• Eggplant is a versatile vegetable that can be transformed into delicious vegan dishes.
  • You can make vegan bacon using eggplant by marinating and baking it.
  • Baba ganoush is a creamy Middle Eastern spread made from roasted eggplant.
  • Eggplant can be used as a dairy-free alternative in dishes like Eggplant Parmesan.

The Unsung Hero of the Vegetable World

When it comes to versatility in the kitchen, eggplant is a true chameleon. This purple-skinned beauty is often overlooked, but it's time to shine a spotlight on it. Brimming with nutrients and a mild flavor that absorbs spices and seasonings like no other, eggplant can be transformed into an array of delectable vegan dishes. Whether you're a long-time vegan or just dipping your toes into plant-based waters, these innovative vegan recipes will elevate the humble eggplant to new culinary heights.

Eggplant Bacon - A Smoky Revolution

Say goodbye to the notion that bacon is off-limits for vegans. With a little creativity and some smoky seasoning, eggplant can be sliced thin, marinated, and baked until crispy. It's perfect for adding a savory crunch to your breakfast plate or as a tantalizing topping on your favorite vegan burger. The key is in the marinade – a blend of soy sauce, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and garlic powder brings this plant-based bacon to life.

Crispy Eggplant Bacon

You will need:

  • large eggplant1 large eggplant
  • soy sauce bottle2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • maple syrup1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • olive oil bottle2 tablespoons olive oil
  • smoked paprika spice1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • garlic powder1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • black pepper1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • liquid smoke bottleLiquid smoke (optional)


  1. Start by preheating your oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Thinly slice the eggplant into bacon-like strips.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together soy sauce, maple syrup, olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  4. If using, add a few drops of liquid smoke to the marinade for a smokier flavor.
  5. Dip each eggplant strip into the marinade, ensuring both sides are well coated.
  6. Place the marinated eggplant strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until crispy.
  8. Let the eggplant bacon cool slightly before serving.


For best results, use a mandoline slicer to get uniformly thin slices of eggplant. The thickness of the slices will greatly affect the texture of the final product, so aim for consistency. If you prefer your eggplant bacon to be less crispy, reduce the baking time accordingly. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the oven or a toaster oven to restore crispiness.

Baba Ganoush - The Creamy Dream

Middle Eastern cuisine offers some of the most aromatic and flavorful dishes that are naturally plant-based. Baba ganoush is no exception. This creamy spread made from roasted eggplants blended with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and spices serves as an appetizer that can steal the show at any dinner party. It's not only succulent but also packed with health benefits from the eggplants' fiber and antioxidants.

Baba Ganoush Preparation: Tips and Tricks

What is the best way to prepare eggplant for baba ganoush?
To prepare eggplant for baba ganoush, start by piercing the skin of the eggplant a few times with a fork. This allows steam to escape while it cooks. Then, roast the eggplant at a high temperature, either in the oven or over an open flame, until the skin is charred and the inside is soft. This process gives baba ganoush its distinctive smoky flavor. Once cooked, let the eggplant cool, then peel off the skin and mash the flesh.
Can I make baba ganoush without a food processor?
Absolutely! While a food processor can give you a smooth consistency quickly, you can also make baba ganoush by mashing the eggplant with a fork or potato masher. This method may result in a chunkier texture, but it will still be delicious. Simply combine the mashed eggplant with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and other seasonings by hand until well mixed.
How do I get a smoky flavor in my baba ganoush without a grill?
If you don't have a grill, you can still achieve a smoky flavor by roasting the eggplant in your oven. To enhance the smokiness, you can add a little bit of smoked paprika or a drop of liquid smoke to the baba ganoush mixture. Alternatively, broiling the eggplant in the oven until the skin is charred can also impart a subtle smoky taste.
What are some creative ways to serve baba ganoush?
Baba ganoush can be served in a variety of ways. It's traditionally served as a dip with pita bread or fresh vegetables. For a creative twist, use it as a spread on sandwiches or wraps, as a topping for bruschetta, or even as a base for a vegan pizza. Garnish with olive oil, pomegranate seeds, or fresh herbs to add extra flavor and a pop of color.
How long can I store homemade baba ganoush and how should I store it?
Homemade baba ganoush can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Ensure it's placed in an airtight container to maintain freshness. If you notice any off smells or flavors, or if the texture changes significantly, it's best to discard it. Baba ganoush can also be frozen for up to 3 months, but keep in mind that the texture may change slightly upon thawing.

Eggplant Parmesan - A Cheesy Delight Sans Dairy

Who can resist the allure of melted cheese atop layers of seasoned tomato sauce and tender vegetables? Veganizing this classic Italian-American dish means swapping out dairy cheese for its nut-based counterpart or even nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor profile. With breadcrumb-coated slices of eggplant baked to perfection, this dish proves that you don't need dairy to achieve comfort food greatness.

