I almost feel like it’s cheating to do another “caprese” recipe, because let’s face it: ANYTHING you stuff with tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella is going to be delicious. But when I made these charred eggplants the other night for dinner, they were so ridiculously easy (in addition to being delish) that I knew I couldn’t keep it to myself. Bonus points that they satisfy eggplant parmesan cravings in a mostly carb-free way. Keep scrolling, and let me know in the comments if you give these aubergines a try.
*photos by kristen kilpatrick
These were inspired by the undeniably delicious flavors in eggplant parmesan, but instead of the breading, eggs, and globs of cheese that the original calls for, these guys keep it light. Whole eggplants are thrown on the grill (or a grill pan) until charred and caramelized, then stuffed with just a little of those classic caprese fillings.
Also, did I mention that they’re almost embarrassingly easy? (By the way, our team just did an in-office test and failed across the board at the spelling of “embarrassingly.” Quiz a co-worker who prides herself on spelling skills, and watch her squirm.)
Ever since I discovered how much fun it is to stuff different fillings into eggplants, I’ve been experimenting with various filling combos, and I think this one is officially crowd favorite. And at your next dinner party, your vegetarian and gluten-free friends are going to be so happy that you made them a main course that actually feels like a main course. Keep scrolling for the recipe.
ps – If you’re as big of a fan as I am of anything with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, check out some of my other favorites:
- 2 long purple eggplants
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella balls
- 1 bunch fresh basil, torn
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- aged balsamic vinegar
- sea salt
- Halve eggplants lengthwise, and score one strip down the center, then a couple cross-hatch patterns. Brush with olive oil & minced garlic, then sprinkle salt.
- Heat a grill to medium heat, and grill for 20 minutes per side with the lid closed, until skin starts getting really soft and eggplant is tender throughout. (Alternatively, you can use a grill pan on the stove: Char the eggplant for 5 minutes per side, then transfer to oven for 20 minutes until eggplant is soft.)
- Flip to face up on grill, then stuff with halved or quartered cherry tomatoes, halved mozzarella balls, & another drizzle of olive oil. Close grill until cheese melts (or pop back in oven), then remove, top with basil, pine nuts, balsamic vinegar & sea salt. Eat!