Miso-Ginger Grilled Eggplant

Miso-Ginger Eggplant is caramelized and coated with a sweet and umami-rich miso glaze. Ready in under 30 minutes, this vegan dish can be grilled or broiled. It's a savory, satisfying main dish or delicious side dish.

If you’re anything like us, you’re so tempted by the beautiful, smooth eggplants in the grocery store that you heave a couple into your cart on an impulse, and it’s only when you get home that you realize that you neither have much space in the fridge for them, nor the faintest idea of what to do with the absolute unit of a vegetable that you have just purchased. But we have a solution that we think you’re going to like.

This recipe couldn’t be simpler — the most work you’ll do is mixing up the glaze. If you’ve followed the advice in our Asian Pantry Guide, you’ll already have everything you need to make it. We often make this dish with long Japanese eggplants, as we find them sweeter and more tender than the large globe variety. But the Japanese variety are often hard to find at our local grocery store, and, as Voltaire so memorably pointed out about eggplants,* “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.” (*We’re sure he was referring to eggplant — well, aubergine — when he said “The perfect is the enemy of the good”. Even Voltaire had to make do sometimes.) 

In other words, use the eggplant you have access to, because it’s going to be really tasty whatever kind you use. Unless, of course, you hate eggplant, in which case … you know, this recipe would also work great with zucchini.

But if you insist on sitting with your arms folded in the “eggplant hate” corner, perhaps we could try to persuade you that this recipe will change your mind. (I’m a total hypocrite because celery is my Kryptonite, and there is nothing and nobody that will make me change my mind about that. Not even this. Or him).

But we’re still talking about you here. Don’t try to change the subject. Now, to be fair, eggplant can be a little tricky to work with. If you’ve ever tried to cook it with too little oil, it becomes tough and leathery, just unpalatable. And if you use too much oil, it can turn greasy and heavy. This method avoids the problem entirely by broiling it in a hot oven, or grilling it. This way, you can control exactly how much oil to use, allowing it to become tender and charred without soaking up cups of oil.

And once it’s ready, we’ll sauce it up. Properly, it’s a glaze, with the chief flavors of miso and ginger, with an underpinning of sweet mirin and soy. Everything works together to bring delicate balance to the eggplant slices. If you’ve never applied miso to eggplant, it really is one of those perfect pairings, like peanut butter and … well, anything.

Brush on the miso glaze and give it another minute in the broiler or grill until the top begins to caramelize. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve. And there you go: grilled miso ginger eggplant for a BBQ side or a light lunch. The next time you have a barbecue party, invite us over. You know what we’ll bring!

Tips for cooking with eggplant

  • The smaller and younger the eggplant, the sweeter it will be. Avoid the mammoth supermarket ones as they can be seedy and bitter. (If you have one, you can salt it to get some of the bitterness out. Sprinkle generously with salt and let it sit in a colander for 10 minutes up to a couple of hours. Then rinse and pat dry.)
  • In season, the farmers’ market can be a great place to find different varieties.
  • This method works extremely well with long, thin Japanese eggplants, as well as the Italian pear-shaped variety (slice in half lengthwise and grill or roast until tender).
  • You can peel the eggplant if you want, but we leave the skin on – it’s totally edible.
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Miso-Ginger Grilled Eggplant

Miso-Ginger Eggplant is caramelized and coated with a sweet and umami-rich miso glaze. Ready in under 30 minutes, this vegan dish can be grilled or broiled. It's a savory, satisfying main dish or delicious side dish.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: eggplant, ginger, grilled, miso, vegetarian
Servings: 4 to 6
Author: Emily Clifton, Nerds with Knives


  • 1/4 cup white (shiro) miso
  • 4 teaspoons grated ginger (about a 1-inch knob)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 small to medium eggplants cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • Vegetable oil for brushing
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, ginger, sesame oil, mirin, sugar and soy sauce. Stir in 2 teaspoons water to loosen a little.
  • Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Generously brush both sides of eggplant slices with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on grill, and cook until softened and brown, 5 – 6 minutes. Flip eggplant slices, and cook until browned on bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes longer. (Alternatively, place on a sheet pan and broil in the oven for roughly the same amount of time).
  • Brush top of eggplant slices with a thin layer of miso sauce and cook 1 minute longer. Remove to a serving platter, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and drizzle any extra miso sauce on top.
Tried this recipe?Mention @NerdsWithKnives or tag #nerdswithknives!

5 thoughts on “Miso-Ginger Grilled Eggplant”

  1. Hi there! Here in the Netherlands the weather was finally nice enough to fire up the outside grill, and we just finished a very lovely dinner with these aubergines and the marinated flank steak from the previous post. So thanks a bunch for these recipes! 🙂

  2. Well, I daresay this looks like a very appealing dish- and I don’t even like eggplant! (er, aubergine 🙂 – incidentally, does your husband also pronounce Oregano ‘arah-GAN-o’? When I lived in England, that one always caught me off guard!) anyway, thank you for the great tips- especially about choosing smaller eggplants for a sweeter flavor. I will have to give this a shot! Cheers!
    P.S. your photos are beautiful!

    • Ha! He does pronounce it Ore-GAH-no, though I sometimes forget myself whether we Americans pronounce it ‘erbs’ or ‘Herbs’. Thank you for the photo compliment!


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