grilled lemon-and-garlic marinated eggplants

melt in the mouth, grilled eggplants marinated in garlic, lemon juice and olive oil

I think nobody who doesn’t know me already is ever going to find this recipe. There’s 1 million and 970 thousand hits for “grilled eggplants” on Google. With more than 2 million people out there who can grill eggplants this is probably going to be slightly redundant.

The thing is, I did not grow up with grilled eggplants. I have only learned how to make them in relatively recent times.

My mum – as every good Sicilian – only used fried eggplants. She put those juicy slabs on pasta and parmigiana , smothered in thick  tomato sauce and sprinkles of fragrant basil. Heavenly, but with the inconvenient characteristic of migrating directly to the hips to accentuate unwanted rotundity.

On the other hand, the world is full of badly grilled eggplants. Have you ever returned from the BBQ/grill with those stripey bitter shoe-soles trying to decide if they were suitable for human consumption?

Did you swear you’ll never make them again?

Try this. It’s foolproof, smoke-free 🙂 and tastes lovely and light.


  • 1 eggplant / aubergine
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

First of all, please make sure to use plump, fresh eggplants in season. Winter ghosts will not do.

As for cooking, best results are obviously obtained with a charcoal/wood BBQ, but a stove-top cast iron grill is a valid alternative and much faster.

While your cooking implement is heating up, peel and cut eggplants crosswise into 3-4 mm (1/10 inch) thick slices. Transfer in a plate making no more than two layers. Place the olive oil, garlic and lemon juice in shallow bowl to make a marinade. Add some chopped basil or parsley if you like.

Here comes the first surprise. Pop them in the microwave for 1-2 min until they just start getting moist and tender.

And the second surprise. Grill the slices without oiling them, you’ll have no smoke.

As soon as the slices are cooked through and slightly charred transfer them in the marinade and covered so they will infuse.

If you have time, prepare them a couple of hours in advance and serve at room temperature . You can also serve them sooner but let them cool off a little. Season with salt just before serving.

Serves 2-3 as a side dish.

PS. In contrast to common – but seemingly unfounded – lore abut nightshades, “eggplant is a healthy vegetable” says Helen Nichols in “27 science-based healt benefits of eggplant“.



29 thoughts on “grilled lemon-and-garlic marinated eggplants

  1. Hello, I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. Thank you for the tip of microwaving the eggplant before putting on the grill. That solves the problem of it getting dry before it is cooked through.


  2. “In the microwave”? OK, I shall try that but it’ll have to be our secret, OK? Myself I never fry eggplant in oil, painting them with olive oil and throwing them under the broiler seems to work fine and to my sensibilities is “traditional” ever since seeing a cousin do as such in Sicily…. I shall try your recipe this week well knowing that the marriage twixt eggplant and lemon will be more than stellar, thanks so much for the share…
    Talking about short cuts, Years ago dear Aunt Rosy used to make “easy” eggplant parmigiana when she’d boil (drown) slices of eggplant in oil, place the layers in a baking dish along with ketchup, canned Parmisano and slices of American cheese then bake away… Though her kitchen hit an all time culinary low all of us would eat everything presented, not because the food passed our approval but because she had one element she added to her recipes that can’t be bought, that being a real love of feeding us, God bless her.


    1. ahhh GB what a good story this one of Aunt Rosy! I must reassure you with the fact that my shortcut has hardly a measurable effect on the final flavor which is actually completely authentic. In fact you could quickly blanch the eggplants in boiling water to obtain the same effect. The idea is to slightly soften the slices so they will be cooked inside by the time they are caramelized outside. It’s a time saver but a flavor “preserver” 🙂


  3. Can’t wait to try this on my cast iron grill pan. I totally trust you and Giselle for good food preparation advice. Can’t wait to finally meet you in November!
    Lynn Guardino


  4. Made these tonight, unpeeled! Everyone, including me, of course, LOVED them! I sliced up one large aubergine and it made 3 griddle-pans worth – all gone!
    I have more aubs – I think I’ll do the melanzane rolls you did for me the other week next!


  5. I don’t know you and I found this recipe! Simple and surprisingly good, thanks very much. Just back from a brief visit to Rome and needed to revisit that taste!


  6. Thankyou!!!! Found your link on Foodpress(no other grilled eggplant on the page 😉 ). Super simple and looks great!! Thanks!!! (Can I re-blog your recipe please? I’ll put in a link for this page and credit you and everything.)


    1. Hi Anna
      I’d love for you to reblog the recipe in your own words and with your own photos and then wit a link to my recipes. I always love it when others try my recipes. Reblogging other peopel’s content is never a good idea for Google purposes. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!


  7. Hi I’ve just found this recipe after subscribing today and as an aubergine obsessive cant wait to try it! Thing is in the UK its hard to find good plump aubergines, and i dont have a microwave, do you have any tips on alternative prepping? Thanks a lot!


    1. Hi and thank you for your visit! It’s not strictly nevessary to microwave the aubergine slices before grilling, it will only take longer, but the end product will be as delicious. Enjoy!


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