Summer Eggplant Parmesan

Whether you have a garden or visit your local farmers market, right now there should be an abundance of tender sweet eggplants and juicy tomatoes. The first thing that pops into my mind is eggplant parmesan. But in the summer, I certainly don’t want to spend lots of time in the kitchen with the oven on or standing over the stove frying eggplant. Therefore I created a summer eggplant parmesan cooked on the grill.

This is not your typical winter dish with breaded and fried eggplant, layers and layers of shredded cheese and sauce. Instead, it is a light and healthy version full of flavor that will surely become one of your summer favorites especially if you follow a vegetarian diet.

Ricotta cheese is sandwiched between two layers of grilled eggplant and a light marinara sauce with fresh basil and oregano in individual gratin dishes. They are then  topped with fresh mozzarella and placed in a covered grill to cook.  The result is a silky eggplant dish that has a smoky, nutty flavor.

Summer Eggplant Parmesan

Summer Eggplant Parmesan

This recipe makes two individual gratin dishes. Adjust the recipe accordingly.

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups basic homemade tomato sauce, or your favorite jarred marinara sauce
  • a handful of chopped fresh herbs, I used basil and oregano
  • approx. 1/4 c. ricotta
  • 2 tsp. grated asiago or parmesan cheese
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced (you will have some leftover)

Preheat your grill covered for about 10 minutes to get hot.

Warm the olive oil and minced garlic in a pan, remove from the heat and let infuse for several minutes. Place the sliced eggplant on a small baking pan, salt and brush with the infused oil on both sides. Reserve the minced garlic. Place the slices of eggplant on your grill and let cook for about 3 minutes on each side until tender and golden. Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.

In the meantime, heat the tomato sauce along with the fresh herbs and reserved garlic.

To assemble the dish, place a little of the sauce in the bottom of each flameproof gratin dish. Add 1/4 of the grilled eggplant to each dish. Top the eggplant with 1/2 the ricotta each and then sprinkle with the grated cheese. Then top each with the remaining eggplant. Spoon tomato sauce over the eggplant and top with sliced mozzarella.  Place the gratin dishes on a small baking sheet and place on your grill and cook with the lid down. Cook until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbling. Let cool a few minutes before serving.

***

There is one added bonus to this meal besides not having a hot kitchen and that is there is no greasy stove to clean from splattered oil that usually happens when frying eggplant. Since the eggplant is not breaded and fried, this is a very light dish…perfect for a summer evening. Served with a salad of crisp greens, a crusty piece of bread and a nice glass of your favorite wine, I think you will be smiling.

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182 thoughts on “Summer Eggplant Parmesan

  1. Love those recipes for the grill. Summer is the time to cook outdoors –it not only saves the kitchen from heating up, but seems so much more relaxed, too.
    Looks like another winner. Karen, your hubby must be in heaven.
    Have a great weekend,
    Sue

    1. Thank you Sue, for your nice compliment. My husband loved this summer version of eggplant parmesan. Unless it is raining, most all the cooking is taking place outside. We enjoy the outdoors as much as possible during the short summer season…I know you must as well.

  2. I was smiling just from reading this…I will probably break into full belly laughs and cartwheels should I make this scrumptiousness. Thanks!

  3. Love, love, love this Karen. I’ve got a vegetarian friend coming to the cottage on the Civic long weekend and this would be a perfect lunch! Plus, it gives me another opportunity to make ricotta! So wonderful, thank you!

  4. Nice creation Karen, it sounds delicious. We turn our grill into an oven as much as possible in the summer. We’re having our version of quick and easy eggplant parm tonight.

    1. Thank you Larry. I’m glad you like the sound of this dish. It really is delicious. I know you are out on your grill a lot and it does make a great oven. I hope you will be posting your version soon.

    1. Thank you Marie. The individual dishes works well with the soft texture of the ricotta. It makes a nice presentation when entertaining as well.

  5. Hi, Karen, my plans for dinner this eve just changed. I’m heading out to my local farm stand to get the ingredients for this dish. Eggplant Parmesan is a favorite with me and I love how you’ve lightened it up. Thanks so much! Carolyn

    1. Thank you Richard, for your nice compliment. I think you will really enjoy this version. It is healthy since it isn’t fried and oh so delicious.

  6. My favorite little eggplant to grow in the greenhouse is Slim Jim. They are small, tender and long. No peeling required. Can you get a full sized eggplant to grown in Maine?
    I love ‘cooking’ on the grill…. not just grilling. It’s a great reminder that you can actually put a whole cookie sheet in there. This is a great recipe and one we will definitely use. I love the efficiency too 🙂

    1. Hi Wendy, I’ll have to look for your variety. I have had better success in New Hampshire than Maine growing eggplant because of the short season. But I usually like to pick my eggplants when they are small so it is not too much of a problem. I’m glad you like the recipe…I hope you will enjoy it.

