roasted eggplant with tomatoes and mint

One of the things I’ve been fiddling around with last year is the idea of making bruschetta without, you know, bread. I shared a Thanksgiving-inspired version last November, but was itching for a late summer spin on it when I created this. I’m the kind of person who would happily eat appetizers for dinner any day — I’m pretty sure if I had nobody else to feed, I’d have subsisted on nothing but pan con tomate, blistered padrons, pink wine and Gossip Girl season one reruns the entire month of August — but it doesn’t really cut it with a family of three.

ricotta salata, salty love

Instead, I spend a lot of time throwing things together for the sake of being a grown-up, a grown-up who doesn’t really have an excuse (such as, she hates cooking or doesn’t know how to cook, etc.) not to make dinner but still forgot to make it again, and quite often, these meals involve some element of roasting the bleep out of well-seasoned vegetables high heat cookery. For the kid, that usually suffices but we grownups get bored more easily, and it’s from that boredom that I started making small, finely chopped and loudly flavored salads and spooning them on top of my roasted vegetable du jour. In this case, it’s eggplant with a Mediterranean-ish topping. We found it completely addictive and less heavy somehow than eating the same on pieces of toast.

alone in the kitchen with an eggplant

This recipe also shows up in the September issue of Everyday Food magazine. One sweltering morning in July, a team of people showed up to my apartment to take pictures of me making this dish. It was kind of an unusual experience, to say the least, as my apartment is tiny, my kitchen is tinier and while the sum total of things I use to take pictures for this site are 1. A counter. 2. A window. 3. A camera, it turns out things are a tad more elaborate among professionals.

meta! they brought my photodoing something fancypros iron their linens, hehmaking my messes look artful

This probably explains why magazine photos are consistently shiny, pretty and well-executed and I get away with ones that are more… “rustic”! So I thought I’d share some neurotic drivel stories about that day, and please, please feel free to skip this part if you understandably never wanted to hear about my lack of fashion sense. First, I should probably explain something that might already be obvious from the lack of photos of me on this site: man, do I hate having my picture taken! I totally panic. “Cameras steal souls, don’t they?” my face always appears to say as I smiled awkwardly. They offered to send over hair and makeup people and I was like, “Oh, ha ha, that’s too high maintenance for me.” [You know, because having your photo in a hugely circulated magazine is a great time to show off how low-maintenance you can be!] I vow to be nothing but high-maintenance from this point forward in fact, I’d like someone to come over right now and make my hair look pretty. Wait, it doesn’t work like that? Drat.

oh, there i am

The second thing I should probably explain is that [shockingly] I’m also not exactly a fashion plate. Sometimes I dream about hiring a stylist because I’m so bad at shopping for myself (the last time I counted, had six denim and four corduroy skirts in my closet) but then I realized they’d probably talk me into buying a ridiculously overpriced orange shawl that I’d never actually wear, and I go back to shopping for myself, likely for more denim skirts. Why am I sharing this sad tidbit? Because the day of the shoot, I wore one of my typically innovative outfits (ha) to greet the team at the door and was met with a “So! Let’s go to your closet and pick out an outfit for the shoot, something colorful.” I nervously led them to my closet where they, to their credit, didn’t say a word about the corduroy skirt situation but picked out the one single solitary bright, colorful item within (a dress) and then asked which apron I wanted to wear. It turned out that I also do not own an apron, or I do, but I didn’t know where it was because I hadn’t used it in so many years which sent this team on a 9 a.m apron hunt through Lower Manhattan. What can I say? I am really awesome at this.


At least the cooking part went smoothly. I constantly talk to myself when I cook — “Really, Deb? Are you sure it was a good idea to see if the oven was hot yet by touching the rack with your fingers?” and “Get back here!” to thin slivers of scallion that always roll onto the floor — so I pretty much did what I always do but looked less crazy doing so. Eh, mostly. I hope you’ll find this as easy to throw together as I did. If you have a grill, you should totally turn off your oven and use it instead to cook the eggplant. If it’s suddenly, unfairly fall where you are (pout, NYC, pout) the oven might be more welcome. Pretty dresses, paparazzi and tear sheets are totally optional, but it turns out, are hardly a bad time.

roasted eggplant with tomatoes and mint

More: Everyday Food has run the interview part of the story over here, if you’d like to read it and if you’d like to hear it — like, from a fancy recording studio and everything, which was surprisingly fun — you can do so via the Everyday Food App, though I think you then have to pay for the issue. Also, I will be on the Everyday Food Radio Show on Martha Stewart Living Radio on SiriusXM on Monday, September 12th at 12:15; I’ll be talking about food blogging. Finally, I’ve always joked that because I’m a blogger, I don’t ever have to leave my sofa but despite this, I actually do go do things from time to time. I’ve started an Events page (there’s a link to it right over there in the sidebar) where I’ll try to list where I’ll be when if you want to come and say hi. This also allows me to keep this here page focused on food and recipes, as I like it best.

One year ago: Grape Focaccia with Rosemary
Two years ago: Chocolate Pudding Pie
Three years ago: Raspberry Breakfast Bars
Four years ago: Hoisin Barbecue Sauce and Lemon Layer Cake
Five years ago: Key Lime Tartlets

Roasted Eggplant with Ricotta and Mint

This is like eggplant bruschetta, except the eggplant is the bruschetta, topped with a Mediterranean summer salsa of a salad.

Feta is a great alternative to ricotta salata. If you’re put off by the sharpness of fresh onion, pour the red wine vinegar over it in a dish, and let it sit for 10 minutes, tossing it from time to time, before adding it to the salad. No need to add additional vinegar if you do. If you don’t like capers, you can substitute green or black olives. If you don’t care for mint, you can substitute flat-leaf parsley. If you don’t care for eggplant, well, thank you for reading along anyway! Ahem, or brush pitas or flatbreads with olive oil, grill them and dollop this salad/salsa on top.

Makes about 4 appetizer/salad portions, assuming people will eat two rounds each.

