How to Roast Eggplant Cubes

File this away under “good to know” kitchen tips. Recently, I made a cooked salad that required fried eggplant cubes. I don’t like frying eggplant. It soaks up oil like a sponge, which means you end up using a lot more oil than you would normally need for other vegetables. The frying process can also be somewhat messy. I decided to roast the cubed eggplant instead, tossing it with a little olive oil and putting it in a hot oven till tender. The results were spectacular. I love roasting other vegetables like cauliflower and beets, so naturally eggplant works the same way. The eggplant developed a natural sweetness in the oven, a depth of flavor I’ve never achieved from frying. Some pieces caramelized on the edges, adding extra flavor. I ate it up like finger food; all it needed was a little salt to offset the sweetness. Of course, you can add black pepper or any number of seasonings during the roasting process to give it a different flavor.

I can imagine all kinds of uses for these delectable cubes of roasted eggplant. So far, I’ve tried substituting it for fried eggplant in cooked salads (like Mooshi’s Eggplant Salad), which works great. I’ve added it to a cold mixed green salad; it makes the salad more filling without adding a lot of calories. I’ve simmered it for a few minutes in curry sauce and served it as a vegetarian entree. I’ve also used it as a pasta substitute. Top the eggplant with marinara or bolognese sauce for a lower carb, gluten free, more nutritious alternative to pasta. My husband likes his topped with a little Greek yogurt, labneh, or tahini sauce. You can also roast eggplant rounds, like I do in this recipe for Vegetable Moussaka. The possibilities are endless!

If you want to roast eggplant for a dip like babaganoush, the process is different. Click here for a complete tutorial.

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How to Roast Eggplant Cubes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. eggplant
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Optional ingredients: black pepper, your favorite seasonings

You will also need

  • Baking sheet
Cook Time: 20 - 30 Minutes
Servings: 3 1/2-4 cups roasted eggplant cubes
  • Peel the eggplant. You can either peel it completely, or leave a few strips of skin on for texture. If you're planning on eating them as-is or using them as a meat or pasta substitute, peel them completely. If you're simmering them in sauce or adding them to a cooked salad, leave a few strips of skin on to help the eggplant keep its shape during cooking.
  • Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes.
  • Place the eggplant pieces in a colander and sprinkle with salt, tossing the pieces with your hands as you sprinkle to make sure all the pieces are evenly coated. Allow the eggplant to stand at room temperature for 30-45 minutes till beads of liquid form on the surface. Rinse the eggplant thoroughly and pat dry. This salting process helps to remove any bitterness from the eggplant.
  • Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Spread out the eggplant cubes on a baking sheet. Drizzle evenly with olive oil and use clean hands to toss the cubes, coating them lightly with oil. Sprinkle the cubes lightly with salt (if you're salt-sensitive, skip this step... the eggplant will already be slightly salty from the pre-salting process). You can also sprinkle them with pepper or your favorite seasoning. Black pepper, red chili flakes, paprika, lemon pepper and curry powder all add a nice flavor... just be sure to season lightly so you don't overpower the natural flavor of the eggplant.
  • Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Let the eggplant roast for 10 minutes. Take the eggplant out and stir it with a spatula or wooden spoon. Return it to the oven. (Note-- if you have doubled the recipe and are roasting two batches of eggplant on two sheets, switch the sheets between racks at this point). Let it roast for 10-20 minutes longer till the eggplant is tender and some of the pieces are caramelized.
  • Remove the eggplant from the oven. Serve warm or at room temperature, or add it to your favorite eggplant recipe. The eggplant is particularly delicious when simmered for a few minutes in your favorite warm sauce (tomato sauce, curry, etc.). Or, you can snack on it plain, like I do... simple, with a touch of salt. Makes a tasty finger food! I also love it drizzled with a little tahini sauce. Yum!
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Comments (44)Post a Comment

  1. Nonna says:

    I always roast eggplant for Eggplant Parmesan for the reasons you list here – I hate the mess and the all too excessive oil. The process is similar. Peel the eggplant; slice into 1/4″ rounds; soak in salted water for an hour or so; drain, rinse, dry; lay on cookie sheet sprayed with olive oil spray; drizzle with olive oil and roast in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or so until soft and slightly browned. If I buy a lot of eggplant, I roast it all this way and freeze what do not use immediately (layer with sheets of plastic or parchment). The roasted rounds freeze/thaw beautifully!

