Grilled Eggplant With Fresh Tomato Salad

grilled eggplant

I can’t think of a more enjoyable salad to make during the warm summer months ahead than this grilled eggplant with fresh tomato salad.

It’s fun to serve for picnics, BBQ’s and any of your upcoming parties you’re planning. All I can say is that whenever I make this and lay it out on a buffet table people gravitate right towards it, not only is it super delicious, it has a pretty presentation and as an added bonus it holds up very well at room temperature.

charred eggplant

Grilling eggplant is so easy, just salt, pepper and olive oil both sides, place on the grill until tender with nice looking grill marks.

I like to look for medium size more slender eggplant rather than the rounder fatter kind, to me there’s less seeds, less bitterness. I also like to peel the skin off in strips, using a vegetable peeler go around the whole eggplant lengthwise making “zebra stripes”. If you take the skin completely off, the eggplant slices collapse and have no structure.

You can even grill up the eggplant the day before, then all you have to do is make your salad and assemble it all on serving day.

eggplant and tomato salad

Fan your grilled eggplant unto a pretty platter and then proceed to make your fresh tomato salad. Mine consisted of sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, red onions, olives, feta cheese, parsley, basil and olive oil. Here’s were you can add your own twist on it, you can replace the feta with any special cheese you like, I’ve changed it up many times myself by using provolone chunks, fresh mozzarella chunks, or even those cute little mozzarella pearls

grilled salad

Once you make this grilled eggplant salad I think it will become a regular for you throughout the summer months.



Cedar Planked Eggplant Parmigiana

planked eggplant

Here’s a fun and unique twist on the classic way you prepare eggplant parmigiana. First the eggplant slices are grilled then layered and stacked together with the sauce and cheese and placed onto a smoky charred cedar plank.

It’s not fried in the traditional way so it’s less messy and not so heavy, preparing it this way is cleaner and lighter for hot summer days plus it’s a fun presentation.

grilled vegetables

The eggplant is brushed on both sides with olive oil cooking them slightly firm but still soft when grilling. I never waste grill space when I’m out there, I like to take whatever veggies I have on hand and cook them up all at once.

Another fun way to present vegetables is my cedar planked portobellos stuffed with summer veggies.

oil drizzle

Using cedar planks that you slightly char on both sides beforehand infuses the eggplant stacks with a light smokiness.

grilled eggplant

This technique was developed by Steven Raichlen with my version being slightly adapted. He used a smoked tomato sauce, I used a thick marinara. You can also sub out the cheese of your choice. I used fresh mozzarella but in the original recipe burrata was used.

The crunch on top was done with a small amount of breadcrumbs mixed with olive oil and grated parmigiano cheese, which I think gave it a nice finishing touch, but if you want it low carb just eliminate it.

For all you eggplant parmigiana lovers, here’s your new summer version!

Cedar Planked Eggplant Parmigiana
A unique and tasty twist on traditional eggplant parmigiana
  • 1 large eggplant, you'll need 12 slices to serve 4
  • fresh mozzarella, 8 slices
  • 2 cups or so of chunky marinara, homemade or store bought
  • ¾ cup of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • ¾ cup homemade bread crumbs or panko
  • fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • cedar planks
  1. Soak your cedar planks for 1 hour then pat dry and set aside.
  2. Then char the planks on one side for about 2 minutes on direct grilling long enough to darken and smoke but not burn, set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, trim the top and bottom off the eggplant, then with a vegetable peeler, remove every other strip lengthwise.
  4. Cut the eggplant crosswise ¼ inch thick.
  5. Brush olive oil on each side then season with salt and pepper then grill until slightly firm but softened.
  6. Transfer the grilled eggplant slices to a rimmed sheet pan and let cool.
  7. Now assemble the parmigiana onto the smoky planks.
  8. Layer like this... 1 slice eggplant then sauce spread on top, next 1 slice of fresh mozzarella, a sprinkling of the grated cheese and a few basil leaves.
  9. Repeat the second layer ending with an eggplant slice on the top, a dollop of sauce and topped off with the breadcrumbs then more grated cheese and a good drizzle of olive oil.
  10. Place the planked stacks of parmigana onto the grill using indirect heat until the cheese melts nice and gooey and the tops are browned, 10 or 15 minutes.
  11. Serve on their planks.