1 to 2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds eggplant (about 2 medium), in 3/4- to 1-inch slices
2 ounces (1/2 cup) chopped or crumbled ricotta salata
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
3 seeded, diced medium tomatoes (1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet generously with olive oil, about 1 to 2 tablespoons. Arrange eggplant rounds in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast, without disturbing, for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully flip each piece: the undersides should be blistery, dark and a bit puffy and should release from the pan with no effort. If they’re not, let it cook longer. Once flipped, sprinkle them with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper and return the pan to the oven for another 10 to 12 minutes or so, until the undersides match the tops.

[Alternatively, on the grill: Brush eggplant slices with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill eggplant slices until slightly charred and tender when pierced with knife, about 5 to 7 minutes per side.]

Meanwhile, mix your ricotta, capers, onion, tomatoes, mint, vinegar and remaining 4 teaspoons olive oil in a small bowl. Taste for seasoning; ricotta salata tends to be quite salty so I don’t find that this dish needs more than a pinch of salt, if that. Add more vinegar, if desired. Add freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

When the eggplant discs are done, arrange them on a serving platter. Scoop a spoonful of the salad over each round. Eat immediately.

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244 comments on roasted eggplant with tomatoes and mint

  1. Hahaha, this made me laugh. The kitchen is the last place I worry about how I look. Actually, since my SAHM stint began in April, there are few places where I actually *do* worry about it.

    That said, this is on my Thursday-night-me-time list to cook. You see, dear boyfriend is out on Thursday nights, which means I get to have my appetizer dinner and Bravo reality show marathons once a week. Last week dinner was babba ganoush. Tonight, it’s nectarine brown butter buckle. Baking as we speak/I have a one sided conversation with your blog. :)

  2. Deanna B

    I wish I could get away with just eating appetizers (or something with eggs) for every meal… I tend to get overruled though. I love the idea of a bread free bruschetta, especially since there is no worry about it getting soggy, and I would be willing to bet it tastes great at room temperature. I’ve been doing the same kind of idea for with potatoes, sundried tomatoes, olives, capers, basil, and mizithra cheese. I can’t wait to try this with the eggplants and tomatoes from my garden.

  3. i LOVE using roasted eggplant instead of ‘pan’ :). topping it with brushetta sounds amazing! i usually broil my eggplant (cut into cookies, without any oil) for 7-8 minutes and eat them like cookies or pancakes drizzled with maple syrup :). congrats on being showcased in everyday food!

  4. I just got the latest issue of Everyday Food in my mailbox today and was so excited to see you in it. I can only imagine how intimidating it must be to have a team of people come to your house to photograph you. You really look great and this recipe looks fantastic. Can’t wait to try it!

  5. Sharilyn Unthank

    So enjoyed reading this….laughing all the way! Have loved your blog and the many things I have made from your recipes and can not even begin to tell you how much I have enjoyed watching your beautiful baby boy grow into a little man. You make it all look easy and so much fun! Thanks and will look forward to meeting you someday at an event!

  6. At least you had a dress! I have a closet full of the old college hoodies and torn sweats. Embarrassing. Love your answer to “Why did you start the blog?” because that’s exactly why I always come here. Always wonderful reliable recipes. Good luck on Martha! I look forward to listening.

  7. Had you posted this before I found out about my gluten intolerance, I would have thought you were crazy for wanting to make bruschetta without bread. But today? Today I love you. The eggplant in my fridge loves you, too.

  8. Can’t wait to try this. I love bruschetta, however the bread gives it a high calorie count. Eggplant, as a stand-in for the bread, is a fantastic idea! I’m also thinking about using herbes de Provence in place of mint. Yum! Thank you for your post.

    Even though this is my first ever comment on your site, I’ve long been inspired by your excellent work!

  9. Harriet

    I made the sweet potato version last fall, and I loved it– I’ve been thinking about it more and more these days, now that it’s getting cold again. Eggplant is my very favorite food. I can’t wait to try this! I’ve always wanted a breadless bruschetta–the bread often just dilutes the delicious topping, in my opinion.

  10. I like the idea of bruschetta minus bread! Your roasted eggplant looks pretty with the diced tomatoes perched on top. Thanks for sharing your experience with having a magazine come to your home- so neat!

  11. Another fabulous vegetarian recipe – wow, this is beautiful. Eggplant is an absolute favourite and this looks delicious! I will definitely be trying this one – so inspiring! It’s something I’d never have thought to do myself. Thanks very much for sharing

  12. Yes! I can’t stop making dishes with mint! I just made wraps with roasted red peppers and minted goat cheese yesterday, and I can’t get over this minted risotto with peas and asparagus I kept making in the spring!

  13. Alex

    Thank you! my CSA is overflowing with eggplant right now and i’ve been trying various things — parmesean, caponata, plain roasting, your pizza with the provelone, marinated, ratatouille’s ratatouille, etc — that have gotten tired. for me its more endless than the summer squash. nice idea. and love the carb replacement.

  14. Katie

    I would have no decent clothes left without my apron! With a kitchen as small as yours, my cooking style would require two (one for the front and one for the back). But maybe I’ve got it all wrong – maybe smaller spaces require tidier cooking. :)

  15. I usually either hate eggplant dishes or reaaaally love them. This sounds so different – I’ve never thought of adding the mint. I’ll definitely have to try this out, thank you!

  16. My Italian Grandfather loved melanzane (eggplant), so it always reminds me of him. We don’t get ricotta salata readily over here, so I wonder if feta may be an alright substitution?
    As for high-maintenance, I am in the employ of 5 high-maintenance 4Foots – I don’t have time to be high maintenance myself :))

  17. Ami

    Hello… I love love your blog. The recipes are doable and always garner me lots and lots of compliments at work. I love eggplant (especially roasted). It fills me up and I can claim that it was low cal and hence part of my diet. In fact, I was thinking yesterday of how I should just buy some soon. With this recipe, I know what my next stop is going to be.

    I saw one of your old posts [Sept 3, 2006) ( i discovered your blog fairly recently and am catching up on the last few years) and saw that, at that time, you were looking for the perfect recipe for a baingan bharta. Did you ever find one??

  18. Lakewinds

    Please write a book with cooking, including the receipes, n photos, and anything else, including this eggplant episode. I know it would be so clever and be a best seller.

