By Jessica Colyer
July 19, 2016

It's easy to look at an eggplant and declare, "Nope." After all, it has a strange shape, an atypical color, and the inside of it resembles a dried out cucumber. I can kind of see how some people can't find it appetizing at face value.  That said, even though straight and simple grilled eggplant is at the forefront of a lot of folks eggplant agenda right now--for those who are adverse to the bulbous purple veggie, it's important to understand that there are plenty of recipes for this peak season gem that make it a less abrasively eggplant-y. If you've never had a dish that does an exceptional job of highlighting eggplant's more subtle, but incredible, attributes (like its meaty-firm satisfying texture), how would you know you didn't hate it? I mean, I wasn't always a believer, but after my first bite of an eggplant parmesan dish, I was smitten. If you've convinced yourself you don't like eggplant and never will, we're prepared to serve you up some winning dishes that just might help you change your mind. Ready to take a bite?



Eggplant shines as the star ingredient of these awesome sandwich recipes. Like I said, eggplant has a great texture--especially when it's cooked and breaded--and it makes a lovely substitute for meat in a sandwich. For anyone going vegan or vegetarian, eggplant is a tremendously awesome ingredient that can add a big dose of heartiness to these and other meat-free stacks.





Surprise! Yes, even the (soon-to-be-former) eggplant hater can enjoy eggplant on the grill. The key is balancing the smoky grilled eggplant with bright elements that play will with the vegetable's inherently bitter flavor. Top grilled eggplant with vibrant condiments like the salsas and such below, and taste the magic for yourself.


Try your hand at salsa-making with Grilled Baby Eggplants with Green Onion Salsa


Forget dairy and try the ricotta-like mixture in Eggplant Involtini with Grilled Ratatouille



And of course....

Eggplant Parmesan

This quintessential eggplant dish is a shining example of how this vegetable can become a crave-worthy, comfort food staple. This veg-based parm can take a variety forms--a rendition starting on the grill, the classic oven-baked casserole, or even served on a pizza. No matter the method, eggplant parmesan--with all its saucy cheesy goodness--is a mighty hard dish to dislike.





There are so many ways to whip up eggplant parmesan. I actually made it in the slow-cooker for the first time last year and loved it. It was crazy easy and made the whole house smell amazing for hours. If you need a hand on how to construct the classic, check out how we put this recipe together in the video below:



Are you a former eggplant hater who's seen the light? What are the best ways you've found to serve up this peak season favorite? Do you have any tips or tricks to whipping up the perfect eggplant parm? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below.