Simple and delicious roasted eggplant recipe that is bursting with bold flavors. This dish features a crispy brown outside with a creamy sweet inside then is topped with a garlicky Cuban mojo sauce.
Note this post was updated September 20, 2019.
Roasted Eggplant Recipe Inspiration
Roasted eggplant is great whether you’re a meat eater or vegan. I’ve used previously used cuban mojo sauce on meat dishes like pork and chicken often, but wanted to try the flavor on vegetables. Eggplant is one of those vegetables that works pretty well in dishes that would ordinarily call for meat.
Let me interrupt this post and make a public service announcement, I pledge to get more eggplant into my life. Eggplant has to be one of the most underrated vegetables out there. How many of you look at an oblong weirdly shaped purple veggie and know what to do with it? If you’re like me and have no clue how to prepare at home – cut it into wedges, rub with olive oil, season simply, roast and finish with a good sauce. Roasting brings out the rich, intense flavor of eggplant. The eggplant is transformed into smokey, decadent deliciousness.
I discovered eggplant in middle school. We were studying Egyptian history in my social studies class and one of my classmates brought in an eggplant dish as part of his presentation. I wouldn’t describe the all-boys school the bastion of maturity so as you’d expect we clowned our poor friend and denounced eggplant as Egyptian poop. The reality is I kind of enjoyed it, but having grown-up on beans and rice I had no frame of reference. Eggplant was a new world food for me. I made a mental note of its smokiness, but it would be years before I ever had eggplant again.
Most eggplant recipes call for a tomato or yogurt based sauce given popularity of eggplant in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. I wanted to change things up and add some Summer Caribbean influence. I’ve been experimenting with Cuban mojo sauce recipes and felt like it would be a great compliment to the smoky oven roasted eggplant. The beauty of mojo is it tastes wonderful, brightens any dish, and is super simple to make!
What is the texture of roasted eggplant?
Warning I bring up texture early in this post to set the proper expectations. Eggplant becomes extra creamy and soft when you roast it, so if this ain’t your desired texture then stop here as you will surely be disappointed. Otherwise, continue on and brace yourself for smoky, creamy goodness and then some.
What if I want a less mushy recipe?
There are a few things you can do to minimize the mushy factor if you’re concerned.
- Start with firm fresh eggplant. Give a nice squeeze to test.
- Salt the eggplant for 15 minutes or so before cooking and drain any moisture off the cut pieces
- Use smaller eggplant varieties.
What are the different types of eggplant?
There are about 10 different types of eggplant. They range in color, size, and flavor. For details on the many different types of eggplant check-out this article on the visual breakdown of the many varieties.
How to Buy Eggplant
As mentioned earlier shoot for eggplant that is firm to touch. Avoid those that have any sunken spots. Most stores will carry the traditional larger eggplant. These are great for most dishes but smaller medium size eggplant works best for this recipe. They cook faster
What type of eggplant works best for this dish?
Japanese eggplants are ideal if your store has them. If not you’ll have to cut the larger traditional ones into smaller wedges. Japanese eggplant have the added benefit in being more uniform in size and therefore make for more uniform slices. They also also tend to be less bitter.
How to Roast Eggplant
Eggplant is simple to roast only requiring a few easy steps.
- Cut eggplant in half, and then slice again to form wedges. Larger eggplant may require an additional slicing.
- Salt the wedges and place in a colander allowing it to sweat and drain for about 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse the eggplant and pat dry with paper towels.
- Brush with olive oil and season as you wish and roast until soft.
smoky roasted eggplant recipe cooking tips
- Be careful with olive oil amount. Eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge instantaneously so for most recipes you’ll want to be generous, but not so much that it becomes saturated with oil. Of all the cooking methods, roasting probably requires the least amount of oil.
- If using a sauce choose one that compliments eggplant in flavor vs. muting it. I personally stay away from big tomato based sauces as they tend to hand that natural, rich, and smokey flavor. The Cuban mojo sauce with its garlicky citrus profile actually acts as a flavor enhancer.
- Choose eggplant with a smooth, shiny skin that’s unwrinkled and cook at it’s freshest
- Be sure to cook thoroughly to get that meltingly soft and creamy texture and to maximize flavor; fully cooking also makes it more receptive to other flavors.
- roasted eggplant with cuban mojo sauce
Roasted Eggplant with Cuban Mojo Sauce
If you make this easy, spicy roasted eggplant recipe please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them. You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.
Smoky Roasted Eggplant Ingredients
- 2 medium eggplants halved each half cut into 4 wedges
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp Paprika
- Kosher salt and pepper
Cuban Mojo Sauce Ingredients
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 2/3 cup fresh sour orange juice or 1/3 cup of fresh orange juice and 1/3 cup of fresh lime juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Smoky Roasted Eggplant Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line 1 medium baking pan with parchment paper. Place the eggplant wedges and olive oil in a large bowl, season with paprika, salt and pepper, then toss to coat well. Arrange the eggplant on the pan in a single layer, then bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the eggplant has softened and is a deep golden color.Place the roasted eggplant on a serving platter, drizzle with the mojo sauce then serve sprinkled with more paprika.
Cuban Mojo Sauce Instructions
- Place garlic in a mortar and pestle. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and work into a smooth paste.
- In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, sour orange juice, oil, oregano, cumin. Season with salt and pepper to taste.