  2. Lori Lynn says:

    Great idea Tori. Like your serving platter too!
    LL

  3. Sweet Tooth says:

    I don’t like eggplant normally, but this looks delicious! It seems like a chopped alternative to babaganoush!

    xx
    Sweet Tooth

  4. Thanks for the guidance on roasting eggplant – I’m still searching for that perfect eggplant recipe… maybe this will be the first step in making my eggplant recipes more delectable.

  5. Marla says:

    Hi…this is a GREAT tip, and one I’ve used for years when
    roasting eggplant as well as other veggies. I also use this method when mixing Mushrooms, red onion, peppers with eggplant—and I always throw in some whole garlic cloves—sometimes I will add scallions and olives at the very end—The
    possibilities are endless—–I usually make up a huge batch, and keep it in the fridge all week–You can serve it over romain and add some goat cheese or feta to make a great salad or use it for pasta—PS…dont forget to squeeze some
    lemon over it to “add some sunshine” and keep it awake!
    and of course, Ess Gazinta Hait!

  6. jan says:

    With the smaller, thinner style eggplants, such as the Chinese and Japanese, I skip the salting step.

  7. What a great and easy way to incorporate eggplant into everyday meals!

  8. Great pictorial! We are obsessed with eggplant! And I love your bowl..the blue is just gorgeous!

  9. Robin says:

    What a great idea! Ill try it very soon’ I love Marcella hazard and will add this to my sauce! Love this site!!!

  10. Julia says:

    Just made this and it was beyond delicious! The caramelization smells and tastes amazing!

  11. Marissa says:

    I skipped the ore-salting (as I always do with eggplant) and it wasn’t bitter at all! Delicious and simple, thank you! : )

  12. Marissa says:

    And by ore-salting I do mean pre-salting, as in salting before cooking! : )

    • Tori Avey says:

      Got it. ;) The smaller eggplants tend to be less bitter, but honestly it’s very rare that I’ve come across any bitter eggplants, large or small. It’s kind of a preventative measure, just in case you do get a bitter one. I’m so glad you liked the recipe!

  13. Bonny says:

    Thank you soooo much for this Site. I am 74 just retired and Love this kinds of food. I have only one problem I have not a CLUE as to how to cook them. LOL Most recipes take it for granated that you know HOW to cook just need the ingredients. Your site is a total life saver for people like me. My son is learning a lot too because I pass it on to him . He also loves this type of foods. The Hummus just blew him away. I hope to see more of him now that I am learning how to cook. LOL I truly do love you for your gift to me.

  14. Agneta says:

    Hello!

    I love your bowl and its colours. |More importantly, I really like your recipe.

    Kindly Agneta

  15. Malcolm Mc Donald says:

    Hello, Greeting from Paris.
    I found your website while searching for how to peel tomatoes (I’d forgotten). Then I browsed, as one does ;-)
    A suggestion for eggplant: After salting and rinsing, put the cubes in a salad spinner (device used to remove water from rinsed lettuce leaves) and give them a quick whizz. 99% of the water just flies off.

  16. Lora says:

    I love your site! Just tried this recipe with slight variations: I skipped the pre-salting step ( I have thin Ichiban-type eggplants) Then I poured a small amount of olive oil in a large bowl, mixed in some mild curry powder, then tossed the eggplant cubes to coat. Very yummy.

  17. Sylvia says:

    Thanks for your recipe. I combined it with a suggestion a friend made by sprinkling the rounds with a bit of balsamic vinegar before roasting. Delicious! I have prepared eggplant many different ways and this is the first time I have really loved the results.

  18. Carol Tierney says:

    On vacation in Maine bought a beautiful eggplant at the local farmer’s market, roasted it according to this recipe then mashed with a fork and added a few things that happened to be on hand: a little plain kefir, lemon juice and chopped cilantro (also from farmer’s market). Yum!!!