Dairy-Free Parmesan Picks

  1. Nutritional Yeast
    Nutritional Yeast - For a cheesy flavor without dairy.
  2. Cashew Parmesan Vegan
    Cashew Parmesan - A blend of cashews, nutritional yeast, and seasonings.
  3. Almond Meal
    Almond Meal - Adds a nice texture and nutty flavor.
  4. Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
    Store-Bought Vegan Cheese - Many varieties melt like dairy cheese.
  5. Homemade Vegan Mozzarella Recipe
    Homemade Vegan Mozzarella - Made with cashews and tapioca starch.
  6. Unsweetened Almond Milk
    Unsweetened Plant-Based Milk - For the breading process.
  7. Vegan Breadcrumbs
    Vegan Breadcrumbs - Check for dairy-free options or make your own.

As we explore these innovative ways to cook with eggplant, remember that each recipe can be adapted based on personal preference or dietary needs. Whether you're looking for new ways to enjoy this versatile vegetable or you're curious about the world of plant-based eggs, it's all about experimentation and enjoyment in your culinary journey.

If you're new to cooking with vegetables like eggplant or looking for more guidance on vegan cooking in general, don't hesitate to check out essential vegan cooking tips for beginners. And if you want more inspiration beyond our purple powerhouse friend here, why not dive into creative dishes with cauliflower, another versatile veggie?

Stay tuned as we continue our culinary adventure with more innovative recipes featuring our beloved eggplant. From hearty casseroles fit for a family feast found in wholesome vegan casserole recipes, to quick meals perfect for busy weeknights such as those among 7 scrumptious vegan Instant Pot recipes, there's an endless array of possibilities waiting to be discovered within the realm of vegan cooking.

Eggplant Involtini: A Roll of Italian Delight

The versatility of eggplant reaches new heights with Eggplant Involtini. This Italian-inspired dish features thinly sliced eggplant rolled with a luscious filling of vegan ricotta, spinach, and herbs, all nestled in a bed of rich tomato sauce. It's a comforting meal that brings the essence of Italy to your dining table without compromising your plant-based principles. For an extra touch of authenticity, top it with homemade vegan parmesan and serve with a side of crusty bread to mop up the delicious sauce.

Eggplant Involtini with Vegan Ricotta

You will need:

  • medium eggplantsMedium eggplants
  • olive oil bottleOlive oil
  • table saltSalt
  • black pepperBlack pepper
  • firm tofuFirm tofu
  • nutritional yeastNutritional yeast
  • lemon juiceLemon juice
  • garlic clovesGarlic cloves
  • fresh basil leavesFresh basil leaves
  • marinara sauceMarinara sauce


  1. Start by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Slice the eggplants lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  3. Brush each slice with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake the eggplant slices for 10-12 minutes until tender.
  5. In a food processor, blend tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper to make the vegan ricotta.
  6. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.
  7. Place a spoonful of vegan ricotta on one end of each eggplant slice, roll it up, and place it seam side down in the dish.
  8. Top the rolls with the remaining marinara sauce.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the tops are slightly browned.


For a gluten-free version, ensure that your marinara sauce is gluten-free. You can also add a sprinkle of vegan cheese on top before baking for an extra cheesy finish. If you have leftovers, they reheat well and can even be enjoyed cold as a snack.

Spicy Sichuan Eggplant: An Asian Cuisine Staple

Prepare your taste buds for a trip to the Sichuan province with this Spicy Sichuan Eggplant recipe. The eggplant is stir-fried to perfection, absorbing the bold flavors of garlic, ginger, and an array of spices including the famed Sichuan peppercorns. This dish is not only packed with flavor but also offers a satisfying texture contrast between the soft eggplant and the crunch from added veggies like bell peppers and green onions. Serve over a bed of fluffy jasmine rice or alongside other Asian-inspired vegan dishes.

Mastering Spicy Sichuan Eggplant: A Vegan Delight

ingredients for Spicy Sichuan Eggplant laid out on a kitchen counter
Gather Ingredients
Start by assembling all the necessary ingredients for your Spicy Sichuan Eggplant dish. You'll need eggplants, garlic, ginger, green onions, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, and Sichuan peppercorns.
sliced eggplant soaking in salted water
Prepare the Eggplant
Wash the eggplants and cut them into batons approximately 2 inches long and 1/2 inch thick. Soak the cut eggplant in salted water for about 10 minutes to remove bitterness, then drain and pat dry with paper towels.
mixing bowl with soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch being stirred together
Make the Sauce
In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch with some water to create a smooth sauce. Set aside for later use.
frying eggplant in a pan until golden brown
Fry the Eggplant
Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant batons in batches and fry until they are golden brown and tender. Remove the eggplant from the pan and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
garlic, ginger, and green onions being stir-fried in a pan
Sauté Aromatics
In the same pan, add minced garlic, ginger, and chopped green onions. Stir-fry for a minute until fragrant, being careful not to burn them.
eggplant being tossed in sauce in a pan
Combine Eggplant and Sauce
Return the fried eggplant to the pan with the aromatics. Pour the sauce over the eggplant and toss everything together. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens and the eggplant is well-coated.
sprinkling Sichuan peppercorns over eggplant dish in pan
Add Sichuan Flair
Sprinkle Sichuan peppercorns over the dish, and give it a final stir. The peppercorns should add a numbing spiciness that's characteristic of Sichuan cuisine.
Spicy Sichuan Eggplant served in a bowl, ready to eat
Serve and Enjoy
Transfer the Spicy Sichuan Eggplant to a serving dish. Garnish with additional green onions if desired. Serve hot as a main dish or a side, and enjoy the bold flavors of this vegan delight.

