Posted on

Healthy Grilled Eggplant with Italian Salsa Recipe

Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, which includes peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. Eggplant is high in antioxidants and fiber. Select fruits (yep, eggplants are fruits!) that have some weight for their size.

Look for the skin to be firm, shiny and blemish-free. You can find eggplants in the traditional dark purple-black color, as well as lavender and light green.

Try the other color varieties for a fun change. I like to purchase eggplant and prepare it the same day for maximum freshness. Look for fruits that are firm and spring back to shape after a slight squeeze. Eggplants are versatile. They can be grilled. They can be served raw. Or try it on the very best slow cooker!

This recipe can be served as a side dish to grilled steak or you can prepare as I do: the grilled eggplant is the main event for a delicious and different vegetarian meal!

I try to find younger, smaller eggplant for this recipe to avoid any bitterness.

Grilled Eggplant Recipe

  • 2 eggplants
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Finely ground sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Prepare your outdoor grill by cleaning and use medium high heat. Wash eggplant thoroughly. Cut off blossom and vine ends. Cut in half lengthwise. Brush on organic extra virgin olive on both sides of the eggplant and season with salt and pepper to your taste. I am generous with the pepper for a spicier dish. Place on the pre-heated grill, cut side down.

Grill on cut side for 4 minutes and then flip to the skin side for 4 more minutes. You want to see grill marks and the cut side take on a lovely, light golden brown appearance.

You may use a panini press for convenient indoor grilling any time of the year. When you use a panini press, you do not have to flip the eggplant, simply remove when the eggplant take on the light golden brown appearance.

But the kicker is the Italian Salsa. Prepare the salsa before grilling the eggplant — then you’ll be ready to dig in!

Italian Salsa Recipe

  • 4 Roma or other Italian-type tomatoes
  • ΒΌ cup fresh mozzarella, cut into half-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut chiffonade*, or Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice from half of a lime
  • Finely ground sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Let all ingredients sit for 10 minutes so the flavors can marry and gain some complexity. You may make the salsa without the salt if you are watching your sodium intake. Serve as an accompaniment to the grilled eggplant, or use as a spread on any Italian bread.

*To chiffonade basil, simply lay the leaves flat on top of each other to create a stack. Roll leaves into one roll, short end to short end, just like a tiny cigar. Then cut the roll as you would a jelly roll. This will result in long, thin strips of basil that look – and taste – beautiful in the salsa.