Easy Italian Grilled Eggplant Recipe (Melanzane Grigliate)- also known as Melanzane alla Griglia. Each tender slice of grilled eggplant is infused with the aromas of garlic, parsley, basil, and extra-virgin olive oil, offering a symphony of flavors that will transport you straight to the sun-kissed shores of the Mediterranean.
This Easy Italian Grilled Eggplant Recipe (Melanzane) is used as a healthy side dish (or "contorno" like we say in Italian) and is a recipe we often make during the summer in Sardegna. My mamma loves to make it with the large supply of fresh eggplants, parsley, and basil that we get there. This is a fresh and delicious dish. You can also use the same method for zucchini!
Whether hosting a summer barbecue or seeking a delightful vegetarian main course or an easy appetizer, this Italian grilled eggplant recipe will impress your guests and be a big hit! Get ready to indulge in the vibrant flavors of Italy with this easy and irresistible Melanzane grigliate recipe.
With just a handful of ingredients and a sizzling grill, you can create a delightful appetizer or side dish that captures the essence of Italian cuisine.
- Eggplants: Eggplants, also known as aubergines, are a versatile and delicious vegetable with deep purple skin and creamy flesh. They have a slightly bitter taste that becomes milder and more savory when cooked. Eggplants are a popular ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine and lend themselves well to grilling.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: Extra-virgin olive oil is a staple in Italian cooking and adds a rich and fruity flavor to dishes. The olive oil in this recipe is used to brush the eggplant slices, adding moisture and flavor, and helping to achieve a beautiful char on the grill.
- Fresh Garlic: In this recipe, minced garlic is combined with olive oil to infuse the eggplant slices with its rich taste.
- Salt and pepper: Adjust the amount of salt and pepper according to your personal preference.
- Fresh flat-leaf parsley: Fresh parsley is an herb that adds brightness and freshness to dishes. It has a mild and slightly peppery flavor that complements the grilled eggplant perfectly.
- Basil leaves: Basil is a fragrant herb with a sweet and slightly peppery flavor. It is a staple in Italian cuisine and pairs wonderfully with eggplant.
- Grated Parmigiano Parmesan cheese (optional): Parmigiano cheese is a hard and nutty Italian cheese that can be grated or shaved. It has a distinct flavor adds a salty and umami taste to dishes. In this recipe, grated Parmesan cheese is an optional topping that can be sprinkled over the grilled eggplant slices to add a rich and savory element.
Make this quick recipe for a delicious summer antipasto platter!
If you love grilling recipes, you might like this Homemade Taco with Grilled Pork.
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Easy Italian Grilled Eggplant Recipe (Melanzane)
This recipe celebrates the natural beauty of eggplants, transforming them into a succulent and charred delight. The perfect recipe for all of your end of the summer vegetables and herbs.
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
Slice eggplant into rounds about ½ inch thick. You can leave the skin on or peel it off, depending on your preference.
Mix the olive oil, minced garlic, basil, parsley, salt and pepper in a small bowl with a whisk.
Brush both sides of the eggplant discs generously with the seasoned olive oil mixture using a good basting brush. Reserve extra seasoning oil to drizzle after the eggplant are grilled.
Place the eggplant slices directly on the grill and cook for about 5-6 minutes per side until they have grill marks, are slightly golden brown, and are tender.
Once cooked, remove the eggplant slices from the grill and transfer them to a serving plate or platter. Drizzle any remaining seasoned olive oil over the grilled eggplant slices.
Garnish with torn basil leaves and, if desired, sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Serve the grilled eggplant as a side dish or as a larger meal. It pairs well with grilled meats, pasta, or crusty bread.
How to Choose the Best Eggplant
When it comes to choosing the best eggplants for your recipes, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Look for firm and smooth skin: Select eggplants with smooth, glossy skin that feel firm to the touch. Avoid eggplants with wrinkled or dull skin, which can indicate age or dehydration.
- Check the weight: Heavier eggplants typically indicate that they are fresher and have a higher moisture content. Choose eggplants that feel dense and heavier for their size.
- Consider size and shape: Eggplants come in various sizes and shapes, such as round, elongated, or even small and slender varieties. The size and shape you choose can depend on your preference and the specific recipe you plan to make.
- Color: Different eggplant varieties have varying colors, ranging from deep purple to lighter shades of purple, green, or white. Choose eggplants with vibrant and uniform colors, indicating that they are ripe and fresh.
Types of Eggplants that Work Best
- Globe Eggplant: Globe eggplants are the most common variety in grocery stores. They have a large, round or oval shape, deep purple skin, and creamy white flesh. Globe eggplants have a mild, slightly bitter flavor and a meaty texture, making them versatile for various dishes like grilling, roasting, and sautéing.
- Italian Eggplant: Italian eggplants, also called elongated or baby eggplants, are small and elongated in shape, resembling zucchinis. They have a deep purple color and smooth skin. Italian eggplants have a mild, sweet flavor and tender flesh. They are commonly used in Italian cuisines, such as Eggplant Parmesan or grilled and roasted eggplants.
