Asian Grilled Eggplant
This Asian Grilled Eggplant makes for a delicious side dish or salad. The eggplant is grilled until tender, coated in a creamy garlic, ginger and sesame sauce and topped with crunchy cashews and scallions. It can be served cold or at room temperature and is Whole30, Paleo, Keto and Vegan!
Grilled eggplant is one of my go to side dishes for summer barbecues, and while I usually cook them with a simple garlic and herb marinade, I wanted to create a new alternative. The eggplant is cut into slices and grilled until tender, and then coated in a thick and creamy Asian sauce that is so good! This Asian Grilled Eggplant can be served cold or at room temperature (my preference), and it works well as a side or salad. You can grill the eggplant and prepare the sauce up to a day in advance and then simply combine before serving. Leftovers will last for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Different types of eggplant you can use to make this Asian Grilled Eggplant
This purple fruit (yes it’s actually a fruit, not vegetable!) has many different names in my house: Eggplant (North America), Aubergine (UK), Brinjal (South Africa) and Melanzane (Italy). It not only comes with different names, but also in many different varieties. These are the 4 types of eggplant that you could use for this recipe:
Italian Eggplant: This is the type of eggplant I use most often in my recipes. They look similar to Globe Eggplant but are darker in colour and slightly smaller in size. I find they have a sweeter taste and lack the bitterness that some other varieties of eggplant have.
Globe or American Eggplant: These are the type of eggplant found most commonly in North America. They are quite large in size and have a meaty texture. I find that Globe Eggplant have a spongier texture compared to other varieties and therefore absorb a lot of oil when cooking.
Japanese or Chinese Eggplant: These two varieties of eggplant are both long and thin in shape. They have a sweeter taste then the two varieties listed above with a thin skin and minimal amount of seeds (which is what makes eggplant bitter). These have a creamy (rather than meaty) texture when cooked.
What’s in the creamy Asian sauce?
- Coconut aminos: this gives the sauce a salty umami flavour. For those not following a paleo or whole30 diet you can use Soy Sauce or Tamari instead.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: adds nice acidity to the sauce. Rice vinegar can be used as a substitute.
- Ginger: I absolutely LOVE fresh ginger. I like using a blender to make the sauce so that the ginger breaks down into a smooth texture. If you prefer to simply stir the sauce together in a bowl, you can grate the ginger on a microplane grater. Tip: store peeled ginger in the freezer, this makes it much easier to grate.
- Almond butter: this makes the sauce deliciously creamy. Cashew butter or Peanut Butter (for those not Paleo/Whole30) could also be used. Tahini could be used to make the sauce nut free.
Here are a few other eggplant recipes that you might enjoy:
- Chopped Eggplant, Almond & Herb Salad
- Middle Eastern Roasted Eggplant Salad
- Garlic & Herb Grilled Eggplant
- Pork & Eggplant Stir Fry
- Herby Couscous Stuffed Eggplant Rolls
- Eggplant Caponata
If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!
Asian Grilled Eggplant
- 3 large eggplant
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp coconut aminos (or tamari/soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 inch piece ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted cashews or peanuts
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Remove the stem from the top of each of the eggplant and then cut the eggplant into 1 inch thick long thin slices (you should get approx 4-5 slices per eggplant).
- Heat a BBQ, grill pan or sandwich press to medium heat. Brush each of the eggplant slices with olive oil and grill for approximately 5 minutes per side until grill marks form and the eggplant has softened in texture.
- Once the eggplant slices are tender and golden brown in colour, remove them from the grill and cut the slices into 1 inch wide large pieces. Place the pieces of eggplant in a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a nutribullet or high speed blender combine the coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and almond butter and blend until completely smooth.
- Pour the sauce overtop of the eggplant pieces and toss them gently to ensure they are all well coated. Add in the chopped cashews and scallions and toss one more time before to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.