    1. Hi Norma, This really is healthier than when prepared with breaded and fried eggplant. The flavors of the eggplant and tomatoes really come through in this dish.

  7. One of our favorite meals:)

    I love the markets this time of year..when i see different ones you would think I was seeing gold!
    My neighbor is growing some the mauve flowers are so pretty~

    1. Hi Monique, I have to agree…I love the markets this time of the year. There are so many new varieties of vegetables to try. The eggplant blossoms are a lovely shade of mauve.

    1. I’m glad you like my summertime version. I really hate heating up the kitchen and the grill worked perfectly. I know your market must have real beauties right now.

    1. Hi Susan, My husband sounds a lot like yours and he loved this summer version. Come this winter he will want it the traditional way but that is when we all love comfort food. Using the grill for this dish works great.

    1. Hi Lulu, Don’t give up on your eggplant. Our cool June weather has slowed down my peppers this year. It is probably the same with your eggplant.

  8. Yummm… I had my eye on some eggplants at the market just the other day, now I know I will have to get some. I try to do all my cooking outdoors whenever possible. We have a side burner on our gas grill too- which I have to say I was skeptical about at first but now really love as I can do “pan” side dishes while bigger stuff grills! I would have never thought to make eggplant parm on the grill – great idea!

    1. Hi Carol, The eggplant are really good now. Summer eggplant usually aren’t bitter and have very small seeds. When we lived in Florida and our kitchen was being remodeled, I cooked every meal on a grill for a several months. A nice size grill with a side burner and a tray on the other side to hold your ingredients are all you need.

    1. Thank you Mary, for your nice compliment. Summer eggplant is sweet and has such little seeds…I love it too. I hope you will enjoy the recipe.

  9. This looks a great recipe. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen a UK grown aubergine (eggplant) or an organic one, so they aren’t something I buy very often these days. Maybe next year I should try growing them in the house?

    1. Hi Helen, Thank you for your nice compliment. That is so interesting that you haven’t seen a UK grown aubergine. I think they would do very well in your garden.

      1. For a good crop, it is best grown with the daytime temperatures around 75 to 85 F. and nighttime temperatures around 65 F. We get cooler temps sometimes so some blossoms don’t set but not a real problem.

      2. Seems like in the house would be the best option then as there are no guarantees of temps that high – we’ve got that at the moment but it varies so much for day to day and week to week.

    1. Thank you Reem, Summer is all about enjoying the outdoors. I love doing as much of my cooking outside as it helps keep with house cool so it is a win, win situation for me. This is perfect meal for the grill.

    1. Jed, I think you will really enjoy the flavor. The like smoky taste from grilling the eggplant and then finishing it in the covered grill gave it a wonderful taste. Thank you for your nice comment.

  10. I love eggplant, in fact I have one in the fridge that i have been trying to decide what to do, so you have now made the decision for me thanks. Have a great weekend Diane

    1. Hi Diane, I’m so happy that I have given you a recipe that you can use for your eggplant. I hope you and your husband we enjoy the meal. Have a lovely weekend as well.

    1. Hi Laura, Thank you for your compliment. When the weather is warm, I think we all like to eat a little lighter. My summer version of eggplant parmesan lets the flavors of the eggplant and tomatoes shine.

    1. Hi Donna, I think you will like my summer version on the grill. It is light and lets the smoky flavor of the eggplant be the star of the dish. I hope you have a great harvest from your garden.

    1. Hi Angie, Thank you for your compliment. This is a lighter version of the traditional recipe. I hope you get a chance to try the recipe.

  11. This is perfect for me … lonely diner … so this goes on file. Wonderful that you can use your own growing vegetables. You’re a great gardener and chef …

    1. Welcome home Viveka. This would be a nice meal for you. I really do enjoy having a summer garden…especially when it is right outside my door. Thank you for your very nice compliment.

      1. You, are so welcome. Thanks it’s great to me home .. with two suitcases full of laundry – I could done a couple of days in Toronto too. *smile – I envy your talent in gardening and growing.

      2. It was fun following along on your travels…wish it hadn’t been so hot. Yes, the laundry is the least favorite part of coming home.

    1. Thank you Jenny, for your nice compliment. It really is a quick and easy meal to put together and the flavors are great. It is a good marriage of ingredients.

