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Roasted Balsamic Eggplant Steaks

Roasted balsamic eggplant steaks are the perfect meatless meal.

Made with roasted balsamic marinated eggplant, vegan creamy spinach and a simple tomato salad, these eggplant steaks are packed with flavor and would be perfect for entertaining or weeknight meals.

This Italian inspired recipe is vegan, gluten free, dairy free, low carb and Whole30 friendly.

Four balsamic eggplant in a white baking dish.

Why you will love this recipe

  • If you have never tried balsamic eggplant you have been missing out! The balsamic vinegar helps take away some of the bitterness from the eggplant and caramelizes in the oven as it roasts. You won’t want to make eggplant any other way once you try this!  
  • Dairy free creamy spinach and tomato salad takes this roasted balsamic eggplant to the next level and make this the perfect dish for entertaining!
  • Great as a meatless meal or as a vegetarian side dish, you could also serve this with pasta or your favorite chicken dish. Eggplant has a very meat like texture when cooked this way. It’s also very filling, which is great since it’s naturally low in calories and full of fiber.
  • Even better the next day! Roasted eggplant reheats well and would be great tossed with pasta for a quick and simple meal the next day!
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Ingredients

Balsamic Eggplant:

  • Eggplant
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt

Creamy Spinach

  • Frozen Spinach
  • Cashews
  • Water
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt

Tomato Salad

  • Tomatoes
  • Red Onion
  • Flat Leaf Parsley
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt

How to make vegan eggplant steak

Balsamic Eggplant:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch round steaks (discard the stem and very bottom slice).
  2. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray and add the eggplant. Pour the balsamic over each slice of eggplant, brushing it with a silicone pastry brush to distribute it. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt. Let sit 5 minutes to allow the balsamic to soak in.
  3. Flip the eggplant to coat the other side in the rest of the balsamic and salt.
  4. Bake in 400F oven for 20 minutes.
  5. When the eggplant is done baking 20 minutes, carefully flip the eggplant and then cover it in the creamy spinach sauce. Bake 400F for 10 minutes.
Steps on how to make roasted balsamic eggplant.

Creamy Spinach Topping:

  1. While the eggplant is cooking, quick soak raw cashews by boiling cashews in water for 3 minutes or microwave the cashews in just enough water to cover them for 2:30 minutes.
  2. Allow the cashews to cool slightly, drain the water from soaking and discard it.
  3. Add the softened cashews, fresh water, salt, garlic powder to a high speed blender. Blend 1 minute until creamy.
  4. Microwave the frozen spinach 3-4 minutes on high. After cooking, press the spinach against a fine mesh strainer to get out all the water.
  5. Once all the excess water is removed from the spinach, stir it together with the cashew sauce.
Steps on how to make creamy spinach topping.

Tomato salad

  1. Chop the tomatoes, red onion and flat leaf parsley. Combine with salt and garlic powder in a bowl.
  2. Once the eggplant is done baking, spoon the tomato mixture over top.
Steps on how to make tomato salad topping.

What you need to make this recipe

Tips for the best eggplant steaks

When slicing your eggplant, it’s important that you try to make the rounds the same thickness (about 1/2 inch each) so that they will all cook uniformly.

If you want the eggplant to cook faster, you can slice them into 1/4 inch rounds and cook for 12 minutes, flip them in the oven, add the creamy spinach and cook 5 more minutes.

Apply the balsamic vinegar to the eggplant with a silicone pastry brush. You will notice that the eggplant will suck up any liquid you add to the top, so brushing it on will ensure that the balsamic vinegar is evenly distributed.

You can omit the creamy spinach sauce and tomato salad and serve the eggplant cubed with pasta, on rice or roasted on a tray with your favorite veggies like red onion, peppers, cauliflower, etc.

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What to serve with vegan baked eggplant

This balsamic roasted eggplant is a great meatless meal on its own. Serve with your favorite soup or salad for a light meal. You can also serve this alongside pasta, rice, or your favorite protein for an even more filling meal. Here are some great options:

Metal spatula holding a balsamic eggplant steak.