  19. Hello Deb, congrats on the feature in Everyday Food. Thanks a ton for that tip to budding bloggers. Makes me feel so much better hearing those words from you.
    Love the eggplant brushetta as an appetizer. I am almost sure there are no Indian recipes that allow eggplant in appetizers, or maybe just in fritters, or may i am not so sure anymore. Anyway this one’s easy and colourful and i liked how you think of all the substitutions possible, so i will be substituing the capers with olives for my version.

  20. This sounds like a great idea, I would love to live on antipasti and tapas only. Now I’m asking myself why I don’t. I have no excuses, I don’t have kids… I’m thinking about using zucchini instead of eggplant, or using a mix of both.

  21. I love your blog, Deb! Also love the idea of a bread-less bruschetta, the picture of a team of people running around lower Manhattan looking for an apron, and getting to see you in your kitchen on Everyday Food! Can’t wait to try this recipe!
    I think I’d faint if a team of people insisted upon looking through my closet. I too have a disproportionate number of denim skirts and feel much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. Sounds like you handled it with grace and humor!!

  22. Congratulations on the magazine feature Deb! What a great experience it must have been, having all those people around, photographing you while you’re doing your thing in the kitchen. Was Jacob around?

    You look so pretty in that photo seen through your laptop!

    I love eggplant cooked in every way possible. Your idea though for an eggplant bruschetta is perfect.

    1. deb

      Magda — Alex took Jacob to the park but due to the aforementioned apron delay, we weren’t done when they got home. I wasn’t sure how Jacob would react to all of these strangers and not having immediate access to his basket of stuffed monkeys, but he LOVED it. He grabbed his toy guitar and started playing them a song and then he lifted his shirt and showed everyone his potbelly. He ends up in a picture; I don’t think the photographer could resist him either.

      Ami — I didn’t, but I also stopped looking for a few years. We used to get it from this great place that began to go downhill and the puddles of separated oil increased on top until we stopped ordering it. I need to get back it!

  23. Eggplant, tomato and mint is a totally classic combo in Israel and I’ve grown obsessed with it! And, being of Italian-American origin bruschetta was one of the first “grown-up” things I taught myself to make and have been in love ever since. I can’t wait to try this! Also, I love the whole story of the camera crew coming into your apartment. I probably would have hidden under something and needed to be coaxed out…!

  24. Kristen

    I hope to try this recipe with our garden-grown eggplant and tomatoes. As you say you look in the kitchen, Deb, I look in the garden, but gardening’s becoming my passion- especially when it means we’ve got good things to cook and eat. This year was my first success growing eggplant- after three years trying- though I was dubious as I set out the two-inch tall transplants I’d grown from seed. Blessedly, the plants grew and have been full of fruit with purple and white streaked skin for several weeks. The only way I’ve prepared them is brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, then grilled. I never knew a vegetable could be so creamy. Seriously, like it’s made of cream. Our tomatoes are heirloom varieties- some sweet, some tart- and I think any of their flavors would pair well with the eggplant for your recipe. Thank you!

  25. Eggplant is definitely my favorite vegetable. To cook with and eat. But there is something so hearty about eggplant that makes this dish the perfect transitioning dish for September. Some left over summer garden veggies make it refreshing, but the roasted eggplant make is perfect for fall…. A++++++ !

    ps, !

  26. I giggled when I read the clothes situation. Girl, aprons will save a multitude of sins. I wear them all the time. I teach cooking classes and always wear an apron. That way, I don’t have to agonize over what to wear. T shirt, jeans, apron. I had aprons made with my logo on them and they are pretty darn cute!
    Your recipes, writing, and photography are what I look forward to. Keep up the good works! Nella

  27. I love eggplant, I was getting ready to use up some of the beauties I got from my CSA in eggplant rollatini this weekend but I may try this instead. Completely aside have you thought about adding share options for your recipes?

  28. Season one is definitely the best. Just a warning, by season four, you’re going to want to slap Serena upside the head every episode with her never ending poor life choices. Also, with each season, the plots become more and more preposterous. Have you ever read the recaps on Television Without Pity? I got into them during Gilmore Girls. Always good for a snarky chuckle.

  29. Dana

    This looks great! P.S. I also own four corduroy skirts.And yet I am still always drawn to buy another one when I see one in a catalog or store.

    1. deb

      Dana — I’m having a particular problem with the J.Crew No. 2 Pencil Skirts in corduroy this fall. Such pretty colors! On the plus side: I now own a few things with color.

      Molly — I actually did peter off watching it this year. I’d rewatch Season 1 because I’m pretty sure that’s when it peaked. TWP is great, depending on the writer. My husband got me into Sepinwall a bit, but I think GG is too low-brow for him. Not that I blame him!

  30. Lynn

    I love eggplant! this is a great recipe and since I’m into the low carb thing, this would be perfect for my diet. I’m not fan of mint so I would take that out but this recipe looks divine!

  31. I hardly ever post comments on the blogs I follow but when I saw this in my GReader, I was beyond excited. The post felt like it was directed at me. I love eating light appetizers for dinner. I was looking through your site a couple weeks ago for variations on bruschetta/ appetizers. I’ve had a couple weeks where I would just eat variations of bruschetta. I know, a little insane, but I loved it. The problem of course was coming up with the variations on either the toppings or delivery device… I hit a wall.

    I was wondering if it’s possible for you to revisit this again?

    I’ve tried creating different salsas for toppings or combining things like goat cheese, apples, thyme and oregano, but it didn’t taste quite right to me.

    So, please, please, if possible, post more on seasonal bruschetta or light appetizer variations as a substitute for dinner.

  32. Becca

    This was such a fun post, I enjoyed reading the online interview as well and look forward to the article.
    FYI, Anthropologie makes the cutest aprons known to man, although I never want to get mine dirty so it kind of defeats the purpose. :) They would be perfect for a photo shoot though (not a distinctly likely possibility in my case, but you never know !).

