This grilled eggplant with spicy chickpeas is smoky and tender, and brimming with warm spices. A delicious vegetarian option, my grilled eggplant recipe is prepared with thick slices of eggplant brushed with harissa and olive oil, then grilled until charred and topped with warm, creamy, spiced chickpeas, grilled tomatoes, feta and herbs, plus harissa tahini sauce!
Eggplant Steaks Grilled to Perfection
For me, eggplant is super fun to get creative with in a variety of ways.
Whichever way I prepare and serve eggplant, we absolutely love it in our household, and find it a delicious option when we're craving a hearty-yet-comforting meal that can easily be made vegetarian.
Enter my grilled eggplant with spicy chickpeas recipe, one that makes use of thick slices of eggplant (eggplant “steaks”) brushed with a flavorful mix of olive oil, harissa seasoning, plus granulated garlic and onion.
Quickly grilled off for a few minutes until tender, charred and smokey on each side, the eggplant steaks are then ready for a mouthwatering and zesty topping of warm, creamy chickpeas kissed with spices, plus juicy and sweet cherry tomatoes.
Finished with a generous drizzle of harissa tahini sauce and feta, and a sprinkle of fresh dill, this grilled eggplant recipe is a zippy, zesty Middle Eastern-inspired dish that makes for a comfy-cozy vegetarian option!
My Recipe for Grilled Eggplant
To impart the much needed flavor to the eggplant, I simply brush the thick slices with a mixture of olive oil, harissa seasoning, granulated garlic and onion, plus salt and pepper.
I then grill the eggplant slices for a few minutes per side until they become a little charred on the outside, yet still tender on the inside.
That tender grilled eggplant pairs so well with some warm chickpeas simmered briefly with a bit of water or stock, some olive oil, garlic, harissa and smoked paprika, lightly mashed with a fork to create a creamy-chunky texture.
I also add some halved cherry tomatoes to the grill pan after the eggplant is removed, just to char those as well, and get them soft and juicy. Spooned over top of the chickpeas, the tomatoes offer some tang and sweetness!
Here's a glance at my grilled eggplant with spicy chickpeas recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I prepare my spicy chickpeas and have those ready and warm for serving.
- Next, I prepare my harissa tahini sauce to have on hand as a finishing touch.
- Then, I brush my eggplant slices with my flavorful olive oil mixture.
- I heat my grill pan and grill the eggplant for a few moments per side, until tender and charred.
- Once the eggplant is grilled, I add the cherry tomatoes to the grill pan for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, and allow them to soften and char.
- To assemble my grilled eggplant, I add two thick slices of grilled eggplant to a plate or shallow bowl, spoon over top some generous spoonfuls of the warm, creamy and spicy chickpeas, then top with some of the grilled cherry tomatoes.
- I drizzle over the mouthwatering harissa tahini sauce as well as some extra olive oil for silkiness, sprinkle over fresh dill and feta cheese, then serve.
Grilled Eggplant with Spicy Chickpeas
by Ingrid Beer
This scrumptious grilled eggplant is topped with creamy, spicy chickpeas, grilled tomatoes, and a garlic-y harissa tahini sauce!
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 542 calories per serving (two grilled eggplant slices and 3 tablespoons tahini sauce)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Grilled Eggplant ingredients:
- 2 (15 ounce cans) organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup water or stock (chicken or veggie)
- 1 ½ teaspoons harissa seasoning, divided use
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 2 medium globe eggplants, sliced lengthwise into 8, ¾ to 1 inch thick slices
- 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- Chopped fresh dill, mint, or parsley, for garnish
- Crumbled feta cheese, for garnish
Harissa Tahini Sauce ingredients:
- ¼ cup tahini
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, full fat
- ¼ cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 teaspoon harissa seasoning
- Squeeze lemon
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your harissa tahini ingredients according to the ingredients list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare the sauce, place all ingredients into a food processor and process until completely smooth and creamy. (Alternately, you can whisk all the ingredients, just use a little elbow grease.) Pour into a container and set aside.
- Next, gather and prep all of your grilled eggplant ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Place the chickpeas, the water or stock, ½ teaspoon of the harissa seasoning, the garlic, the smoked paprika, 2 to 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, plus a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper into a small pot or sauce pan, and stir to combine. Bring to a vigorous simmer, then reduce the heat slightly and allow the chickpeas to simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until tender.
- Once tender, use a fork to mash a portion of the chickpeas just a little bit, to create a creamy, saucy consistency. (You want to keep the majority of the chickpeas whole.) Finish with another generous drizzle of olive oil, and set aside, keeping the chickpeas warm.
- Next, in a small dish or ramekin, combine 4 to 5 tablespoons of olive oil with the remaining 1 teaspoon of harissa seasoning, the teaspoon of granulated onion, salt and black pepper, and stir with a fork or small whisk to blend.
- Place your eggplant slices onto a work surface, and brush each eggplant slice with some of the harissa oil, both front and back, to season the eggplant.
- Heat a large non-stick grill pan until very hot and smoking, then add some of the eggplant slices in (work in batches), grilling on that first side for 5 to 6 minutes. Flip and grill another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the eggplant is charred and nice and tender. Repeat with all eggplant slices.
- Once the eggplant is grilled, add the halved cherry tomatoes into the grill pan, and allow them to char and soften for about 45 seconds to 1 minute (you don't want them to completely break down). Spoon into a bowl to hold and keep warm.
- To assemble the grilled eggplant, place two grilled eggplant slices onto a plate or into a large, shallow bowl, then spoon over top of them a couple of generous spoonfuls of the warm, creamy and spicy chickpeas. Spoon over that a heaping spoonful or two of the grilled cherry tomatoes.
- Drizzle over some of the harissa tahini sauce plus a little extra olive oil for silkiness, then sprinkle over some fresh dill and feta, and serve.
Tips & Tidbits for my Grilled Eggplant with Spicy Chickpeas recipe:
- Medium-size globe eggplants for grilling: I opt for round, medium-size globe eggplant to create slices that sort of resemble eggplant “steaks” once grilled. I cut them on the thicker side (about ¾ to 1 inch thick), so they have some texture and “meatiness” to them.
- Make this recipe vegan: While this recipe is vegetarian, you can make it completely vegan by substituting non-dairy yogurt for the Greek yogurt called for in the harissa tahini sauce. Choose your favorite plain, non-dairy yogurt for this.
- Prepare ahead for convenience: You can prep this recipe ahead, if desired, by preparing all of the components and keeping them wrapped in separate dishes or containers. When ready to serve, gently re-heat the grilled eggplant steaks in a 350° oven until warmed through for a few minutes. Reheat the chickpeas on your stovetop, adding additional water or stock if they became too thickened. And, you can reheat the grilled tomatoes very quickly in the microwave, if desired.
Craving more mouthwatering eggplant recipes? Check out my Crispy Eggplant Burger, my Stuffed Eggplant, my Eggplant Involtini with Beef, my Grilled Eggplant Parmesan, or my Warm Eggplant Dip with Spiced Yogurt!