Other ways to serve this dish

This vegan roasted eggplant would also make an incredible sandwich! Serve it just as it’s written with the creamy spinach and tomato salad inside your favorite roll or bread! Ciabatta or french bread would be great for this!

You can also cut the eggplant into 1 inch squares and toss it in pasta or on rice, pouring the creamy spinach sauce and tomatoes on top.

Balsamic eggplant steaks common questions

How to pick out a good eggplant?

You want to look for an eggplant that is not too large, feels firm to the touch, has evenly colored skin and feels heavy for its size. Avoid eggplants with wrinkled skin or brown spots.

The larger eggplants tend to have more seeds inside, which can be bitter and change the texture of the dish. Sticking to a smaller eggplant is the way to ensure that you will have a delicious meal.

Eggplant can last about 3-4 days in the fridge once you bring them home before the skin starts to get wrinkled and the green top starts to turn brown.

Do you have to peel an eggplant before cooking?

No! The skin is pretty thin and is edible! The only time I remove skin is when I am making Mediterranean Eggplant Dip otherwise I leave it on!

White rectangular baking dish filled with roasted balsamic eggplants.

Do you have to salt the eggplant before roasting

No. I have tested this recipe with and without salting the eggplant first and I find that the balsamic vinegar is strong enough to cut through any bitterness that may be in the eggplant, so salting really is not needed.

It used to be required that you salt eggplant and let the liquid inside of them drain off because they were so bitter, as they were almost inedible without first doing this. However, eggplants are now bred to be less bitter, and the smaller one’s have less seeds, making them less bitter as well.

What are other ways to cook balsamic eggplant

You can also cook the eggplant on the grill, under the broiler or in the air fryer.

  • Grill: To grill eggplant, be sure to add 1-2 tbsp. of avocado oil or olive oil to the balsamic vinegar before coating the eggplant. This will help ensure they do not stick to the grill. Grill on each side 4-5 minutes. Add the creamy spinach and cook 3 more minutes, covering the grill as it finishes cooking.
  • Broil: To broil the eggplant, place on a baking sheet directly under the broiler, cooking 5 on the first side, flip and cook 3 more minutes on the other side. Add the creamy spinach and cook 3 more minutes under the broiler.
  • Air Fryer: Cook eggplant in the air fryer at 375F for 13 minutes. After cooking, add the creamy spinach topping and cook 4 more minutes at 375F.

How to store eggplant steaks

Fridge: Store these balsamic eggplant in the fridge for up to 3 days after cooking. You can reheat them in the microwave or in the toaster oven.

Freezer: It’s not recommended that you freeze this dish, as the eggplant is mostly water and will change texture when frozen.

Substitutions

Creamy cashew sauce: If you don’t have time to make this or cannot have cashews, you could also use Kite Hill Cream Cheese (the Chive flavor would be amazing), Kite Hill Ricotta Cheese, your favorite vegan cream cheese, or ricotta cheese (not vegan or Whole30).

Frozen spinach: You can also use fresh spinach or fresh kale and cook it down first. Be sure to squeeze out the excess water before adding it to the creamy cashew sauce.

Two balsamic eggplant steaks on a white plate.
★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
White baking dish filled with vegan balsamic eggplants after cooking.

Balsamic Eggplant Steaks

Balsamic Roasted Eggplant is a simple and healthy side dish or meatless meal that is so easy to make and packed with flavor! Oven baked balsamic eggplant slices are paired with a dairy free creamy spinach sauce and tomato salad for an elegant presentation perfect for parties! Vegan, gluten free, Whole30, low carb and keto friendly!
4.86 from 7 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: balsamic eggplant, eggplant steaks, roasted balsamic eggplant
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Eggplant