  33. Kathleen in MO

    I just love how real you are, Deb!! I literally laughed OUT LOUD here in my office this morning as I read about your closet selections!! I’ve turned into the cardigan queen, so I can totally relate! And yes, I’ve got a denim skirt in there, too. And black & white everything — how did I end up with so much monochrome stuff? I could definitely use a stylist . . . but hey — at least our food selections are colorful, right?

  34. Haha, I LOVED hearing about all the behind-the-scenes action that went into this feature! I just tried something similar but with feta and cubes of eggplant, and it was really good, but I like your use of eggplant as a substitute for bruschetta!

  35. Molly & Deb
    I needed to add my two cents about GG!! I’m fully addicted, and I’m SO happy to know that I’m not the only person over 20 who watches it too! The new season is actually marked on my ical, but I would NEVER tell anyone that… except this public forum right here… oops… :P

    in the words of GG…

    x-o, x-o

  36. I love this post, Deb! I love first that you are a real person, second all the amazing food. And I already saw the Everyday Food spread…. I think I squealed!

  37. This is great! Our farmers’ market has had so many eggplants I’ve been trying to think of new things to do with them. And mint is so awesome in the summer (yes, still summer in TX. Unless the 5 degree cooldown to 90 counts as fall?) Now if only I can get the hubby to realize he DOESN’T hate eggplant…

    Jacob is so stinkin’ cute.

  38. Deb, amazing! I would love to try this with feta as you mentioned. Have you ever had Bulgarian feta? A friend recently brought a hunk over and it’s my new favorite. I have been looking for a good recipe for it, and once again you came through for me.
    THANKS!!! :-)

    1. deb

      littleclove — Bulgarian feta is my favorite! It’s not as salty and hard as some Greek feta, more oomph than French feta. If you can find it, I find most sheeps milk fetas to have a similar flavor profile.

  39. wow, this looks amazing! I have never thought of this before but since grilled eggplant is my favorite meal this summer and i love salsa on everything, i have no doubt that i would love this recipe too.

    thanks for making another great recipe

  40. I adore eggplant and this recipe sounds fantastic. I’m totally going to try it. Thanks so much, Deb. Have a lovely weekend.

    P.S: Now I cant wait to check out the September issue of Everyday Food magazine…So excited! Kisses

  41. Bobbie

    Hi Deb,
    On the subject of not being photographed, I used to be the same way, avoiding being in photos, and I still don’t really like seeing photos of myself. But one day, I was in my late 30’s, I looked at some photos someone had caught me in when I was in my 20’s, and I thought, “I looked pretty good back then! What was I worried about?” That’s when I realized, no matter how you think you look now, in 10 years, you’ll just look 10 years older, so you might as well just take pictures of you now! I went out and had a portrait done at a photo studio. Made my mom really happy, and now I look at that photo and think “Wow, I looked pretty good in my 30’s!”

  42. Elle Marie

    I gotta say, before looking at these photos I thought I was the only one to stack kitchen pots on the ironing board. Your hilarious honesty allows me to look at all your beautiful recipes without moaning over my functional yet rather ugly kitchen (Think: particle board. EVERYWHERE.).

  43. AWESOME! I don’t think I like eggplant (not even raw) but….I love cooking so I’ll try this recipe and force my family to eat it. The great thing is when I cook I hardly eat. Keep blogging & cooking!

  44. Dawn

    5 years!? Wow, that is quite a milestone, Deb! I think I have been along for the ridge for about 4.5 of those years, and you have always been, and will always be, my go-to for no-fail recipes.

  45. Hahahaha – I love that you refused hair and makeup people. I think if I were ever offered that I’d probably be so spoiled by it that I’d be devastated when I had to, you know, blow dry my hair by myself again. It’s like, where do I hire an entourage for free?

  46. Congrats on the big story and feature!

    I can ONLY imagine what it must be like having a whole crew show up at your house like that. Not nerve-racking at all. No, not at all. (kidding!)

    And it appears from that macbook that they were shooting teathered. Nothing says pressure like the shot INSTANTLY being up on the computer in Lightroom. Ahhh, but you handled it like a pro.

    Lovely recipe, of course, too!

  47. JanetP

    Hah! I do not like eggplant, but I will happily read whatever you write. Nice interview! And, oh the Jacob video adorableness! That pursed mouth — to die for.

  48. I am totally with you, eating appetizers is often much more exciting than a well cooked meal. When I am invited to a buffet I often stroll along the appetizers most of the time (Ok, after a while, you could find me next to the desserts..). Lovely recipe you share with us. Also, I very much enjoyed reading about you when the photos were taken and all the story around it.

  49. KF

    I really love the layout of your blog. It is not cluttered, and stays true to what your mission for the blog is. Some other people’s food blogs are so full, it’s hard to find the recipes! Thank you for being an inspiration and doing the dirty work of recipe testing. I’ve written many down that I hope to pass on to my family. By the way, we make the sweet potatoes year round.

  50. Arazu

    Appetizer? Yeah right. I made it and ate half of it for dinner tonight, OhMyYum. Used what I had on hand and subbed black olives for capers and goat cheese for ricotta. DELISH.

  51. SusanL

    Oh Deb, the recipe looks lovely, and you are amazing! I love the fact that you mentioned in your interview that your dishwasher is one of your must-have kitchen appliances. I too remember the dark days before I had one (shudder!) and I basically stopped cooking after six months sans dishwasher. My dishwasher is the reason I can do monster cooking marathons and not want to hang myself!

  52. Sheila

    I can relate to you about having my picture taken. My husband is a photographer and 90% of the time has a camera in his hand, hanging on his person, or within reaching distance. I think it kills him a little inside how much I despise having my picture taken, but I just really can’t stand it! I will say however, that I’ve learned when he is taking pictures to suck it up and smile, or else the result is that there will be hundreds of pictures of me looking miserable. The fact that I hate having my pic taken does not deter him from doing it, so I might as well try to look good!

    Love your site so much! Thanks so much for sharing your fantastic spin on great recipes.

  53. Julie

    What are the chances I would happen to have tomatoes, white eggplant, and fresh mint that all needed using up? The eggplant was crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, but in 1″ slices just firm enough to hold up with the salsa on top. Oh, and the juices left behind on the plate were perfect for sopping up with grilled garlic bread– yum. Thank you!

