Grilled Eggplant Caprese salad is a new twist on an old Italian classic. Grill or pan fry the eggplant then layer between juicy tomatoes and fresh whole milk mozzarella, basil, oil and balsamic vinegar a delicious and healthy salad! This salad recipe is gluten-free, low carb, and keto.
Why You'll ❤️ Eggplant Caprese
"Eggplant is the perfect addition to a classic Caprese salad. You'll love that this salad is super easy to put together! So fresh and flavorful - and it's pretty too!"
Classic With A Twist
A classic Italian Caprese salad consists of fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, basil leaves, oil, salt, black pepper, and a little oregano. This recipe takes a classic and adds grilled eggplant, taking it to a whole new level.
This summertime recipe is so easy to prepare and serve. Just cut up and prepare your ingredients, grill your eggplant and then drizzle and serve. A true crowd pleaser at home with the family or at any gathering!
Grill, Grill Pan, or Pan Fry
You can use a grill, a grill pan or you can pan fry the eggplant. Grilled eggplant adds a nice smokiness, but it is not necessary. Follow the same steps for pan frying, you may need to add a little more oil to the pan to prevent sticking.
This Eggplant Caprese Salad recipe is low-carb, keto, gluten-free, and vegetarian! Serve it as a main dish or side dish; either way, you'll be able to enjoy this one guilt-free.
Eggplant Caprese Salad Ingredients
Here are the ingredients you will need to make Grilled Eggplant Caprese Salad:
- Medium Eggplant - use a very fresh medium eggplant (about 3 inches in diameter) cut into eight half-inch thick slices. Feel free to halve this recipe or double it.
- Olive Oil Spray - use 100% olive oil spray. This is a quick way to coat the eggplant, but if you don't have it, just brush oil on it.
- Kosher Salt
- Ground Black Pepper
- Ripe Tomato - you want a juicy but firm tomato. Use any variety that you prefer. It looks best to have slices of tomato that are the same size as the eggplant slices. The tomato will be cut into half-inch thick slices.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - for drizzling over the finished layers.
- Whole Milk Fresh Mozzarella Cheese - you can actually buy already sliced if you're in a hurry.
- Fresh Basil - basil leaves are needed in this recipe; dried does not taste as well.
- Balsamic Vinegar - you could also use balsamic glaze if you prefer a thicker consistency.
For exact ingredient quantities, please see the recipe card below!
How to Make This Recipe For Eggplant Caprese
Here are the step-by-step instructions for making this eggplant caprese salad:
Prep the Eggplant
Start by spraying both sides of the eggplant with oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. (Alternatively, you can brush the oil on eggplant)
Preheat a grill pan, grill, or skillet to medium-high. Place the eggplant slices on the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Work in batches if needed.
Remove the eggplant from the heat and set it aside to cool.
Place one slice of the eggplant on a platter, then alternate tomato, mozzarella, and a leaf of fresh basil. Continue until all ingredients are shingled together.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the oil and balsamic vinegar over the top and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.
How To Serve It
Here are a few ways to serve Grilled Eggplant Caprese Salad:
Arrange the salad layers in a circle, in a straight line, or as eggplant stacks. Stacks make gorgeous appetizers!
For individual servings - make eggplant caprese stacks by layering eggplant, tomato, mozzarella, and a basil leaf. Drizzle with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Here are a few ways you can vary or make substitutions to this eggplant Caprese recipe:
- If grilling outside or in a grill pan is not an option, roasted eggplant or pan-fried are good alternatives. Do not overcook eggplant or it will fall apart and become mushy.
- Use white wine vinegar instead of balsamic. You can also use a little lemon juice.
- Italian dressing works great in a pinch for salt, pepper, and oil if needed.
- Add more fresh summer vegetables to use up some of those garden beauties! Summer squash and zucchini would make great additions to this salad!
- Turn this into a pizza! Just prepare and slice your ingredients and smear pizza sauce or pesto to the base of your pizza crust. Add the eggplant, tomato, and mozzarella on top. Bake in your oven at 350 degrees F until golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. So good!
- Eggplant turns brown easily, do not slice until you are ready to grill it.
- This salad looks best when the eggplant, tomato, and mozzarella slices are all similar in width.
- Preheat the grill or grill pan before cooking the eggplant.
- Do not walk away from your eggplant when grilling; they cook quickly and can burn easily.
- Only grill the eggplant until it is just tender. You do not want it too soft, or it will be mushy and fall apart.
How To Store
Serve this salad immediately and only prepare what you will eat. This salad does not keep well once prepared. The tomatoes will release extra water, and the fresh herbs will wilt and brown quickly.
How To Freeze
This recipe is not freezable.
Older and larger eggplants have tougher skins that are often bitter so they should be peeled. This recipe is using smaller 3-inch diameter eggplants so you should not need to peel them.
There are only 5 grams of carbs in this eggplant caprese recipe! It's perfect if you are following a low carb or keto diet.
- 1 medium eggplant (about 3" in diameter, cut into eight ½" slices)
- 100% olive oil spray
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ripe tomato (about 3" in diameter, sliced in eight ½" thick slices)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces whole milk mozzarella (sliced into eight ¼" thick slices)
- 1 cup fresh basil (8 large fresh leaves)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Spray both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil spray then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Preheat a grill pan, grill, or skillet to medium-high. Place eggplant slices on the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until just tender but not too soft. Work in batches if needed.
- Remove eggplant from the pan and set aside to cool.
- Place a slice of eggplant on a platter, then alternate tomato, mozzarella, and a leaf of fresh basil.
- Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper
- Don't miss all of our helpful hints, substitution ideas, cooking tips, and other delicious recipes that can be found in our post. Check it out!
- TOP TIPS: The salad looks prettiest when you have similar-sized diameter vegetable slices. Do not overcook eggplant it will become soft and mushy. If you don't have olive oil spray, you can brush the oil on the eggplant.
- SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Arrange the salad layers in a circle, in a straight line, or as eggplant stacks. Stacks make gorgeous appetizers!
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More Eggplant Recipes
If you are looking for more delicious eggplant recipes, check these out:
- Easy Eggplant Lasagna
- Mini Eggplant Pizza Recipe
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Healthy Tomato and Eggplant Salad