How do we love eggplant? Let us count the ways. Prepared properly, the purple-hued vegetable has a wonderful, creamy texture that enhances all sorts of dishes. From smoky Middle Eastern baba ganoush and southern Italian eggplant parmigiana to a spicy Chinese stir-fry and a Turkish stuffed number, eggplant recipes show up in cuisines from all over the globe. Plus, farmers’ markets offer so many different varieties of eggplants these days, from the zaftig deep-purple fruits we all know, to bulbous Sicilian, miniature Indian, and svelte, cucumber-shaped Japanese eggplants, that there’s endless inspiration when the vegetable is in season. Our collection of globally-inspired eggplant recipes is delicious enough to surprise, delight, and convert even the most fervent eggplant skeptic. Check out our absolute favorite ways to use eggplant below.
Mayonnaise ensures a creamy, smooth texture in this Midwestern riff on the classic Mediterranean dip by cookbook author
Amy Thielen. Chopped cumin seeds add spice and a little crunch to the smoky eggplant. Get the recipe for Smoky Baba Ghannouj with Oil-Cured Black Olives »
You can make the major components of this classic Italian casserole in advance, from the red sauce to the fried eggplant, or even assemble the whole dish ahead of time.
Get the recipe for Eggplant Parmigiana »
A tian is a type of gratin, typically vegetables baked in an earthenware dish. (The word “tian” also refers to the earthenware dish itself.) This classic Provençal version is made with alternating rows of sliced zucchini, eggplant, and tomato. The flavors meld as the vegetables cook together, somewhat like ratatouille. Seasoned simply with thyme, garlic, and good fruity olive oil, the dish is best served at room temperature. Lulu insists it tastes even better made a day in advance.
Get the recipe for Provençal Vegetable Tian »
For this comforting roasted eggplant salad, Sergey and Ivan glaze the eggplant with kvass, a traditional Slavic drink made from fermented rye bread.
Warm Eggplant Salad with Hemp Seed Sauce
Thai-style dumplings add a nice, bouncy texture to this green curry.
Get the recipe for Green Curry with Fish and Eggplant (Kaeng Khiaw Waan) »
Sliced, grilled vegetables served in a simple marinade or vinaigrette are a fixture at many Tuscan meals.
Get the recipe for Grilled Eggplant With Basil Vinaigrette »
Get the recipe for Melitzanosalata »
Chef Sara Jenkins of New York City’s Porchetta gave us the recipe for this spicy, comforting pasta dish, inspired by one made by Italian chef Salvatore Denaro.
Get the recipe for Pasta Alla Norma (Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Eggplant) »
This classic recipe is found throughout Georgia as part of the vegetable starters for a supra, but they’re great with drinks before dinner too. Small eggplants are sliced lengthwise, salted, rinsed, and lightly fried, before being spread with garlicy walnut paste and rolled up.
Get the recipe for Eggplant Rolls (Nigvziani Badrijani) »
Steaming eggplant, as opposed to deep-frying it, lightens this fragrant stir-fry adapted from a recipe in Grace Young and Alan Richardson’s
The Breath of a Wok (Simon & Schuster, 2004). Get the recipe for Chinese Spicy Garlic Eggplant (Yu Xiang Qie Zi) »
The sweet and sour flavors—or agrodolce—of this caponata come from sugar and vinegar, which have historically been used to preserve Sicilian relishes and are typically included in the island’s traditional vegetable and seafood dishes.
Get the recipe for Sicilian Caponata »
Rainy Day Chicken with Eggplant Salad
Akin to Puerto Rican escabeche, roasted, tender vegetables are marinated in a simple sherry vinegar dressing for an easy side dish to grilled fish, roast pork, or tender rib eye steak.
Get the recipe for Escalivada Catalana »
Corkscrew Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato-Basil Pesto (Busiate con Pesto alla Trapanese)
Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi)
Charred until nearly burnt, then mashed with earthy paprika and sour sherry vinegar, we love this dish as a condiment on roast lamb or served as a dip with pita chips.
Get the recipe for Twice-Cooked Eggplant with Sherry Vinegar and Paprika »
A smoky, sweet, and savory condiment as versatile as ketchup. This version is adapted from Tim Wiechmann, of Boston’s Playska, a Balkan-style sandwich shop.
Get the recipe for Ajvar »
This hearty Azeri egg dish—which can be served in small pieces as an appetizer or side, or cut into larger wedges as a main—is loaded with ground walnuts, onions, and eggplant, giving it a nutty, meaty consistency and color.
Get the recipe for Eggplant and Walnut Frittata (Badimjan Kükü) »
Fried Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate Seeds
The famously smoky Middle Eastern eggplant puree reaches new heights of smoothness with the inclusion of white chocolate, which compliments the nutty flavor of tahini and the delicate spice of fresh garlic and paprika.
Get the recipe for White Chocolate Baba Ghannouj »
A good moussaka—a baked casserole of eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and minced lamb or beef under a lush layer of béchamel sauce—is one of the most fabulous things you can eat.
Get the recipe for Moussaka »
A creamy eggplant purée, enriched with béchamel and Gruyère cheese serves as a bed for meltingly tender lamb shanks, slow-braised in red wine and aromatics.
Get the recipe for Lamb Shanks in Red Wine with Creamy Eggplant »
Across the Levant, eggplants are grilled and mashed to make baba ghannouj, a silky, delicious dip for flatbreads and vegetables.
Get the recipe for Mashed Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghannouj) »
This simple but flavorful dish of fried eggplant and onions is served with a vinegar-spiked tomato sauce.
Get the recipe for Eggplant in Tomato Sauce »
Eggplant is simmered to melting softness in a fantastically pungent curry fortified by shrimp paste.
Get the recipe for Burmese Eggplant Curry (Khayan Thee Hnut) »
Creamy, mild eggplant pairs with briny capers, floral basil, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction for a knockout appetizer or side dish.
Get the recipe for Pan-Fried Eggplant with Balsamic, Basil, and Capers »
Crunchy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside—this is eggplant at its best.
Get the recipe for Fried Eggplant »
With ingredients like dill, chiles de árbol, and anchovies, this dish is far from authentic Shanghainese, but it’s totally delicious.
Get the recipe for Red-Cooked Eggplant (Hongshao Qiezi) »