  54. Thank you for this post! It made me smile-nay, giggle. One of my cousins recently tried to talk me into podcasting. I really couldn’t get into it. While I have a wide assortment of aprons and extremely colorful clothing, I tend to wear a wife beater (er, white tanktop) and pajama pants when I am cooking. And I won’t even go into my hair and makeup. Thanks for being real. It gives amateur bloggers hope ;)

  55. RG

    Are those eggplant slices really 3/4″ thick? That’s a lot of bitter eggplant.

    I go for about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, using it either as fake pizza or what’s truly amazing is with duck/hoisin/ cilantro/carrot. I mean, you could probably put duck on anything and it would taste good, but the eggplant complements it in a surprising way.

  56. jmarie

    LOVED this! i was hesitant to try the eggplant (not a huge fan) but I tried it and i am so glad i did! it was delicious!!!

    also, the sweet potato version is a new thanksgiving mainstay for us after last year!

  57. tanja

    Are you kidding me? Just got back from the farmers’ market with a bagful of beautiful eggplant wondering what to make. First stop, of course, is Smitten Kitchen and bang! I land on this eggplant recipe. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  58. Nancy

    This has inspired me to make something similar with what’s in my fridge already: tomatoes/feta/olives/pesto/red pepper grilled on a portobello mushroom! Okay, so not too many of the exact same ingredients, but the principle’s the same, right? Thanks for the inspiration!

  59. elizabeth

    Hi Deb,
    thanks! planning to make this tomorrow :)

    What do you do with the seeds and juice from the tomatoes? I’d hate to throw them out …

  60. Jennifer

    Hey there! I can’t help but notice that bit about living off of blistered padron peppers. I feel you! But do you get them on the East Coast? I’ve had them once in a restaurant in Nantucket of all places and I have been swearing my devotion to them ever since. They are the new potato chip, if only I could find them. Also, this recipe looks perfect. When my eggplants are ready to harvest I WILL be making this.

  61. Jeannie

    Love this idea but wondered if u ran into this Deb. I LOVE eggplant, love it but the one issue I encounter is that when I grill or saute it, the skin can sometimes be hard to chew and eat…I guess I could peel the eggplant but have not tried that yet….but this is such a great way to eliminate bread and still have a platform for all that yummy cheese…..

  62. Sarah

    Congrats Deb. I cook in a small kitchen too and you have inspired me to get rid of some pots and other stuff I don’t use and take up space.

  63. Wow, so glad you shared this! I never know what to do with eggplant, and my husband just discovered that he may be gluten-intolerant, and we LOVE bruschetta, so your timing is perfect. You are our hero. Thank you!

  64. sarah

    Hooray! Something I can slightly adapt to my new vegan diet (yes, I am crazy. no, it won’t last. summer dress season is over and I need to fit back into my jeans). I was just looking in a vegan cookbook and thinking about how much I don’t like eggplant. Deb, you have never let me down EVER. Every single think I have cooked has worked out perfectly the first time and been so tasty. So here I go diving off the cliff into the abyss of the eggplant. Don’t let me down…no pressure!(sidenote…As an ex pat across the pond I will be celebrating the spirit of new yorkers today…and mourning).

  65. Catherine

    loved it with feta and balsamic (all I had)… needed a knife and fork.. was hoping it would be a finger food. both hubby and I agree it’s a keeper! genius

  66. I love anything with ricotta salata! Those slabs of roasted eggplant look hearty and delightful. I love the idea of replacing the bread and that you cook with all the ingredients that are seasonal for me right now!

  67. This was perfectly timed. I had eggplant and tomatoes from the CSA and I came here intending to search for a good eggplant recipe and here it was. I had dinner ready in 30-40 minutes, which for me is unheard of! And it was delicious and easy done on the grill.

  68. Whitney

    Served this at my dinner party for 6 last night and practically knocked down all my guests on my way to the plate. Used golden and purple cherry tomatoes straight from the garden. This was the appetizer to your meatballs, your fresh spaghetti sauce (over spaghetti of course), your Caesar salad and your peach cake with brown sugar frosting. I am completely smitten…thank you for sharing the deliciousness from your kitchen!

  69. Wow, the roasted eggplant decorated with the tomatoes and mint looks so delicious. No wonder you got it featured in a magazine, Congratulations!

    This little appetizer is just the perfect thing to serve before a dinner. It’s so healthy too, unlike other appetizers I know of.

    I love grilling eggplant, so i better get to grilling before it gets too cold out. Thanks for sharing this recipe :)

  70. April

    Just go with classic items; make a wardrobe that lasts forever (read: until you wear it out) and doesn’t usually require a certain top to go with a certain skirt, etc. I dress (almost) blindly and get positive comments regularly. Dark blue jeans, pleated + A-line skirts, and button-up white tops, to go with jackets of varying lengths, in whatever colours (that’s right, “colour” with an “u”, I’m Australian) suit you.. plus a few pairs of heels, flats, boots, and some scarves. Done!

    Also, I desperately want to make this.

  71. Oh, Deb, love it! Saw the issue, bought the issue, precisely because saw SK in it. But honest to god, the background version’s much better :)

    Here’s to a closet full of denim skirts!

  72. jessibull

    i was super excited to try this recipe because I. love. bruschetta. and i’ve never had mint in it, or put it on eggplant! I was pretty excited about the result and plan to start experimenting more with mint and capers for the upcoming fall root veggie roast-a-thon that generally happens… plus the end result was quite beautiful!

    i thought mine ended up a little salty though. I used feta since that’s what i had on hand, so i didn’t know if ricotta saltada would be less salty or not?

    i also added some black beluga lentils i had cooked up earlier for my next-day-lunch-leftovers, which helped even out the saltiness in mine, and made it a little more substantive which was perfect! I’d recommend the mix if you want to stretch the dish or make it a heartier appetizer.

  73. Liz

    I had to look you up on the internet after your comments about looking bad. I think you look totally adorable and you can stop being so self conscious. I did not start dressing better and primping until my kids hit their teens, just relax and enjoy your little one while he is still small. My daughter got me started reading your blog and we pre-ordered your book. I was once a professional, cooking school and the works. I own very few cookbooks, but your recipes are so consistently fabulous that I am getting your book for inspiration.

