Sweet & Tangy Grilled Eggplant Recipe
Eggplant lovers will rave about this grilled eggplant recipe with a sweet and tangy glaze. The beautiful bold colors make this an impressive side dish for any BBQ or picnic.
I’ve been making this eggplant dish all my life. My mother called it “candied” eggplant and it showed up in many company and family dinners. She broiled it and used a bottled Catalina dressing instead of making it from scratch.
Honestly, the taste is very close, so don’t be afraid to use that shortcut. I did until recently when I discovered how easy it was to quasi-replicate Catalina or French dressing with just a few ingredients. Either way, this eggplant side dish is really tasty, looks gorgeous and is simple to make.
Try serving it with Cedar Planked Chicken, Lemon Panko-Crusted Salmon, Mediterranean-Style Marinated Chicken or a simple grilled steak.
Other ways to use this grilled eggplant recipe
Instead of an eggplant side dish:
- use the eggplant as a topping for chicken burgers or beef burgers
- add it to a Charcuterie platter
- include it in our party salad with grilled vegetables and quinoa
How to Choose an Eggplant
When choosing a dark purple eggplant, bigger is not better. Larger more mature eggplants tend to be more bitter and have more seeds. Look for an eggplant that is firm (with just slight give to the touch), shiny, smooth and not wrinkled. The stem should be green.
Tailor To Your Taste
As always, feel free to change things up a bit. For example:
- Use rosemary or thyme instead of oregano.
- If you don’t like eggplant, replace or add other vegetables with the glaze such as zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, red onion, asparagus. Some will take less cooking time.
- Add some heat with sriracha or chili garlic sauce.
- Replace the glaze ingredients with store-bought Catalina or French dressing. I do this sometimes (shhh).
- Instead of grilling, brush both sides with glaze and broil the eggplant for a few minutes on each side.
- I almost always make this ahead for a dinner party. It can sit on the counter for hours and be served at room temperature or warmed in the oven or for a few seconds in the microwave before serving.
Other eggplant recipes you might like
Try one of these recipes if you love eggplant.
- 30 minute easy eggplant parmesan
- roasted sweet potatoes, peppers, eggplant and apples (a reader favorite)
- not your classic eggplant dip
Rate this recipe here
Sweet & Tangy Grilled Eggplant Recipe
- 1 medium eggplant
- oil spray (e.g. Pam)
Glaze (Note 1)
- 2 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoon Ketchup
- 1 1/2 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar (or white)
- 1 tablespoon Maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch Each: garlic powder, salt, pepper
- HEAT GRILL to medium high (425-450F).
- MAKE GLAZE: Whisk all ingredients for glaze in small bowl or measuring cup. Note 1.
- PREPARE EGGPLANT FOR GRILLING: Cut off stem and bottom of eggplant (discard), then cut eggplant horizontally into 1/2 inch slices. Place rounds on pan in single layer. Brush each eggplant round with glaze on side facing up (I use a pastry. brush). Spray well with oil to avoid sticking on grill.
- GRILL EGGPLANT: Place eggplant, glaze side down, on grill. Glaze the plain side facing up. Spray with oil. Close lid and grill for 3 minutes. For cross-hatched grill marks, do a quarter turn of each round and continue to grill for another minute. Turn eggplant over. Close lid and grill the other side for 3-4 minutes. (Note 2 – to broil)
- SERVE: hot or at room temperature. If you have a bit of glaze left over, brush top side of eggplant again. (This is optional).
- Shortcut for Glaze: You can substitute the homemade glaze with Catalina or French dressing for a super quick shortcut.
- To broil (instead of grilling): You can broil the eggplant for 3-4 minutes on each side on a pan lined with foil (for easy cleanup).
- Make Ahead: The grilled eggplant can sit on the counter for hours and be served at room temperature. It it can be warmed in the oven (or for a few seconds in the microwave) before serving.
This grilled eggplant recipe, originally published in 2018, has been updated with new information and pictures. Enjoy!
ohhh sooo good. Just ate a whole (small) eggplant by myself.
Good for you Laurie. Just a simple and yummy recipe. Glad you liked it. 🙂
Why not glaze both sides before putting the eggplant on the grill? Using an oil spray on the grill can produce flares.
Hi Gary, you can spray both sides at once with the oil, but the oil spray may mix with the glaze and not be quite as effective (for not sticking to the grill) when flipped over. Since the glaze has oil in it, you might be fine with that method. I just like to be extra sure about not sticking. If you spray the second side right on the grill, I find there is no problem with flare ups if you spray close to the eggplant. Good idea to be careful though!
Wondering if you’ve ever salted/brined the eggplant beforehand?
Hi Mateo. No, I don’t bother salting the eggplant beforehand. I find if you buy smaller eggplants, they have less seeds and bitterness is not an issue. Plus you’re putting on a sweet glaze. Hope that helps.
Even better than the catalina.
Thanks! I think so too!