Grilled Baby Eggplant Parmesan

Looking for a fresher, healthier take on eggplant parm? Try our Grilled Baby Eggplant Parmesan, which is cooked entirely on the grill and requires no breading or frying. Baby eggplant is ideal for grilling because it has tender skin and is less fibrous and tough than the larger kind. Make sure the cut sides are evenly coated with oil to prevent them from sticking to the grates. You can tell eggplant is done cooking when the flesh changes from white to golden brown and is tender when pierced with a knife. Top the grilled eggplant halves with your favorite jarred marinara sauce. Our Test Kitchen prefers Rao's brand or your usual tomato sauce recipe, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella and continue cooking on the grill until the cheeses have melted. All you need is a loaf of crusty bread and a side salad to round out the meal, and dinner's ready!

Grilled Baby Eggplant Parmesan
Photo: Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch; Food Styling: Anna Hampton
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
4 serves


  • 4 small (10 to 12 oz. each) eggplants, halved lengthwise

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 cup jarred marinara sauce

  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves


  1. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high (400°F to 450°F) on 1 side. Sprinkle cut sides of eggplants evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and let stand for 10 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

  2. Brush cut sides of eggplants evenly with oil, and sprinkle with pepper and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Place eggplants, cut sides down, on oiled grates over the lit side of the grill. Grill, covered, until eggplants are tender and grill marks appear, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn eggplants. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes.

  3. Move eggplants to oiled grates over the unlit side of the grill, and top evenly with marinara, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and mozzarella. Grill, covered, until cheeses are melted and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and sprinkle evenly with basil leaves. Serve immediately.

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