Our Favourite Greek Baked Eggplant With Tomato & Feta (Gluten-free)
on May 03, 2022
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This Greek baked eggplant with tomato sauce and feta is a great healthy (& gluten-free!) appetizer or side dish to serve with grilled meat or fish, meatballs and more. It might seem simple, but it’ll send your taste-buds soaring!
Eggplant ( or aubergine!) is a delicious, hearty and healthy ingredient that I barely knew existed before spending some years living in Greece. Eggplant moussaka is still one of my favorite dishes ever. These papoutsakia (Greek stuffed eggplant) will blow your mind. Or if you’re in the mood for pasta, try pasta alla norma or eggplant lasagna.
I first found something very similar to this delicious baked eggplant with tomato and feta cheese on the slightly sticky pages of the menu of a tourist restaurant close to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.
Surprisingly, this turned out to be one of the most delicious meals ever. And as tasty as the other parts of our meal were, both myself and Mr. Scrummy agreed that this simple eggplant side dish was the runaway show-stealer!
Lucky for us (and for you!) we took the chance to ask our waiter how the baked eggplant was made. He told us that the eggplant is first baked in the oven by itself with a little olive oil. Then tomato sauce is poured over the top, followed by crumbled feta cheese, before the dish is put back in the oven to finish off.
So simple that I didn’t even need to jot it down.
I learned later that although not exactly the same, the recipe is similar to a traditional dish from the Greek island of Zakynthos called ‘skordostoumbi’, or garlic eggplant. It literally means ‘stuffed with garlic’, or rather ‘We are stuffed with garlic’, which I love!
Why you’ll love it
Hopefully I’ve already piqued your interest in this amazing Greek eggplant recipe. Here are even more reasons to love it:
- It’s so easy to make with just an eggplant, marinara sauce and feta cheese.
- It’s so healthy! It’s a great example of a Mediterranean diet recipe.
- It goes with so much. I serve it with Greek meatballs, sausages, Greek lemon rice and so much more (scroll down for more ideas). It’s also very tasty just served by itself with some bread or olive oil toasts.
- It’s surprisingly delicious. It’s hard to explain, but try it and I think you’ll see what I mean.
About the ingredients
Eggplant: Grab a nice firm and shiny one! I find a small to medium eggplant is all you need to make enough to serve 4 as a side dish (or 2 as a main with bread).
Olive oil: As always, I recommend using a good quality extra virgin olive oil. It makes all the difference to the flavor!
Garlic: You need 5 cloves. I like to slice them rather than crush them for this recipe, since you really want the garlicky flavor to infuse into the delicious sauce.
Canned tomatoes: Just a regular can of tomatoes is fine – whatever you have. If you’re buying a can especially for this recipe, however, I prefer to get organic whole peeled tomatoes. They’re generally better quality than chopped tomatoes. Just ‘snip’ them in the can with a pair of scissors!
Fresh basil: This is optional but does add to the flavor of the sauce. I don’t chop it. I just put a couple of whole sprigs into the sauce as it’s cooking to infuse the flavor. Then I remove the herbs when the sauce is cooked.
Salt, peper, sugar, balsamic vinegar: These make all the difference! If you like you can substitute the sugar with honey.
How to make Greek baked eggplant
Clue: It’s super easy.
Step 1: Bake the eggplant uncovered for 45 minutes (after slicing it in half and scoring it in a criss-cross pattern). I usually brush all over with olive oil first then place it face down in a baking dish. It’s done when it looks kind of collapsed and wrinkled, but of course not burnt.
Step 2: Meanwhile, make the very easy tomato garlic sauce. This is the most incredible basic marinara sauce ever (Use store-bought instead if you like!). All you do is add the garlic to the oil in a medium frying pan, then add the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper, and herbs if you have them. Then add half a can of water and let the sauce simmer for around 15 to 20 minutes or until it’s slightly thickened.
At this point, your kitchen will smell absolutely amazing!
Step 3: Pour the tomato sauce over the eggplant and scatter over some feta cheese. Bake again for another 15 minutes.
So all in all this version of Greek roasted eggplant takes just over an hour. This might sound like a long time, but you really do want that eggplant to be nice and soft.
And trust me, it’s worth it. This really is simple vegetarian Mediterranean food at its best!