  74. Laura

    Just had this for dinner. Totally delicious. My ricotta cheese was much less solid than yours looks, but the creamy result when mixed together was divine. Thanks mucho. Appetiser dinners are the best.

  75. Petry

    I made this as an appetizer/side dish for a dinner party. It knocked everyone’s socks off. When the delicious bits were gone, the juices were soaked into bread bites until not a lick remained. The recipe was requested and I happily provided it (along with your blog address)! Thanks for such a great dish!

  76. Great timing! We had an eggplant in our CSA basket and I made this for a lovely Saturday night dinner with the hubby (our only night off together). I grilled the eggplant and substituted finely chopped kalamata olives for the capers, and everything turned out great. Unfortunately, after finishing his first slice, my guy tells me that he absolutely positively can not stomach eggplant–which apparently he only discovered right then. So we’ll be eating the rest of the topping on toasted french bread, I guess!

  77. Susan S.

    Hi Deb,
    Looks great. I ‘d like to make this to take to a pot luck coming up. Do you think it would suffer terribly to roast the eggplant in advance and keep at room temp. and then top w/the salsa right before serving?
    Also, enjoyed your description of your photo shoot, but I must say, as a freelance hair and make-up person in Los Angeles, please don’t ever turn down an offer to have your hair and make-up done. That gives one of us one more potential job in a highly competitive market where jobs can be pretty scarce. You can even do your own hair and make-up beforehand if you like, and then it can be just touched up or cleaned up if you’re afraid of looking too different. Plus, it’s nice to have someone there looking at the moniter to jump in and fix a stray hair or dab a shiny nose to keep you looking your best so you don’t even have to think about it. Pamper yerself, girl!

    1. deb

      Hi Susan — Thanks for the advice. I don’t actually think this a great do-ahead dish. Once eggplant has been roasted and begins to cool, it can sink/shrivel a bit. Not terribly, not inedibly, but it won’t look as bruschetta-like. If you do it, however, just keep the salad part separate, as you suggested, until serving.

  78. Rachel

    I didn’t grow up eating eggplant, but am always drawn to it at the farmers’ market (such a fun shape and beautiful color)! After buying tomatoes and mint from the market as well, I tried this dish tonight and it was wonderful! Super yummy – my husband even liked it! I’m definitely going to have to try your other eggplant recipes. Thank you!

  79. OMG! I don’t even like eggplants, but had bought one on impulse a few days before this post. (They are just so darn beautiful.) I decided to make this only because I really like bruschetta, but substituted feta for ricotta and basil for mint as it was what I had on hand. So good, that I ate the whole eggplant by myself. Shame, shame…THANKS!

  80. Lena

    …Finally chiming in after months of lurking.
    I did one of those “i’ll just use what’s in my fridge” kind of things, and used goat cheese and basil instead. Still delicious, but where has roasted eggplant been my entire life? Amazing!

  81. Anna

    I did not think I’d like this recipe and almost did not bother to try it but here I am the day after eating leftovers. The eggplant did the sink and shrivel thing just like you said and it’s still great. Makes for a nice light snack. Do you think you can make eggplant caviar? I was thinking of the Russian kind of course, but you are welcome to make any kind you like. You can make one up. I really enjoy this dish and have not figured out how to make it.

  82. Angela

    Oh man, I hate having my picture taken too. I usually have trouble mustering up any sort of smile, let alone an awkward one :]

    (I thought everyone talked to themselves / inanimate objects when they cooked. “Oh cake, why are you not done yet why are you doing this to meeee” etc etc.)

  83. Laura

    My husband and I made this for dinner last night. We both loved the tomato topping! We had to stop ourselves from eating it with a fork before the eggplant was ready. I particularly liked the capers in it (and even my normally caper-averse husband liked them). I couldn’t find ricotta salata at the grocery, so I substituted feta as Deb suggested and that worked very well.

    The only downside to this recipe is that we had a slight problem with the eggplant. For some reason (most likely due to some flaw in our oven), our eggplant simply wouldn’t brown. By the time it looked ready to come out of the oven, it was pretty mushy. It still tasted great, but we ended up eating our “bruschetta” with a knife and fork. So, a word to the wise: if your oven isn’t great at browning, roast the eggplant until it’s almost the consistency you want and brown it under the broiler a bit.

    Over all, a great recipe! I will definitely make the tomato topping again!

  84. Sarah

    I made these as the salad portion of my dinner. I cooked the eggplant early and let it cool and then served the whole thing slightly chilled. Everyone ate it up and came back for more!

  85. Alene

    I am a huge fan of eggplant and was intrigued by this recipe. Came home from our local Wisconsin farm stand with a gorgeous eggplant, wonderful tomatoes and a perfect opportunity to give it a try. We were delighted with the result. The flavors of all the ingredients blended beautifully, the mint a treat. The surprise was the creaminess of the eggplant when prepared this way. It stood up nicely to the tomato topping. Can’t wait to share this with friends and family…..

  86. Jenny

    I wanted to love this recipe so badly! Especially since I was making these for a potluck dinner with 10 other guests. The tomato-mint salad part is beyond delicious but the eggplant was horrible. I followed the directions exactly, but after 20 minutes, my eggplant was not the least bit “blistery, dark or puffy.” They were pale mush. I flipped them after 23 minutes on one side and after 10 minutes, the other side was pale mush too. The mush does not make a good vehicle for bruschetta. I’m really not sure what I did wrong! Perhaps I overcrowded my baking sheet? Did I use a bit too much olive oil? Any ideas?

    1. deb

      Stephanie — I use Epicurean cutting boards. They’re … wood fibers and some other stuff, lightweight and 100% dishwasher safe. They absorb no odors. (No, they don’t pay me to use them!) I used to have a few very nice, thick wood cutting boards but the smells got into them and I couldn’t get them out. I tried everything (now I will get a slew of comments suggesting lemon, or salt, or sanding, etc.) and nothing worked. I was pregnant at the time and had a very sensitive nose and in a fit one day, threw them all out and I’ve been using these since. I don’t miss the wood ones at all, though it’s best to put a towel underneath so these don’t slide around.