Here are a few variations you can try to add some exciting twists to the Easy Italian Grilled Eggplant (Melanzane Grigliate) recipe:
- Balsamic Glaze: Drizzle a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze over the grilled eggplant slices before serving. Combining the smoky grilled flavors with the rich and slightly acidic balsamic glaze creates a delightful contrast. You can also use balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar to the marinade.
- Mozzarella and Tomato: Layer fresh mozzarella cheese and ripe tomato between the grilled eggplant slices. This creates a delicious Caprese-inspired variation highlighting creamy delicious cheese and juicy tomatoes.
- Pesto: Instead of brushing the eggplant slices with the seasoned olive oil mixture, spread a layer of homemade or store-bought pesto sauce on each slice before grilling. This adds a burst of fresh basil, garlic, and nutty flavors to the dish.
- Mediterranean Fresh Herbs: Instead of parsley or basil, combine other Mediterranean herbs such as fresh thyme, rosemary, fresh oregano, or marjoram, or Italian seasoning mix. These herbs infuse the eggplant slices with aromatic flavors commonly found in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.
- Spicy Kick: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a drizzle of hot sauce to the seasoned olive oil mixture for a spicy version of grilled eggplant.
- Citrus Zest: Grate some lemon juice or orange zest over the grilled eggplant slices before serving to add a bright and citrusy note. The citrus zest enhances the flavors and adds a refreshing touch.
- Stuffed Eggplant: Instead of slicing the eggplant, cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the flesh, and mix it with sautéed onions, garlic, breadcrumbs, and herbs. Stuff the mixture back into the eggplant shells, brush with olive oil, and grill until tender. This variation creates a satisfying and flavorful stuffed eggplant dish.
How to Store Grilled Eggplant
To store leftover cooked eggplant, let it cool completely and place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the leftovers for up to 3-4 days, and reheat them in the oven, microwave, or stovetop before consuming.
- Choose ripe and firm eggplants: Look for eggplants that are firm to the touch and have smooth, shiny skin. Avoid eggplants that feel too soft or have wrinkled skin, as they may be overripe or taste bitter.
- Preheat the grill: Ensure it is properly preheated to medium-high heat before placing the eggplant slices on it. This helps create a nice sear and char on the outside while keeping the inside tender and flavorful.
- Brush the eggplant slices generously: Use a basting brush to coat both sides with the seasoned olive oil mixture. This helps to infuse them with flavor and prevents them from sticking to the grill.
- Keep an eye on the cooking time: Cooking time may vary depending on the eggplant slices' thickness and the grill's heat. Watch them closely and flip them once they develop grill marks and become tender. Overcooking can result in mushy eggplant, so aim for a nice char while maintaining a slight firmness.
- Customize the seasonings: Feel free to experiment with additional seasonings or herbs to suit your taste preferences. You can add other herbs like thyme, rosemary, or even a pinch of red pepper flakes for a hint of spice.
Yes, you can use a stovetop or grill pan in the oven to cook the eggplant slices indoors if you don't have access to an outdoor grill. Preheat the grill pan over medium-high heat, and follow the same instructions for grilling the eggplant slices.
Fresh herbs like parsley and basil add vibrant flavors to the dish, but you can use dried herbs as a substitute if you don't have fresh herbs available. Use about one-third of the amount called for in the recipe, as dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor.
No, salting eggplants before cooking is not necessary. Salting eggplants is a traditional practice to remove any potential bitterness and excess water or extra moisture. However, modern eggplant varieties are bred to be less bitter, and bitterness is no longer a significant concern in most cases.
Additionally, salting eggplants can result in a slight loss of moisture, which may affect the texture of the cooked eggplant. If you prefer a softer texture, salting can be skipped altogether.
Looking for other recipes? Try these:
What to serve with Easy Italian Grilled Eggplant Recipe (Melanzane)
These are my favorite dishes to serve with Italian Grilled Eggplant:
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- 2 medium eggplant, sliced into ½ inch rounds
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
- Slice eggplant into rounds about ½ inch thick. You can leave the skin on or peel it off, depending on your preference.
- Mix the olive oil, minced garlic, basil, parsley, salt and pepper in a small bowl with a whisk.
- Brush both sides of the eggplant discs generously with the seasoned olive oil mixture using a good basting brush. Reserve extra seasoning oil to drizzle after the eggplant are grilled.
- Place the eggplant slices directly on the grill and cook for about 5-6 minutes per side until they have grill marks, are slightly golden brown, and are tender.
- Once cooked, remove the eggplant slices from the grill and transfer them to a serving plate or platter. Drizzle any remaining seasoned olive oil over the grilled eggplant slices. Garnish with torn basil leaves and, if desired, sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top.
- Serve the grilled eggplant as a side dish or as a larger meal. It pairs well with grilled meats, pasta, or crusty bread.
Enjoy your delicious Italian grilled eggplant (Melanzane alla Griglia)!
You can also add other seasonings or herbs, such as fresh thyme or rosemary to the olive oil mixture to customize the flavor according to your taste.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Savory
- Method: Italian
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: eggplant, vegetarian, grill