Helen’s top tips
- Use store-bought marinara sauce to make this recipe even easier. I do this at least half the time. Shh, don’t tell anyone.
- Make a double batch of the sauce and use the rest as a simple pasta or pizza sauce.
- Feel free to serve this hot or a bit cooler (the Greeks often serve dishes like this at room temperature).
- Vary the recipe by sprinkling with parmesan cheese instead of feta to make a simple eggplant parmesan.
How to serve this dish
The cute little brown dishes with lids that you see in the photos are just perfect for baking this delicious Mediterranean side dish in, don’t you think? And all for the thrifty price of about 3 euros each!
You may not be able to jet off to the Mediterranean to pick some up, but I find these these mini casserole dishes by Pioneer Woman very cute too! (affiliate link)
When I first made my own slightly guessed version of this easy aubergine dish, Mr. Scrummy and I ate it alongside some greek lemon chicken and potatoes leftovers. Again … it was the star of the show.
Here are some more ways to serve your delicious tomato eggplant:
- Eat it by itself with some crusty bread, grilled garlic bread or this 2-minute toasted bread with olive oil and salt.
- Serve as a side dish alongside some grilled meat or even fish. I love to serve this with Greek air fryer meatballs (there’s an oven version too!), oven baked chicken kabobs, air fryer rotisserie chicken or simple pork sausages.
- For a super low-carb meal, skip the feta on top and serve with these amazing crispy halloumi fries! Once tried forever a family favorite (trust me).
- Keep it vegetarian but for a more substantial meal, serve alongside these legendary Greek potatoes.
More things to know (recipe FAQ)
Some people think that you do. I never do, however, and certainly not for this dish. These days, eggplant doesn’t generally taste bitter like it sometimes used to. So I think you can safely skip this step.
Absolutely! I do this all the time. You can bake the eggplant and make the sauce earlier in the day, or even the day before. Then top the cooked eggplant with the sauce and feta and store it covered in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, just bake for 15 minutes until hot and browned on top.
The leftovers are good reheated, too. I usually just cover and reheat for a few minutes in the microwave.
Eggplant is exceptionally good for you. Especially when drenched in a delicious tomato garlic sauce like in this recipe. It contains antioxidants like vitamin A and C and is high in fibre and low in calories and fat. It doesn’t ‘taste healthy’, though. You really won’t believe how delicious this dish is!
Looking for another easy Greek vegetarian main dish? You have to try this easy stovetop version of classic Greek giant beans as well!
More ‘favorite’ Mediterranean recipes to try
- Crispy brussels sprouts with tahini sauce and almonds (the best brussels sprouts of your life!)
- These life-changing fried halloumi bites or crispy halloumi fries (perfect appetizers for guests!)
- Crispy fried chickpeas (great on salads or soups!)
- Ever made a proper Spanish omelette, otherwise known as a tortilla de patatas? Prepare to have your mind blown! Serve with incredible and easy pan con tomate or Spanish bruschetta.
- If all else fails, serve your meal with a traditional Greek salad. Or eat the salad by itself with fresh bread for lunch!
Our Favourite Greek Baked Eggplant With Tomato & Feta
- 1 eggplant, / aubergine, sliced in half lengthwise and scored all over in a criss-cross pattern (without cutting through the skin).
- olive oil, for baking
- 3 ounces feta cheese
- Preheat the oven to 200C/390F. Brush the eggplant with a generous amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with a bit of salt.1 eggplant
- Bake each eggplant half facedown in little separate baking dishes (or side by side in a slightly bigger baking dish) for about 45 minutes or until the flesh is soft.
- Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil on a medium heat in a pan with a large surface area, then add the garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes (don’t brown the garlic), then add the chopped tomatoes, herbs and salt and pepper. Half fill the empty tomato can with water and add that to the pan, too.olive oil, 5 cloves of garlic, 14 ounces chopped tomatoes, ½ bunch fresh basil, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper
- Let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes, then remove the herb sprigs. Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar and stir in.1 teaspoon sugar, 0.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Pour the tomato sauce over the eggplant/aubergines, then crumble over the feta. Bake for about another 15 minutes or until the tomato sauce is bubbling.3 ounces feta cheese