Beautiful eggplant in various vibrant shades of purple and myriad shapes and sizes is all over the Market in August. Delicious in so many different cuisines — creamy, meaty, eggplant is a culinary delight. Here are a trio of simple dishes — a sandwich, a salad, a snack — that will elevate your patio meals to a whole new level.

Pressed Eggplant Sandwich

recipe from Live EAT Learn

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 eggplant
  • zucchini
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • red bell pepper
  • 1 large loaf ciabatta bread
  • 4 Tbsp pesto
  • 4 oz buffalo mozzarella sliced into ¼-inch slabs

Directions:

  1. Prep Veggies: Slice eggplant and zucchini lengthwise into ¼-inch slabs. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and grill about 5 minutes, until soft and slightly charred.
  2. Roast Pepper: Place red bell pepper directly onto grill. Cook 10 to 20 minutes, rotating often, until outside is blackened. Place pepper in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside 20 minutes. Remove skin and seeds from pepper and slice into strips.
  3. Assemble: Slice ciabatta in half lengthwise and spread pesto onto top half. On bottom half, layer on mozzarella, eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper slices. You do not have to use all of each ingredient and you may have some leftovers.
  4. Press: Wrap sandwich tightly with waxed paper. In an area free from breakables, set a few heavy books on top of the sandwich, and allow the sandwich to press about 2 hours. Unwrap sandwich, slice into 4 pieces, and enjoy!

Cook’s Notes: Store leftovers sandwiches in fridge, but best if eaten right away as the ciabatta gets chewier with time. Got leftover veggies? Throw them into some fresh cooked pasta, stir in pesto, and sprinkle with parmesan.

Cayenne Grilled Eggplant with Fresh Tomato Salad

recipe from The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2″ thick slices
  • 1/4 c. plus 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. cayenne (ground red) pepper
  • 1/4 c. packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 3 small fresh hot chiles, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 pt. (about 1 1/2 c.) multicolored cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 c. Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. milk

Directions:

  1. Heat grill on med. Brush eggplant all over with 1⁄4 cup oil. Sprinkle with coriander, cayenne and, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Grill 10 to 12 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk mint, chiles, lemon juice, vinegar, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt until well combined. To vinaigrette, add tomatoes; toss to combine. In a small bowl, stir yogurt and milk.
  3. Arrange eggplant on a large serving platter. Top with tomato mixture. Drizzle with yogurt mixture. Garnish with additional mint leaves, if desired.

Baked Eggplant Fries with Greek Tzatziki Sauce

recipe from The Mediterranean Dish

Ingredients:

For the Eggplant Fries

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • Olive oil 

For the Greek Tzatziki Sauce (optional)

  • 1 Homemade Tzatziki Sauce (recipe)*

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. First, cut the eggplant into 1-inch rounds. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for 20 minutes (the eggplant will sweat out any bitterness). Pat dry.  Now cut the eggplant slices into even-sized batons or “fries.”
  3. Dredge the eggplant fries into the flour. Next, dip them in the eggs, then coat them with a mixture of the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper.
  4. Prepare a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. Coat the wire rack with olive oil. Now arrange the eggplant fries on top of the wire rack. Spray the eggplant fries with a little olive oil from a spray bottle.
  5. Bake in the preheated 425 degrees F oven for 10 minutes or until the eggplant fries are golden and crisp.
  6. Make the Greek Tzatziki Sauce.
  7. Serve the eggplant fries hot or warm with the Tzatziki sauce or a side of marinara or any dip you like. Enjoy!

Cook’s Notes: You can prepare the Greek Tzatziki Sauce a day in advance, if you like. Simply store in an airtight container in the fridge. Before serving, give it a quick stir to refresh. Or save yourself some time and pick up tzatziki in the grocery store or, better yet, get Me and Dippy McGee‘s version at the Market.

Check out our recipe archive for more great recipes with awesome eggplant.