Roasted Eggplant with Harissa-Tahini Sauce, herbs, and roasted cashews. Serve this vegan roasted eggplant recipe as a stunning side dish or vegetarian main course.
Why You'll Love this Roasted Eggplant Recipe
This may be the most beautiful, flavorful ways to show off peak season eggplant. Eggplant turn buttery soft when roasted, creating such a versatile veggie dish. In this recipe, the eggplant is roasted twice: once plain, and again after being coated in a spicy-sweet glaze.
While the eggplant is delicious enough to eat alone, the Harissa-Tahini Sauce really makes it shine. A simple mix of tahini, lemon juice, harissa, maple syrup, and garlic, it boasts top-notch creaminess and dimension.
Serve this roasted eggplant as the main event, or a goes-with-everything side. It's easy enough to prepare for weeknight dinner, yet impressive enough for entertaining.
- Eggplant: You can either use globe eggplants or Japanese eggplants in this recipe. Globe are the large, seedy eggplants with dark purple skin--the most common variety you'll find in the produce section. Japanese, on the other hand, are long and skinny with sweeter flavor. The key is just to make sure all of the eggplants are roughly the same size.
- Harissa paste: Harissa is a peppery chili paste that originally hails from Tunisia. It's a staple in many Tunisian, Israeli, and Moroccan dishes, and is now widely available at most grocery stores. Its flavor ranges from mild and sweet, to spicy and smoky. My go-to brand is Mina Harissa, which I opt to get in mild as opposed to spicy. You can find it at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Amazon, and many more large retailers.
- Tahini: A powerhouse sesame seed butter, tahini adds nutty depth to both sweet and savory recipes. In this sauce, tahini teams up with harissa and lemon to create a bright, toasty, and seductively sweet sauce. In terms of brands, Soom is certainly my go-to for its smooth texture and rich, nutty flavor. To try any Soom products for 10% off, simply enter code ‘dishingouthealth’ at checkout!
- Crunch. Crunch is KEY when it comes to elevating eggplant dishes. And because the eggplant turns so soft and creamy after roasting, cashews add much-needed texture and dimension. Alternatively, you can use peanuts, pine nuts, or pumpkin seeds.
- Fresh Herbs. Never underestimate the power of a fresh herb finish. I use a blend of cilantro and mint, which adds bright, fresh flavor. However just about any fresh herb you have lingering in your refrigerator—basil, parsley, dill, and even chives—will be tasty here.
Step 1: Roast the Eggplant
Place a rack in the upper third of oven, and preheat to 400°F. Use a sharp knife to score flesh of eggplant in a crosshatch design. Brush eggplant halves with olive oil, and lightly season with salt. Roast, skin side down, on a rimmed baking sheet until tender but not browned, about 23 to 25 minutes.
Step 2: Prepare the Harissa-Tahini Sauce
Meanwhile, prepare the Harissa-Tahini Sauce by combining tahini, lemon juice, harissa, maple syrup, and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk to combine, and season with salt and pepper. If needed, add 1 tsp. water to thin out to desired consistency.
In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, soy sauce, harissa, and maple syrup; stir with a whisk. Set aside.
Step 3: Brush Glaze on Eggplant, and Roast Again
Remove eggplant from the oven and increase oven temperature to 450°F. Brush soy sauce mixture over flesh of eggplant, letting it seep into the scores. Place eggplant back in the oven, and roast until glaze is golden and bubbling, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Step 4: Garnish and Serve
Transfer roasted eggplant to a serving platter, and drizzle Harissa-Tahini Sauce overtop. Lastly, scatter cashews overtop and garnish with fresh herbs. Serve immediately, and enjoy!
FAQs and Expert Tips:
Make Ahead and Storage Instructions:
While this recipe is best enjoyed fresh, it can certainly be made ahead.
- To Make Ahead. Roast your eggplant halves up to 1 day in advance, and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also make the Harissa-Tahini Sauce in advance and also store in the refrigerator. Rewarm the eggplant halves in a 300ºF oven just before serving with sauce/garnishes.
- To Store. Place leftover eggplant in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I suggest storing your toppings/garnishes separately, as the herbs won't stay crisp after being refrigerated and reheated.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm the eggplant (without sauce/garnishes, if possible) on a baking sheet in the oven at 350ºF. Once warm, drizzle sauce overtop, and top with cashews and fresh herbs.
What to Serve with Roasted Eggplant:
Whether you decide to serve this dish as the main course or a side, you're in for a treat! It's extremely versatile and pairs well with many options.
- In terms of animal proteins, this eggplant is a fab complement to roasted chicken or sautéed salmon. The flavor profile of this Curried Maple Mustard is an especially delicious pairing.
- For vegetarian fare, you can't go wrong with crispy tofu, tempeh, or bean balls. My personal favorites are Black Pepper Tofu, Marinated Peanut Baked Tempeh, or my famous Chickpea Meatballs.
- Or, if you just need a fresh, crunchy salad on the side, you can't go wrong with my speedy Cucumber Sesame Salad.
More Baked Eggplant Recipes to Try:
Roasted Eggplant with Harissa-Tahini Sauce
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Small mixing bowls
- 2 small to medium globe eggplants (about 2 lbs.), ends trimmed and halved lengthwise
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 Tbsp. lower-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tsp. mild harissa
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- Kosher salt
- Chopped roasted cashews and fresh herbs for garnish (I like parsley or mint)
- Place a rack in the upper third of oven, and preheat to 400°F. Use a sharp knife to score flesh of eggplant in a crosshatch design. Sprinkle generously with salt, and let sit for 20 minutes. Use a paper towel to blot condensation from eggplant. (Salting the eggplant before roasting draws out excess moisture so the eggplant is less bitter and more tender.)Transfer eggplant to a baking sheet and coat with 1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Bake, flesh side-down, for 20 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp. olive oil, soy sauce, harissa, and maple syrup; stir with a whisk. Remove eggplant from the oven and increase oven temperature to 450°F.Brush soy sauce mixture over flesh of eggplant, letting it seep into the scores. Turn eggplant back over so it's flesh side-down, and roast for another 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the Harissa-Tahini Sauce by combining tahini, lemon juice, harissa, maple syrup, and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk to combine, and season with salt and pepper. Add 1 Tbsp. water to thin out, if needed.
- Transfer roasted eggplant to a serving platter, and drizzle Harissa-Tahini Sauce overtop. Garnish with chopped cashews and fresh herbs.