  87. I would have no decent clothes left without my apron! With a kitchen as small as yours, my cooking style would require two (one for the front and one for the back). But maybe I’ve got it all wrong – maybe smaller spaces require tidier cooking. :)

  88. jacqui

    i am oh so jealous of your use of ricotta salata.
    i am a former new yorker currently living in arizona and missing those delicious ante-pasta treats.

  89. ZBK

    I just made this dish and it is so delicious. I had Feta at hand and did not salt the topping. The vinegar gives it such a nice tang. Thank you so much.

  90. Cass

    These looked right up my alley, so I made them last night… with a few differences.

    I felt like having basil instead of mint; had feta so I added no salt or capers; miraculously ran out of red wine vinegar, so I used half balsamic and half cider.

    Anyway, they were delicious! Messy, but delicious.

    PS – I love your site. I’ve found many great recipes, and the categorization of the recipe index is quite helpful. Good luck with your book!

  91. Sady

    Hi Deb,

    I have never written though I always come to your website for dinner inspiration. Thanks for that! Tomorrow I’m making this delicious looking dish for my dinner guests. What main course would you recommend to follow? What have you paired it with? Thanks for your suggestions!

  92. Abby

    I made this for dinner for my parents last night and they LOVED it! The three of us finished every last bite! Every time I cook one of your recipes they say “it is the best thing they have ever eaten”, until of course I try out something else from you. Thank you for always sharing great recipes!

  93. Julie C

    Delicious! I’ve never roasted eggplant like this before and it is amazing! Sort of crispy on the outside and then that oozing melting inside, and topped with the cool tangy salsa. We used feta in the salsa, which was great – and we meant it to be a starter, but the timing worked out more for it to be served simultanously with some bulgur cooked with mushrooms and it was the perfect meal. Thanks!

    Question: Do you have to rinse/soak capers before using them? Am a little confused about proper caper usage…..

    1. deb

      Julie — I do not rinse or soak capers before using them but you can if you find their flavor too strong. Or maybe you’re thinking of salt-packed capers? I use the ones that come in a liquid brine.

  94. What an awesome sounding recipe! I normally am not a huge fan of eggplant because it’s always fried and topped with a bunch of sauce and cheese.

    I just made eggplant chips for the first time tonight and they rocked! This recipe is next on my list. Maybe I’ll start to be a lover of eggplant now that I have several worthy recipes. THANK YOU!

  95. I am loving your recipes!! This reminds me of a dish we made with feta, and a mix of basil pesto, a smidgeon of sun-dried tomatoes, and a dash of balsamic vinegar, rolled inside thinly sliced full sized eggplant, and baked with a seasoned bread crumb Parmesan mix. Mmm my taste buds are waking up now!

    I love your presentation. You can visible see the love you have put into it, so I am sure you can taste it. Love is one of the most essential ingredients, falling a close second to perhaps salt :)

  96. Mel

    So, I didn’t have mint or capers so I used basil and chick peas instead, and I added a layer of quinoa between the eggplant and salad. It was awesome. Thanks for another great recipe!

  97. anita

    made this last night- had to cook the eggplant a bit longer, and then threw it under the broiler for a minute, but otherwise was perfect!

  98. Kate larmer

    Delicious! I added a scraping of pesto over the eggplant before the tomato mix. Will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

  99. I really think Americans don’t appreciate eggplant as much as they should. You mostly only see it as Eggplant Parm and while it may be greasy fried goodness, it doesn’t exactly exhibit the glory that eggplant has to offer. This recipe, on the other hand, seems to highlight all that is wonderful about about eggplant. It sounds refreshing and light and the eggplant will no doubt make it a good and hearty dish!

  100. Stacey

    I am in love with your website. I cook all the time and love how easy these are and wonderfully delicious and SO different from eveything else. SO many of your recipes are my “go-to” for dinner parties or celebrations. I cannot wait for your cookbook. :) Thank you and keep the receipes and stories coming. I truly enjoy them. This week end I am making a birthday dinner for my mother. I foudl the perfect cake ( red wine chocolate cake) and the perfect side ( roasted eggplant and mint) Thank you for more fabulous ideas!

  101. Fabienne

    Loved loved this recipe! We ate like kings tonight thanks to you Deb! We did not have enough capers so we threw in anchovy paste! Did a great job all the same!

  102. Isabelle

    Made this last night! Was amazing! I made your roasted tomato soup as a starter, with my homemade chicken broth, I didn’t do the lid (trying to keep it healthy!)

    I skipped the capers and added quinoa in the salad and served it as a light main.

    Both were fabulous :)

  103. Jessie

    We made this last night and it was INCREDIBLE. I have to admit, despite the fact that your recipes have never failed me, I was a big skeptical about the mint. We almost switched it out for basil, and I am SO glad we didn’t. It was the perfect complement to every other part of this. We cut up kalamata olives in place of the capers and used regular old ricotta spread (next time we’ll make our own!) on top of the eggplant, which held the tomato topping on really nicely. And it was all so easy! Thanks again for another wonderful recipe.

  104. Ying & Yang Living

    We love eggplant and is always looking for variety of salads to make~~ this recipes integrates both! Love this great and ARTISTIC recipe!

  105. Annabelle

    I loved this! I added lentils, lemon juice and parsley to the mixture, turned out beautifully! Who said students had to live on bread and noodles!??

  106. Monty

    I rarely make comments on the web but I happened to be surfing for ‘roasted eggplant’ and ‘roasted eggplant with tomatos and mint’ sounded delicious so I began reading. Your writeup on it was incredibly entertaining and your self deprecating humor is a breath of fresh air amongst the normally stale writing which predominates the internet. For the first time in ages I will actually search out more of a persons writing. I thoroughly enjoyed what you had to say and didn’t skip a morsel. If I could give you a high five or buy you a tasty beverage I would do so without hesitation.


  107. As half-italian as I am shocked that you could ruin a beautiful simple recipe, as half-english, I admire you’re courage and it is GORGEOUS!

