What Goes With Eggplant

19 Amazing Eggplant Pairings For You To Try

· September 14, 2022

Aubergines are known as “poor man’s meat”, but I prefer to think of them as “vegetarian’s rich treat”, especially when you crave something hearty and “meaty” but don’t want to eat actual meat.

Yotam Ottolenghi - The Guardian

Eggplant Pairings

After spending hours scouring recipe books and conducting tasting experiments, I've found the following flavor pairings all go well with Eggplant. Click on any match to view its flavor matches.

  • Basil

    E.g. Thai basil and eggplant stir-fry.In the Thai dish “Pad Prik Pao Ma Kua” rich, creamy eggplant is stir-fried with sweet and spicy Thai basil, smoky Thai chilli paste and oyster sauce. The simplicity of the recipe demonstrates just how solid a pairing this is.

  • Fig

    E.g. Marinated Eggplant & Caramelized Fig.My wife brought back a load of treats from the local Dean and DeLuca deli the other night. One box which caught my attention was labelled Eggplant and Fig. I had never heard of pairing these two together so was curious to find out how they tasted.

    Opening the box I found bite sized pieces of fried egg plant along with fig halves in a sticky sweet marinade.

    The two flavors paired shockingly well. I wasn't expecting them to taste this good. Unlike pairings which work because of the contrast they create such as honey and lime, these two flavors worked together to bring out the best in each other.

    The eggplant's creamy flesh helped to round out the sweetness in the figs and the figs highlighted eggplants own natural sweetness. I'm so used to eating eggplant in savory middle eastern dishes I've never really noticed their sweet side but in this dish it was hard to miss it.

    The recipe asks for eggplant to be pan fried and then set aside whilst figs are cooked in a caramelized honey sauce. Both the eggplant and figs are then mixed with a marinade of honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and rosemary.

    The recipe was so good I went hunting online hoping to find something even barely similar but the exact Dean and DeLuca recipe has been made available by the online site InStyle and you can read it here.

  • Ginger

    E.g. Japanese simmered egg plant with fresh ginger.Japanese food is great because it keeps things simple and let's the ingredients do the talking. This dish is a case in point.

    Chop up some egg plant and make lots of fine slices into each chunk to help flavor seep through. Then gently heat sesame oil in a pan and add the egg plant.

    After briefly cooking and coating the egg plant in the oil, add a mixture of 3 parts water and 1 part mentsuyu (soy sauce will do in a pinch). Add enough to fill the pan 1cm deep. Cover and simmer gently until the eggplant has cooked.

    Meanwhile grate a teaspoon's owrth of ginger into a fine paste. Spoon the eggplant and juices into a bowl and top with the ginger and then tuck in! ( Or chill it in the fridge for a hot summers day).

  • Lamb

    E.g. Mousakka.The soul-warming Mousakka is one of Greece’s most famous traditional dishes. It is comprised of layers of fried creamy eggplant, chunky potato slices, and succulent lamb mince in a tomato and herb sauce. The final layer is then covered with béchamel sauce and grated cheese and baked in the oven until it turns crispy golden brown.

  • Lentils

    E.g. Lentils with grilled aubergine.Yotam Ottolenghi is willing to bet his lentil recipe will become one of your favorites.

    Roasted celery, onion, tomatoes and fresh herbs are combined with cooked puy lentils and the smoky flesh of slowly grilled eggplants.

  • Sesame

    E.g. Baba ganoush.Whilst most people have heard of hummus, there are plenty who don't know about Baba Ganoush, a rich smoky dip made from roasted eggplants and tahini (sesame seed paste).

    Slowly roast some aubergines either on a bbq, under the grill, in the oven, or one by one over a gas flame. Cook until their skins turn black and their flesh softens into a gooey mixture.

    Score a line down each of their lengths and fold them out to expose their smoky flesh. Then spoon the flesh into a bowl and mix with generous amounts of tahini, garlic, and lemon. Add a little paprika too if you feel like it and serve with pita bread.

  • Walnut

    E.g. Makdous - eggplant stuffed with walnuts and peppers.The spicy and tangy Makdous has its roots in Syria, where cooks would stuff baby eggplants with walnuts, red peppers, chillis, and garlic, and then slowly pickle them in olive oil in airtight jars. The process creates a lovely tangy flavor, and the crunchy walnuts contrast brilliantly with the eggplants' soft cured flesh.