Eggplant on the grill is such a simple and delicious side dish! In this recipe, we salt the eggplant to help remove some of the water and moisture from the slices so that you get a flavorful bite that’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Enjoy the eggplant as is with a sprinkle of fresh herbs, or drizzle on balsamic vinegar, tahini sauce or Primal Kitchen Italian Dressing or Balsamic Vinaigrette.
We like using Italian, Graffiti, Chinese or Japanese eggplant for this recipe. They are meaty, firm, and hold up to grilling well. Feel free to adjust grill time depending on your grill and any parts of it that are hotter than others. The end result should be crispy on the outside and soft and flavorful on the inside without being chewy. If the flesh of your eggplant ends up chewy but the outside is already too browned, reduce the heat of your grill a little and cook the eggplant for longer – chewy eggplant usually means it’s undercooked.
How to Grill Eggplant
First, cut off the stem and end of each eggplant. Then slice the eggplants into rings about ½” thick. You can also slice them at an angle or into thick strips if you’d like. Place the sliced eggplant in a large bowl and add a generous pinch of salt. Toss the eggplant to distribute the salt. Place a large cloth or towel on top of a large sheet pan and lay the sliced eggplant out on top of it. Allow the eggplant to rest for 30 minutes or so. You can also place a towel on top of the eggplant and another sheet pan on top of that to push down on the eggplant and release more water.
Blot or wipe the eggplant slices with a towel to remove excess moisture. Then jump and place them in a bowl. Toss in another bowl with the olive oil until the oil coats and starts to get absorbed into the slices.
Heat your grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Once hot, add the eggplant slices and grill for about 2 minutes, then turn them 90 degrees with tongs and grill for another minute or two to get nice grill marks on one side. Repeat on the other side until the eggplant is crisp on the outside but soft on the inside. Adjust the time as needed depending on what part of your grill is hottest so the eggplant is cooked through but doesn’t burn. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
Serve your eggplant with a sprinkle of fresh herbs, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or tahini, or your favorite Primal Kitchen dressing such as Italian or Balsamic Vinaigrette!