  108. Kari

    Just made this tonight. LOVE the combinations. Eggplant served well as a vehicle and almost like a “meat” for us veg lovers. I subbed cotija cheese because that’s all I had (we make lots of tacos) and it was awesome… salty and hard so very similar to the R.S. Love your blog, I use it all the time and need to start commenting more!!! I made the jacked up banana bread this morning too (one day off = my day to cook) and subbed scrapped vanilla beans and a pear liquor from J Vineyards… It was incredible but I won’t waste my vanilla beans next time I think the extract would be just the same. Can’t wait to buy your book! xo,k

  109. nandini

    in india, we makethis dish at our homes, it serves as a starter, to the main course. Sometimes, we roast the whole eggplant over charcoal grill, and then mash and aad to it tomato slices, onion , garlic and spices, it tastes even better.

  110. I am DEFinitely making these for my holiday party! They look amazing!!! Eggplant is an absolute favourite and this looks delicious! I had featured U in the post of Top 7 Popular and Tempting Appetizers on AllFreshRecipes.Except ur more newly recipes!

  111. Monica

    Thank you for this recipe! We bought 3 lbs of eggplant for$1 at the farmers market that we needed to make that day! Had some manchego cheese and balsamic vinegar and added a cup of quinoa and made a meal of it. Turned out AhMAZING!

  112. Eloise

    I can’t seem to decide whether I like eggplant or not – sometimes it is delicious and sometimes disgusting. I have heard that this is because some people don’t prepare it properly – apparently it is a bit toxic and needs to be soaked or salted or something to leach out the yucky stuff before it is eaten. This has scared me awayfrom using eggplant for fear or ruining otherwise yummy meals.

    Do you know anything about this? Would you recommend any prepping the eggplant in this kind of way before using it, here or elsewhere? Google gives me mixed answers to this question…. Thanks!

  113. Lynn P

    Hi Deb. I received a handful of long, slender Japanese eggplant from my CSA this week. I would love to try this recipe. Instead of slicing the eggplant horizontally, can I cut it vertically and then roast it? Since the eggplant is so long and thin, will I need to alter the cooking/roasting time? Thanks for your help.

  114. These look absolutely delicious! Eggplant and tomatoes are my favorite dinner combo. It tastes just like pasta–but better! I have to try the mint and ricotta as well!

  115. Oh and I forgot about another question–what would you think of adding marinara to this dish? I think it would be tasty, but there’s already tomato in the topping!

  116. Hey Deb, I was recently in Italy- YAAAAY- and I had a delicious meal of cold roasted veggies that was sort of on a buffet in a charming little restaurant in Roma. Anyway, I can’t get out of my mind the eggplant that was very dense and meaty and more dry. I have attempted eggplant a few times on the grill and have not been impressed. I am wondering, is this the method that would produce these results? I want to eat those vegetables every day, along with the bruschetta. I don’t know why you’d need anything else. Vegetarian here who is always striving for the tastiest veggies ever. :) Thanks, and hope you see this comment.

    1. deb

      Hm, perhaps it just needed a little more time? I don’t usually salt eggplant but I know people who swear by it for improved texture and flavor. I wonder if you’d be in that camp. Just guessing around here.

  117. Lucy Scanlon

    The long commentary is fun but it doesn’t get the appetizer cooked! Can you add a link to print the recipe itself so I have a copy for the kitchen.

    1. deb

      There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template.

  118. Barry

    First time to your website and based upon the results I will be returning many times.

    I made this as an entree so I cut my eggplant in half lengthwise and took the skin off one side and then chargrilled it. There should be a law that you can’t cook eggplant any other way than chargrilling it.

    I also had a little bit of feta cheese left over and mixed it with the ricotta salata. I was very happy with doing that

    So the end results were a wonderful texture of different flavors in a light meal. My wife and I both give it 5 stars and its on the list to serve at our next party.

    p.s. Thanks so much for dividing the responses by whether you made it or not. Nothing is so frustrating than to read down 15 reviews that all say “It looks wonderful” when you want to know how it TASTES! :)

  119. Paula A.

    This is SO DELICIOUS!!! Oh! I actually can’t get over how yummy this simple dish turned out. My husband, ever the critic and THE pickiest eater ever, was skeptical at first but this tomato topping impressed even him.
    Couldn’t find ricotta so used feta instead. Otherwise, followed recipe to a t. Simply cannot wait to make it again!!

  120. Andrea Leonardi

    loved this side dish. It’s become a family favorite after having some leftover eggplant from the outside grill. It’s similar to a delicious ‘salad’ we had in Bologna. I added some kalmata olives, but this is the best eggplant/mint/tomato recipe I’ve found. Thank you

  121. Anna

    I am in love with this recipe. You know it’s good when you’re fantasizing about hosting future dinner parties as you’re eating something. I cooked my eggplant in the oven and it was delicious…. and then I ate a heaping bowl of the tomato topping by itself and had that tomato topping for dinner the following night, too. Highly recommend!

  122. Absolutely fabulous! It’s the capers and the mint that make it special. (I agree with your notes that parsley and olives would also be fine, but your choice of ingredients just adds that extra level of deliciousness)

  123. I made this into a cold pasta dish – was awesome. chopped the eggplant up small and added a zucchini, but otherwise stuck to the recipe. Was a great summer meal!


    This comment is really a thank you for your latest newsletter with all the great eggplant recipes! My favorite eggplant dish, taught to me by my aunt, is simply slice an eggplant (mine came out about 5/8″ thick), beat up an egg in a shallow dish, melt some butter in a fry pan. Dip each slice in the egg wash and fill the pan with the slices. Any extra egg can be drizzled over the tops. Cook over medium hear until golden brown on the bottom, then turn and finish cooking until nice and brown on the bottom, and the eggplant is tender (poke it with a fork). You can cheat and add extra butter as you turn if you wish. Salt and pepper and serve. Incredibly delicious!

  125. Ema

    A brilliant recipe. The mint, capers, and red onion combo is so powerful on the tomatoes. And then you add the caramelized sweetness of grilled eggplant.
    Eating this dish felt like going to a party with your favorite writers— and listening to their conversation!
    Deb, you are a genius. Thank you!