dinner because then she has to eat gross stuff. and guess what, then family dinner is really unpleasant, and then….

    the eggplant looks really delicious. I do something similar with roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes (with the smoked paprika) topped with an egg. An egg makes everything better!

  18. molly says:

    oh, yes, yes, yes! hello, my most favorite way with eggplant. AND, if you’re hip to this, know you can also smoke the whole darn thing, until it looks incinerated, and scoop out the flesh. excellent with lots of lemon, olive oil, fresh parm + pita chips. or mint, cilantro, pomegranate.

    also, toss that loveliness above with roasted tomatoes and roasted cubed zukes at the end of summer, for a SO much better take on ratatouille.

    also good on pasta.

    also… well. so many happy endings.

    totally missed kid’s clothing week, d*C@)(#. ah well. such are some springs.

    happy spring to you, meg!

  19. Mie says:

    I just made this for dinner and I really really loved it! My 3 year old refused to taste as expected and my 5 year old had a bite and hated it. Oh well, some things they need to taste many times before they like it….they will get this again for sure. They ate the steamed green beans and grilled chicken breast that I made with it and that is good enough for me!
    Thanks for sharing!

  20. jean says:

    Yes, please talk about your battles with your picky kid! My three year old only eats five beige foods and my one year old (the former powerhouse eater) has lost interest in vegetables. I’m worried he’ll end up with her limited palette.

    The eggplant looks amazing. And of course I’ll have to try it with the runny egg. Yum!

  21. Karin says:

    I just made this for the third time. Tonight served it over orzo with feta & cherry tomatoes and more lemon juice. It is just sort of perfectly awesome. Thanks again!