  19. Jitendra Gokhale says:

    I feel that the pre-salting helps in ensuring that the eggplants dont oxidise. Else if you cut them and keep them without process for some time they start turning brown,

  20. Kim says:

    I love this way of cooking eggplant and plan on freezing my eggplant, do I need to let it cool to room temp before freezing?

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hi Kim, I always try to cool off foods quickly before putting them in the freezer, so the heat from the food doesn’t affect the temperature balance in the freezer itself. The key is cooling the food quickly, because the longer you leave it at room temp the more bacteria starts to multiply. Take the eggplant off of the tray and put it into small separate containers, which will help it cool more rapidly. Make sure you freeze it within 2 hours of making it. Enjoy!

  21. Melilla Beverly says:

    I just made this recipe and it was amazing. I added the roasted eggplant to a salad with feta cheese and a squeeze of lemon and it was delicious. I did not soak in salt water and it was not bitter at all by the way. It was a perfect light, yet satisfying meal. I love all the different ideas that everyone is adding to this website. I want to try all the recommendations out! I have already told all my friends to check out the recipes. Everything is so perfectly spaced, people always add a new tip every couple weeks. You must have many fans because they are so loyal and post their best secrets! Please keep telling your friends to post tips. I never loved eggplant so much in my life. Thank you!

    • Tori Avey says:

      Thank you for noticing Melilla! I’m so proud of the cooking community that is growing here, and how everybody chips in their best ideas. Happy you’re here now too!

  22. Aimee C says:

    Cooked this up today & it turned out delicious! Used an organic “Greek seasoning” mix on half & a spicy Hungarian paprika on the other. Both were quite tasty. Thanks for the how-to!

  23. Rose says:

    Regarding the pre-salting: I’ve read somewhere that nowadays the eggplants are bred to remove the bitterness, hence salting is no longer necessary.

  24. Benita Kaimowitz says:

    Found your eggplant suggestions and thought I should hear from you regularly. :-)

  25. Doretta says says:

    Wow! Great new way to serve eggplant! It,s a novel way after years of eggplant park!

  26. renona menser says:

    this recipe was awesome after looking through so many other ones and also easy and very tasty!!!!! thanks

  27. Jose Tenorio says:

    I really enjoyed your recipe. I cooked it today for dinner, it was delicious. I served it with with tamales, we enjoyed it. Thanks You.

  28. helen-rebecca says:

    great recipe!….i topped mine with a few slices of goats cheese and continued to grill then drizzled with a chilli olive oil and served with toasted pitta bread and green salad and tomatoes…AMAZING!!!

  29. Olivia Lane says:

    Great instructions! Just shared the recipe via my blog. Thank you! Also your blog design is adorable.

  30. Laura says:

    This is a good time, temp., and size guideline for roasting eggplant. Roasting is a far healthier way of preparing these nutritional powerhouses. Remember though, if you want to get the full nutrient/health value eggplant has to offer – which is huge – leave those skins on! That’s where the highest concentration of fiber and nutrients are found.

  31. katherine says:

    I tried this tonight. Taste is ok, but ended up mushy. Followed directions exactly. Maybe oven overcooked them? We only have eggplant a few times a year and have not found an easy, yet tasty way to make them. Thanks for ideas!

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hi Katherine, oven temperatures can vary on average by 25-50 degrees, so your oven may be hotter than mine. Try cooking them for a shorter time period and see if that helps. They should be tender but not mushy; mushy means they cooked too long.

  32. Lynn says:

    As a first time eggplant roaster your help has been invaluable.. cheers!!

  33. Chira says:

    I took my eggplant out of the oven two minutes ago. Wow I love it! I salted, rinse and put them in the salad spinner as Malcolm suggested. Added a table spoon of olive oil, a few dash of garlic powder and cayenne pepper. I love eggplant, but I only know to either curry or grill it. Thanks to this great recipe I will be making it often. Yum!

  34. Heidi says:

    I made this tonight with red and green pepper strips. I followed your directions, and at the end, tossed in marinated steak strips. It was delicious! The family loved it and had no idea they were eating eggplant until the end of the meal. Great idea peeling and salting it first, it did cut way down on the bitter taste.

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