Roasted Eggplant – oven baked cubes

Roasted Eggplant – oven baked cubes

The best way to make Roasted Eggplant is to cut them into large pieces, then bake in the oven at a high temperature so it seals the surface, making the eggplant cubes plump and juicy on the inside, with gorgeous caramelisation on the outside.

No sad, shrivelled up eggplant around here!

Roasted Eggplant

The quickest way to elevate (almost) any vegetable is to roast it. And eggplant is no exception! It’s nothing interesting when raw – pretty tasteless actually.

But when you give it a good blast in a hot oven, it completely transforms. That moment when you bite through the gorgeous caramelised edges and the juicy flesh inside bursts in your mouth… UGH! So good!

Roasted Eggplant – oven baked cubes

Todays recipe is for roasting eggplant cubes. The two other common ways to roast eggplant is cut in half (like boats – here’s a recipe) or sliced into rounds (see this recipe).

What you need for roasted eggplant

Cross my heart, you don’t need anything more than salt, pepper and olive oil to roast eggplant. The caramelisation adds tons of flavour!

Roasted Eggplant – oven baked cubes

Eggplant roasting problems!

A common problem people run into when roasting eggplant cubes is that they turn into mush before they caramelise. Been there, done that!

The key to fix this is simple:

  1. cut into large pieces – smaller pieces cook too quickly and turn into mush before the outside has a chance to caramelise; and
  2. roast at a high temperature so the surface gets “sealed” and holds in the juicy inside.

The other problem some people have is that when they go to flip or serve the eggplant cubes, the caramelised skin comes off. This happens if:

  1. you’ve skimped on the oil; or
  2. the flip you use doesn’t have a sharpish edge.

So if you’re a roasted eggplant newbie, parchment / baking paper is highly recommended – this will ensure you don’t lose any of that caramelised skin! (Seriously, it will make you cry if it all gets stuck on the pan)


How to roast eggplant

So with that said and done, here is how to cut and roast eggplant:

Roasted Eggplant – oven baked cubes

Peeling – if you’re bothered by eggplant skin (which I am not – I don’t find it at all chewy), peel “zebra tripes” down the eggplant like this. If you don’t leave at least some skin on, then the eggplant cubes are prone to collapsing and turning into mush – you need some skin to hold it together.

Bitterness & salting – In the past, the standard preparation method for eggplant including salting the eggplant to remove bitterness. The eggplant of today has largely had the bitterness bred out of it so unless you have a very old, very large one, you shouldn’t have this problem. I never have, and I only salt eggplant for specific recipes (like Greek Moussaka).

However, if you can’t get your head around cooking eggplant without salting it, here’s how: sprinkle the cubed eggplant with 1 tsp salt, toss, leave in colander for 30 minutes. Rinse then thoroughly pat dry, toss with oil and pepper (NO SALT), roast per recipe.

Select eggplants that are firm but have a bit of give, and feel heavy for their size (light = dried out inside).

Roasted Eggplant – oven baked cubes

Serving Roasted Eggplant

I truly mean it when I say that eggplant roasted with just salt and pepper is so good, you will be completely happy to eat it plain. And that’s certainly the way I serve it most of the time. It’s so juicy, you don’t need a sauce!

But if you want to jazz it up a bit, here are a few ideas:

  • Thyme (my favourite, pictured below) – 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves sprinkled over. It goes so well with roasted eggplant, makes it taste almost buttery.
  • Parsley, chives or green onions – for touch of freshness and colour (not so much flavour)
  • Lemon juice – squeeze of fresh lemon juice (also great paired with thyme).
  • Balsamic vinegar (tiny drizzle) – pop of tartness is terrific! OR drizzle of balsamic glaze.
  • Dollop of yogurt – creamy yogurt pairs really well with the juicy eggplant flesh.
  • Pomegranate – plus yogurt. Looks spectacular!
  • Sprinkle of parmesan – reminiscent of Eggplant Parmesan

Roasted Eggplant – oven baked cubes

More ways to use roasted eggplant!

And a few other ideas for ways to use roasted eggplant:

  • Piled on toast slathered with butter (or ricotta) – try this crusty homemade bread;
  • With a basic tomato pasta sauce and finished with a generous sprinkling of parmesan;
  • Stirred into curries (the roasting adds so much better flavour!) – try any of these curries but especially Thai Red Curry or Green Curry, this Coconut Curry Sauce; this epic Massaman Lamb Shank Curry. Just stir it in towards the end – it will absorb flavour fast and it will collapse if simmered in the sauce for too long
  • Stuffed into an omelette;
  • Tossed through a pasta salad;
  • Stirred into a stew or soup, like this quick Chicken Stew, this Chickpea Lamb Shawarma Soup, this hearty Beef and Vegetable Soup, Minestrone Soup, Lentil Soup (seriously amazing!) or this Brazilian Coconut Chickpea Stew.

OR in big, juicy lentil salad piled high with roasted eggplant. Don’t run for the hills at the thought of lentils – you haven’t tried MY lentil salad yet! It is not your usual bland and boring lentil salad, that’s for sure! – Nagi x


Watch how to make it

Roasted Eggplant – oven baked cubes

Print

Oven roasted eggplant (aubergine)

Recipe video above. This is a recipe for how to roast eggplant cubes so it’s beautifully caramelised on the outside and juicy inside, rather than turning into a soggy mush on the baking tray, or shrivelled up and dismal! The key is: large pieces and high oven temp.

Eggplant is actually really bland when raw, but it completely transforms when roasted. You don’t need anything more than salt and pepper, but I’ve added some suggestions!

Course Sides, Vegetables
Cuisine Western
Keyword baked aubergine, roasted eggplant
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 – 5 as a side
Author Nagi

Ingredients

  • 700g/ 1.2 lb eggplants (2 medium), aka aubergine
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt (kosher / cooking salt, or 1/4 tsp table salt)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 240°C / 450°F (220°C fan).
  • Line a tray with parchment/baking paper (optional – recommended for first timers so you don’t lose the caramelised surface).
  • Cut eggplant into large cubes – 3 cm / 1.2″. Place in large bowl, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper.
  • Toss well, spread on tray, roast 20 minutes. Turn, roast for a further 10 minutes – edges should be caramelised, soft inside, but they’re not shrivelled up and dismal.
  • Transfer to serving plate. Delicious served plain, but see below for some finishing options.

FINISHING OPTIONS:

  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (my favourite!), drizzle of fresh lemon juice, parsley, chives or green onions (for touch of freshness and colour, not so much flavour), tiny drizzle of balsamic vinegar (pop of tartness is terrific! OR drizzle of balsamic glaze), dollop of yogurt (creamy yogurt pairs really well with the juicy eggplant flesh).

Notes

Peeling – if you’re bothered by eggplant skin (which I am not – I don’t find it at all chewy), peel “zebra tripes” down the eggplant like this. If you don’t leave at least some skin on, then the eggplant cubes are prone to collapsing and turning into mush – you need some skin to hold it together.

Bitterness & salting – In the past, the standard preparation method for eggplant including salting the eggplant to remove bitterness. The eggplant of today has largely had the bitterness bred out of it so unless you have a very old, very large one, you shouldn’t have this problem. I never have.

However, if you can’t get your head around cooking eggplant without salting it, here’s how: sprinkle the cubed eggplant with 1 tsp salt, toss, leave in colander for 30 minutes. Rinse then thoroughly pat dry, toss with oil and pepper (NO SALT), roast per recipe.

Select eggplants that are firm but have a bit of give, and feel heavy for their size (light = dried out inside).

 

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Roasted Eggplant – oven baked cubes

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