These vegetarian Asian Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches are flavorful and easy to make! They're served with kimchi and miso mayo on toasted buns.
If you're looking for ways to utilize eggplant, be sure to check out this Eggplant Sandwich! It's roasted on the grill and bursting with Asian flavors.
I love eggplant because it is so incredibly versatile. It is the quintessential 'blank canvas' ingredient that takes on whatever flavors are added to it.
Eggplant (also known as aubergine or brinjal) is utilized in cuisines all around the world and can be used to make everything from casseroles to pizza to dips.
It has a 'meaty' texture and can be used in place of meat, as is the case with these grilled eggplant sandwiches. The neutral flavor and tender texture of the grilled eggplant makes it perfect for stuffing into a sandwich.
The eggplant slices are paired with tangy and spicy kimchi and a simple miso mayo to create a flavorful vegetarian meal that rivals any burger out there.
This recipe is a great way to utilize garden eggplant, or the eggplant you picked up at your local farmer's market.
Should I Salt The Eggplant Before Grilling?
In the past, salting the eggplant helped to draw out any bitter flavors that were present. Nowadays, much of the bitterness has been bred out of eggplant, so it is not always necessary to salt it first.
Whether or not to salt eggplant before cooking can depend on the cooking method used and the desired outcome. I prefer to salt eggplant before making eggplant Parmesan, because it makes for a creamier texture overall.
I do not find it necessary to salt eggplant before roasting, grilling, or sautéing it.
The eggplant used to make these sandwiches is simply cut into slices and seasoned with kosher salt and pepper before grilling. It does not need to be salted ahead of time.
Does The Eggplant Need To Be Peeled First?
Peeling the eggplant before grilling is entirely optional. It is not necessary to peel the eggplant first, but you certainly can if you do not care for the taste and texture.
I recommend using small to medium size eggplants when making these eggplant sandwiches. The skin of smaller eggplants is sweeter and more tender than larger eggplants.
Feel free to peel the eggplants first if using larger eggplants, or if you simply do not care for the taste and texture of the skin.
Ingredients For Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches
Here's what you'll need to make them.
- 2 Italian Eggplants (medium sized)
- 6 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- ¾ tsp. each Kosher Salt and Pepper
- ½ cup Mayo
- 2 Tbsp. Miso Paste
- 1 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
- 2 cups Kimchi (store-bought or homemade)
- Gluten Free Buns (or regular buns if not gluten free)
- Thai Basil for garnish (optional)
How To Prepare Eggplant For Grilling
The process of preparing the eggplant for these grilled eggplant sandwiches is incredibly easy. I used to think that grilling eggplant included a bunch of complicated steps, but that is not the case at all when it comes to this recipe.
All that's needed is to cut 2 medium-sized Italian (or globe) eggplants into slices. The eggplant slices are then basted with olive oil and seasoned with kosher salt and pepper.
There are a number of different varieties of eggplant out there. The most common ones include Italian eggplant and Globe (also known as American) eggplant.
These two varieties are large and bulbous, making them a great choice for hearty dishes like casseroles and sandwiches.
You can find Italian (or globe) eggplants in the produce section of most supermarkets, or at your local farmer's market during the late summer months.
Smaller varieties, such as graffiti, Chinese, or Japanese eggplant are smaller and better suited for dishes like soups, stews, and stir-fries.
- Start by washing and drying 2 medium sized Italian (or globe) eggplants. Cut the top and bottom portion of the eggplants off and discard. Peel the eggplants if desired (peeling them is not necessary).
- Cut the eggplant into slices that are ½ inch thick. Try to cut them the same size to ensure that they cook evenly on the grill.
- Place the sliced eggplant on a baking sheet and brush the first side with 3 Tbsp. olive oil. A basting brush is a great way to distribute the olive oil evenly over all of the eggplant slices.
- Sprinkle ¼ tsp. each kosher salt and pepper over the eggplant slices.
- Flip each of the eggplant slices over and repeat the process again.
- Brush another 3 Tbsp. olive oil over the eggplant and sprinkle with another ¼ tsp. kosher salt and pepper.
Make sure that the eggplant is generously coated (but not saturated) with olive oil. This will prevent them from sticking to the grill and help to create some beautiful grill marks.
How To Grill Eggplant Slices
Grilling the eggplant is an easy and healthy way to enjoy it.
As mentioned, eggplant tends to absorb any flavors that are added to or served alongside with it. These grilled eggplant slices are perfect paired with the Asian flavors of the kimchi and miso mayonnaise.
- The first step is to heat a grill (charcoal or gas) to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once heated, place the sliced eggplant on the grill grates directly over the heat.
- Place the cover on the grill and cook over direct heat for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, flip each of the eggplant slices, cover the grill, and cook for another 5 minutes over the direct heat.
- Remove the sliced eggplant from the grill and set aside.
How To Tell When Grilled Eggplant Is Done
The eggplant should be tender, but not mushy when it is done cooking on the grill.
The surface should have some nice grill marks, but it should not be completely charred.
Feel free to cook for an additional couple of minutes if necessary. Alternately, the eggplant may be removed before the end of the cooking time if it seems like it is cooking too quickly.
The grilled eggplant will have a slightly smoky flavor after it is cooked.
How To Make Miso Mayo
The element of these sandwiches that knocks them out of the park is the miso mayo that's slathered onto the toasted buns before serving.