  12. Karen I love your use of ricotta in this dish! I typically only layer with fresh whole milk mozzarella but the addition or sub of ricotta is brilliant. Definitely trying this next time. Beautiful!

    1. Thank you Karista, for your very nice compliment. I think you will enjoy the ricotta in this recipe as it lightens up the dish so much. Enjoy.

  13. Karen, this dish sounds delicious, and I like the idea of preparing it on the grill. Eggplant is something I eat very rarely, but this recipe just might entice me to try it again!

    1. I think you will enjoy this recipe, Marlene. The smokiness from grilling, the silky texture of the eggplant and ricotta is very good. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  14. Perfectly done recipe in individual dishes using some of my favorite ingredients. Eggplant is not as a matter of fact one of my favorite vegetables, but I do adore it cooked like this. Very lovely recipe and easy to make. Thanks. T

    1. Thank you Teresa, for your nice compliment. This is a very easy recipe to prepare. During the summer, fresh eggplant has tiny seeds and no bitterness. I think you would enjoy eating it prepared this way.

    1. Hi Diane, This really is an easy dish and doing it on the grill is perfect during the heat of summer. The smoky flavor from grilling the eggplant gives this dish such a lovely flavor that I think you will enjoy. Thank you for your nice comment.

  15. I love it!!! Eggplant Parmesan is one of our favorite dishes, but it’s too heavy to eat in the summer and too hot to bake in the oven. I love this lighter version and the fact that it’s cooked on the grill!!! Fabulous!

    1. Thank you very much MJ, for your nice compliment. I’m with you…as much as I like traditional eggplant parmesan it is too heavy for summertime eating. But this lighter version cooked outdoors turned out wonderful.

    1. Hi Dawn, Thank you for stopping by and your nice compliment. This is a great time of the year for fresh vegetables. I’m glad you like the summer version of eggplant parmesan.

    1. Hi Pat, I hope you are having a great time on your vacation. I think you will enjoy the summer eggplant parmesan. Thank you for your compliment.

  16. My husband would absolutely love this dish. He loves eggplant parm, I will definitely have to make this for him. And it’s so great that you’ve adapted the recipe to the grill.

    1. Hi Laura, I hope your husband will enjoy this light summer version. Of course the eggplant could be broiled and finished in the oven but I really try to cook outside as much as possible in nice weather. No need to heat up the kitchen unnecessarily.

  17. oh pick me! this is a stunning way to prepare a favourite collection of tastes, i have aubergine and piles of tomatoes that i have been making into sauce daily.. this will be perfect! c

  18. I see you are also a big aubergine fan. It’s funny that we all cook aubergine (oops I mean eggplant) at the same time. I love your light summer dish which confirms once more that eggplant doesn’t have to be soaked in oil.

    1. Hi Sissi, Aubergine or eggplant…whichever we call it, we all tend to love it no matter where we live. I think one of the reasons this dish is so light is that it isn’t soaked in oil, just enough for a nice flavor. I think it is perfect for summer.

  19. Hi Karen, this is definitely a perfect summer dinner! I’ve given up frying eggplant many, many years ago and prefer the oven. But for the summer, you are so right to grill! No heated kitchen and I bet has a nice twist on the taste having a bit of a charred grill. Great idea….now I just need to get a grill. Mine for some reason didn’t make the move and is not working!

    1. Hi Linda, It is nice to see you out in the blogworld again. I know you are getting settled into your new home…hope you get your grill working. Grilling the eggplant gives this dish a slight smoky taste which is delicious.

  20. Happy summer Karen! This looks delicious. I love eggplant Parmesan and given the fact I’ve been stuck in front of a hot stove at my restaurant everyday, it’s refreshing I can make this dish with the grill instead.

    1. Hi Emily, It is so good to hear from you! I appreciate that your stopped by to visit knowing how busy you are cooking in your own restaurant. This is definitely a dish that can keep you away from your hot stove. Continued luck on your new adventure.

    1. Thank you Ducky, for your nice comment. I like to cook outside as much as possible in the summer. Winter in New England will be here before I know it so I’m enjoying the warmth and sunshine while I can.

    1. Thank you Barbara, for your nice compliment. This is a simple vegetarian eggplant parmesan that is perfect for the summer weather. I’m glad you like it.

    1. Thank you John, for your nice compliment. As much as I like traditional eggplant parmesan, this lighter version for summer is good. Grilling the eggplant gave the dish a light smoky taste that really works.

  21. Karen, this is so beautiful! It kind of reminds me of something I can get in a French bistro or Italian trattoria!

    1. Thank you Jen, for your very lovely compliment. I think you are right…it is such a light and simple dish. Just what you might expect to find when traveling in Italy or France.

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