Eggplant is in season late summer and fall at the Market. This recipe makes an elegant side dish or a vegan entree that is not only exceptionally tasty, it’s also really easy to make. The simple flavorings make this seasonal veggie really stand out.

Garlic and Herb Eggplant

recipe by Food Network Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium eggplants, peeled and diced into 1 1/2 pieces (about 3 pounds)*
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Directions:

  1. Toss the eggplant in a large colander with a generous sprinkle of salt. Set the colander over a bowl to drain and top with a second bowl filled with water or a few heavy cans to press the liquid out of the eggplant. Set aside for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
  2. Spread the eggplant out onto a baking sheet or large cutting board and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add half of the eggplant and half of the pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally until tender and lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add half of the garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is soft, about 1 minute. Remove from the skillet to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining oil, eggplant, crushed red pepper and garlic. Off the heat, add the reserved eggplant back to the skillet, stir in the parsley and mint and season with salt and pepper.

*Other eggplant varieties work just as well like the long slender Asian, the rounder Bianca, or the tiny fairy tale.

This dish is fabulous with grilled meats and a green salad or caprese plate; or with my favorite chicken or pork cutlets and pasta tossed with cherry tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. As a vegetarian/vegan entree, its meaty texture and mouth-feel make it super satisfying, and it pairs well with grains like brown rice or couscous, and sides like panzanella (tomato bread salad) or cucumber onion salad.

For more exciting eggplant recipes, check our recipe archive.