halved eggplant on grill

Grilled Eggplant: An Easy Barbecue Side Dish

If you want to impress your guests the next time you’re firing up the grill, there are a variety of delicious sides to choose from. Whether it’s a good coleslaw, prime season corn on the cob, baked beans, or banana pudding, the experts agree that the sides are key to a great barbecue experience. And while whichever options you serve will help your guests build a more varied plate, the ideal one will deliver flavors and textures that harmonize with whatever’s on the grill like charred eggplant.

This type of fruit has a meaty texture that makes it extra tasty when charred on the grill, providing the perfect alternative for your vegetarian friends. When it’s cooked this way it imparts a smoky and sweet taste that pairs perfectly with any main dish or protein you’re serving. Eggplant can also take on any seasonings you like, which makes it easy to customize for different palates.

Different way to season and serve eggplant

eggplant salad in wooden bowl

Eggplants are often used as a vegetarian alternative and you can find them served as a main course in many different applications. One delectable way you can prepare them on the grill this summer is the Jamaican jerk technique, which involves cutting them into thick steaks and brushing them with the same jerk marinade you’d use on chicken. This way, you manage to offer two options — a tasty side for your meat-eating guests and a main one for those who don’t.

In fact, you can prepare this type of fruit the same way with any protein you’re preparing. Simply glaze it as long as you should be marinating other veggies, toss it on the grill, and you have a complimentary side that can also function as a main course. From there, the eggplant can be thrown between two buns, with or without the meat, served on rice, or simply on its own as a side to the rest of the meal.

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Aside from preparing it as a meat alternative, you can also grill the aubergine and chop it up with or without the skin to make a Mediterranean-style salad. Tossed with fresh peppers, tomatoes, mint, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, and zaatar, it’ll be the perfect side if you’re grilling chicken or fish. You can also mash it up with tomatoes for a Moroccan zaalouk or puree it into a quick baba ganoush.

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