Miso is a fermented soybean paste that's used heavily in Japanese cooking. It's salty and provides a great 'umami' flavor to any dish.
Miso paste is added to everything from soups to dipping sauces to marinades and provides a great depth of flavor.
It's often sold as 'white' or 'yellow', or 'red' miso in most grocery stores. I recommend using white or yellow miso paste to make this miso mayo, as it has a slightly more mellow flavor.
Miso paste is often gluten free, but make sure to check the label first if gluten is an issue for you.
- To make the miso mayo, simply place ½ cup of mayo (can use vegan mayo to keep this recipe vegan), 2 Tbsp. miso paste, 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar, and a pinch of kosher salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Stir all of these ingredients until completely combined using a small whisk or fork.
- The mixture will be a little clumpy at first. Continue to whisk until the miso paste has completely incorporated into the mayo. The mixture should be smooth and creamy once combined.
How To Make Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches
Once the eggplant is grilled and the miso mayo prepared, all that's left is to assemble the sandwiches.
I recommend toasting the buns before assembling the sandwiches, as it makes for some extra flavor and crunchy texture.
Feel free to use your favorite variety of burger buns to make these sandwiches. This recipe is gluten free, so I opted for gluten free burger buns, but any buns will work if gluten is not an issue for you.
- Start by slathering a generous amount of the miso mayo onto one (or both) sides of a toasted bun.
- Add 2-3 slices of grilled eggplant on top of the mayo.
- Spoon a generous amount of kimchi (store bought or homemade) on top of the sliced eggplant.
- Garnish the sandwich with a few sprigs of Thai basil (optional).
- Repeat with the remainder of the sandwiches (this recipe yields 6 sandwiches).
The kimchi adds a huge boost of flavor, so I recommend not skipping this step.
You can use homemade kimchi, or any variety of store-bought kimchi.
Make sure to choose a brand that is gluten free if gluten is an issue for you. To keep this recipe vegan, opt for a brand that is vegan as well.
What To Serve With Eggplant Sandwiches
These sandwiches are minimal in terms of ingredients, but those ingredients produce maximum flavor.
You can definitely dress these eggplant sandwiches up even more with the addition of your favorite veggies, pickled Asian sides, or hot sauce.
Feel free to add some sliced tomatoes or greens for extra freshness.
Cucumber kimchi, pickled carrots or daikon radish, or any fermented veggies would make a great addition, or can be served on the side.
Sriracha, or any Asian hot sauce is perfect for a spicy kick.
If you're feeling really ambitious, feel free to whip up a batch of Thai basil pesto to serve on top of the sandwiches.
Looking for more grilled recipes? Don't miss these!
- BBQ Sweet Potatoes
- Thai Chicken Bowls
- Asian Grilled Chicken Wings
- Grilled Corn Feta Salad
- Chicken Kofta Kebabs
- Italian Grilled Chicken Sandwich
- Blue Cheese Burgers
How Long Do These Sandwiches Last In The Fridge?
Any leftover grilled eggplant may be stored for 1-2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Leftover miso mayo may be stored in a separate airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge. Feel free to use any leftover mayo as a spread for sandwiches, on top of grilled fish or seafood, or as a dipping sauce for veggies.
I recommend storing all of the components of these sandwiches separately, so that everything stays as fresh as possible.
Love eggplant? Check out these recipes!
- Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan Fries
- Smoky Baba Ghanoush
- Garden Vegetable Lasagna
- Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad
- Farmers Market Pizza
Looking For More Eggplant Recipes? Don't Miss These!
Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches with Miso Mayo
- Grill charcoal or gas
- 2 medium eggplants Italian or American eggplants
- 6 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. kosher salt split
- ½ tsp. pepper split
- ½ cup mayo
- 2 Tbsp. miso paste white or yellow
- 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 2 cups kimchi store-bought or homemade
- 6 gluten free buns or regular buns if not gluten free
- ¼ cup Thai basil for garnish optional
For The Eggplant:
- Wash and dry 2 medium-sized Italian (or globe) eggplants. Cut the top and bottom portion of the eggplants off and discard. Peel the eggplants if desired (peeling them is not necessary).
- Cut each eggplant into slices that are ½ inch thick. Try to cut them the same size to ensure that they cook evenly on the grill.
- Heat either a charcoal grill or gas grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once heated, place the sliced eggplant on the grill grates over direct heat. Place the cover on the grill and cook over direct heat for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, flip each of the eggplant slices, cover the grill, and cook for another 5 minutes over the direct heat. Remove the sliced eggplant from the grill and set aside.The eggplant should be tender, but not mushy when done cooking. Feel free to cook an additional couple of minutes if needed.
- Toast the buns on the grill just until the bread is slightly crispy.
For The Miso Mayo:
- Stir all of these ingredients until completely combined using a small whisk or fork. The mixture will be a little clumpy at first. Continue to whisk until the miso paste has completely incorporated into the mayo. The mixture should be smooth and creamy once combined.
- Slather a generous amount of the miso mayo onto one (or both) sides of a toasted bun. Add 2-3 slices of grilled eggplant on top of the mayo.
- Spoon a generous amount of kimchi (store-bought or homemade) on top of the sliced eggplant. Garnish the sandwich with a few sprigs of Thai basil (optional).