Balsamic grilled eggplant sandwiches are simple, tasty and oh so easy to make! I’ve been loving the fresh combination of ingredients in this recipe! The grilled eggplant is layered with roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella cheese and basil, all on top of fresh fluffy ciabatta bread. YUM!
This recipe is especially popular during the summer months during peak grilling season. Who doesn't love a BBQ?! These eggplant sandwiches pair well with vegan bean salad and refreshing pineapple coconut margaritas!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Grilled eggplant sandwiches are perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a summer BBQ!
- Eggplant is the perfect grilling option for vegetarians. You can also customize this recipe to make it vegan!
- The eggplant marinate is so flavorful and easy to make! The eggplant tastes amazing on its own.
You will need a grill or grill pan! I typically use a cast iron grill pan. This mimics a grill (but is safe to use inside). It also creates those lovely grill marks.
A gallon sized zip lock bag or shallow baking dish is perfect for marinating the eggplant slices.
- Eggplant - sliced into rounds so it will fit nicely on a sandwich!
- Balsamic vinegar - this will go in the marinade for the eggplant.
- Reduced sodium soy sauce - this will also go in the eggplant marinade.
- Roasted red peppers - you will need 1 small jar or 2-3 peppers. I usually use store-bought but you can also roast your own peppers or even grill them instead!
- Fresh mozzarella - I use one 8 oz ball of cheese for 4 sandwiches!
- Fresh basil - this adds so much flavor! Simply add a few basil leaves to each sandwich.
- Olive oil - use this to brush the grill or grill pan with to prevent the eggplant from sticking.
- Ciabatta bread - buy 1 loaf and slice it into 4 equals sized pieces. You can use other types of bread if desired.
- Balsamic glaze - this is optional but I think it adds a nice touch of flavor!
Substitutions and Variations
- Soy sauce - you can use regular soy sauce, reduced sodium, tamari or coconut aminos!
- Pesto - spread a layer of pesto on the bread to add to the basil flavor! I recommend this arugula pesto!
- Goat cheese - swap out the fresh mozzarella for creamy goat cheese or feta cheese!
- Portobello mushrooms - marinate the mushrooms with the eggplant and follow the same grilling instructions.
- Zucchini - marinate the zucchini slices with the eggplant and follow the same grilling instructions.
- Caprese - swap out the roasted red peppers for tomatoes to make an eggplant caprese sandwich!
- Vegan - use vegan mozzarella cheese or omit the cheese all together.
- Gluten free - use gluten free bread and tamari or instead of soy sauce.
- Panini - put the sandwiches on a panini press and serve nice and hot!
Step by Step Instructions
Combine the balsamic vinegar and reduced sodium soy sauce in a ziplock bag or shallow baking dish. Add the eggplant and allow it to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Slice the ciabatta bread into 4 equal sized pieces.
Heat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. Brush the grill or grill pan with olive oil. Grill the eggplant slices 3-4 minutes on each side. Set aside.
Assemble the sandwiches. Layer the grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper, fresh mozzarella and 2-3 basil leaves on the ciabatta bread. Top with a drizzle of balsamic glaze (optional) and enjoy!
Hint: If you are working on a grill pan you will have to do this in batches. I usually grill 4 eggplant slices at a time.
Tips and Tricks
- Make sure to occasionally flip the eggplant slices or toss the ziplock bag as the eggplant is marinating. This will ensure maximum flavor!
- You can also save any extra marinade and reuse it for other vegetables in the near future.
- While the balsamic glaze is completely optional, I think it adds a nice touch. You can buy this at your local grocery store or make your own by following the directions in my recipe for watermelon, arugula and goat cheese salad.
Store the ingredients separately so the sandwich bread doesn’t get soggy! Keep the grilled eggplant slices in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for up to 5 days!
You can eat this balsamic grilled eggplant sandwich hot or cold. I enjoy eating the sandwich cold the next day, but if you want the eggplant to be hot you can heat it separately in the oven or microwave.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, grilled eggplant is healthy and good for you! Eggplant, also known as aubergines, is a good source of fiber and antioxidants.
It is not necessary to salt this eggplant before grilling it. It marinades in soy sauce which is high in sodium.
You can eat this at either temperature! I enjoy eating it hot immediately but I typically eat the leftovers cold.
What to Pair With:
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This balsamic grilled eggplant sandwich is flavorful and so easy to make! It is layered with eggplant, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella cheese and basil all on top of fresh fluffy ciabatta bread.
- 1 eggplant, sliced into rounds
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2-3 tablespoon olive oil (for grilling)
- 2-3 roasted red peppers (about 1 jar)
- 1 (8 oz) fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced into 4 pieces
- Balsamic glaze (optional)
- Combine the eggplant slices, balsamic vinegar and reduced sodium soy sauce into a large ziplock bag or shallow baking dish. Let the eggplant marinate for at least 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
- Slice the ciabatta bread into 4 equal sized pieces.
- Heat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. Brush the grill or grill pan with olive oil. Grill the eggplant slices for 3-4 minutes per side.
- Layer the grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper, fresh mozzarella slices and a few leaves of fresh basil onto the sliced bread. Drizzle balsamic glaze on top if desired. Enjoy!
- You can buy balsamic glaze in a grocery store or you can make you own!
- Try grilling other vegetables such as zucchini or portobello mushrooms!
Keywords: balsamic grilled eggplant sandwiches