Eggplant Jerky: A Snack That Packs a Punch

Who said jerky has to be meat-based? This Eggplant Jerky will make you rethink snack time. Marinated in a smoky blend of soy sauce, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and chipotle chili powder, these eggplant strips are dehydrated until chewy and packed with umami flavor. They're perfect for on-the-go snacking or as an addition to hearty casseroles. Plus, they're full of nutrients and completely guilt-free!

Incorporating eggplants into your diet is not only beneficial for its nutritional value but also for its ability to adapt to various cuisines and cooking methods. From the creamy texture in baba ganoush to the meatiness in vegan lasagna layers, eggplants are truly a purple powerhouse in the kitchen.

To continue exploring innovative ways to use this versatile vegetable in your meals, check out our comprehensive collection at Meals Vegan's eggplant recipes. Whether you're craving something Italian like our Eggplant Parmesan or looking for an Asian flair with our Stir-Fried Garlic Eggplants, we've got you covered.

If you're keen on experimenting further with plant-based ingredients that mimic traditional animal products' textures and flavors, dive into our guide on vegan eggs alternatives. And don't forget that other vegetables like cauliflower can also be transformed into delectable vegan meals—our cauliflower recipes section is just one click away!

For those who prefer their meals prepared quickly without sacrificing taste or nutrition, our selection of Instant Pot vegan recipes is perfect for busy weeknights. And let's not overlook the importance of mastering essential skills; enhance your culinary prowess by visiting Lonely Vegan's cooking tips for beginners.

Eggplant Essentials: Prepping, Cooking, and Storing Tips

How do you prepare eggplant before cooking?
Preparing eggplant involves a few simple steps. First, wash the eggplant thoroughly under running water. Then, trim off the stem and the base. Depending on the recipe, you may need to slice, dice, or cube the eggplant. To remove any potential bitterness, especially in larger eggplants, you can salt the pieces and let them sit for about 20-30 minutes before rinsing and patting them dry. This process, known as 'sweating', draws out some of the bitter-tasting compounds.
Is it necessary to peel eggplant before cooking?
Peeling eggplant is not always necessary and often depends on personal preference and the recipe. The skin of a young, small eggplant is typically tender and edible, while the skin of larger, older eggplants can be tougher. If texture is a concern, or if you're making a dish that requires a smoother consistency, like baba ganoush, then peeling the eggplant may be desirable. Otherwise, keeping the skin on adds nutrients and color to your dish.
What are the best ways to cook eggplant to bring out its flavor?
Eggplant can be cooked in a variety of ways to enhance its flavor. Roasting or grilling eggplant can bring out a smoky, rich taste, while sautéing or stir-frying it can make it tender and absorb flavors well. Baking eggplant in dishes like lasagna or moussaka incorporates it into hearty meals. For a crispy texture, you can bread and fry eggplant slices. Each method brings out a different aspect of eggplant's versatile flavor profile.
Can you eat eggplant raw?
Eggplant is typically cooked before eating, as cooking helps to soften its flesh and develop its flavor. While it's not harmful to eat eggplant raw, it can be somewhat bitter and spongy in texture, which may not be appealing to everyone. Additionally, raw eggplant contains solanine, a compound that in large quantities can cause discomfort. However, in the small amounts found in eggplant, it's unlikely to cause harm. If you choose to eat eggplant raw, do so in moderation and ensure it's fresh and properly washed.
How do you store leftover cooked eggplant?
Leftover cooked eggplant should be stored properly to maintain its quality. Allow the eggplant to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Then, refrigerate it and try to use it within 3-5 days for the best quality. If you've made a large batch and want to keep it longer, cooked eggplant can also be frozen. Just be aware that freezing may change the texture, making it best suited for use in cooked dishes upon thawing.

Eggplants are not just another vegetable; they are a canvas for culinary creativity. The recipes featured here are just the beginning—there's an entire world of possibilities when it comes to cooking with this vibrant veggie. So go ahead and experiment in your kitchen! With each new dish you create, you'll discover more reasons to love eggplants and more ways to enjoy your vegan lifestyle.

Nutritional Showdown: Eggplant vs. Common Vegetables

The journey through delightful vegan cuisine doesn't stop here. Continue exploring different textures and flavors by trying out more plant-based recipes at Meals Vegan. Remember that every meal is an opportunity to nourish your body while indulging in delicious food that aligns with your values.

"Eggplants have the power to transform any dish into something extraordinary – embrace it!" - Britney Osinski.
Britney Osinski
writing, photography, travel, social justice

Britney is a dedicated vegan enthusiast and blog writer. She takes delight in sharing her journey through plant-based diets with her readers. Always experimenting with new recipes, she loves to impart her findings and encourage others to experience the many health benefits of veganism.

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