Spinach Cashew Cheese

Tomato Salad

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes - chopped
  • 2 tbsp. red onion - finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley - chopped
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch thick round steaks.
  • Place eggplant slices in large baking dish. Pour 1/2 the balsamic vinegar over each slice of eggplant, use a pastry brush to distribute it evenly and top with 1/2 the salt. Let the eggplant sit for at least 5 minutes before flipping over.
  • Flip the eggplant and repeat on the other side with the rest of the balsamic vinegar and salt.
  • Place eggplant in the 400F oven for 20 minutes.
  • Quick soak the cashews by cooking them in boiling water 3 minutes or covering them with fresh water and microwaving in a large container 2:30.
  • Drain the cashews of hot water from soaking and add them to a high speed blender with the water, garlic powder and salt. Blend on high 1 minute until smooth.
  • Cook the frozen spinach in the microwave 3-5 minutes. Carefully press all the extra liquid out of the spinach using a strainer or cheesecloth Once spinach is dry, pour the cashew cheese mixture over it and stir well.
  • After roasting for 20 minutes, take the eggplant out of the oven and flip the eggplant carefully. Divide the creamy spinach mixture over the eggplant slices and bake 10 minutes.
  • While eggplant is baking, make the tomato salad
  • Chop the tomatoes, red onion and parsley and add them to a bowl with the balsamic vinegar and salt. Stir well.
  • After baking, remove eggplant from the oven, top with tomato salad and serve.

Notes

Storage:
  • Fridge: Store in the fridge for up to 3 days after cooking. 
  • Freezer: Not recommended to freeze the eggplant as the texture will change. 
Balsamic roasted eggplant with creamy spinach and tomato salad is also great served as a sandwich, simply add the eggplant to your favorite bread! 
Other ways to cook eggplant:
  • Grill: To grill eggplant, be sure to add 1-2 tbsp. of avocado oil or olive oil to the balsamic vinegar before coating the eggplant. This will help ensure they do not stick to the grill. Grill on each side 4-5 minutes. Add the creamy spinach and cook 3 more minutes, covering the grill as it finishes cooking.
  • Broil: To broil the eggplant, place on a baking sheet directly under the broiler, cooking 5 on the first side, flip and cook 3 more minutes on the other side. Add the creamy spinach and cook 3 more minutes under the broiler.
  • Air Fryer: Cook eggplant in the air fryer at 375F for 13 minutes. After cooking, add the creamy spinach topping and cook 4 more minutes at 375F.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
119
Fat
 
5
g
Carbohydrates
 
16
g
Fiber
 
4
g
Sugar
 
8
g
Protein
 
4
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
DID YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE?Let others know by rating and leaving a comment below!

Recipe Rating




Cheryl

Monday 23rd of August 2021

Noticed you did not mention an option of putting the tomatoes et al on top of the spinach mixture and then baking them all together. Is there a reason for not doing it this way? When I did it this way, I had to bake it for 5-10 minutes more (depending on the size of the eggplant steaks and juiciness of the tomatoes). And since I love basil and oregano and garlic on my eggplant, I add them as desired. Since I’ve tried it both ways, I use less spices when I serve to company. P.S. Balsamic glaze on top anyone?

Samantha Rowland

Monday 11th of October 2021

I never thought of this Cheryl! Thanks for letting us know that is an option and that it could require a few more minutes of baking time!

Megan

Wednesday 29th of April 2020

Delicious

Gordon Tansey

Friday 6th of March 2020

Absolutely superb! The noises (even from the non vegans) as everyone ate them was brilliant. Everyone wanted more, and the blend of the eggplant, cashew herb cheese and the tomato salsa worked. Loved it and now my daughter in law has it placed on the permanent dinner roster! Thank you - always a challenge finding great vegan things!

Gordon Tansey

Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

Still great 12 months later - more non vegans opted for it in lieu of steak!

Cate

Sunday 11th of June 2017

Never know what to do with eggplant, growing up we only ate it fried. Just made this for dinner. Will definitely be making it again. Dee-lish!

Caleigh

Wednesday 9th of December 2015

Looks amazing! I'm in school/working full time, so I always have to pack my lunch/dinner. Would you recommend eating this right away once cooked, or would it taste okay reheated or cold?