Miso-glazed eggplant is a tender roasted delight, made even more delectable with a sweet, salty, umami-filled glaze.
This Japanese-inspired miso-glazed eggplant basks in a richly umami-packed glaze before being roasted to a deep bronze hue. The technique and timing ensure a tender result without incurring any mushiness. And the ease of prep guarantees you’ll have an outrageously good vegan dinner in no time.-Jenny Latreille
☞ Table of Contents
What is miso?
A key ingredient in Japanese cuisine, miso is typically a cultured mixture of soybeans, a grain (like rice or barley), salt, and koji (a mold). In general, miso that’s imported into the United States is divided into 2 categories—light (or white or sweet) miso and dark (or red) miso. If you just can’t decide which miso to choose, give awase a try—a mixture of more than one miso. With over 1,000 kinds of miso paste, it can be difficult to decide. While they can be sometimes used interchangeably, a good rule of thumb is that the deeper the color, the stronger the taste. Sometimes much stronger.
For the eggplant
- 1 medium (1 lb) eggplant halved lengthways
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 cilantro stem leaves picked
- 1 scallion sliced
For the glaze
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 1/2 tablespoon raw (demerara) sugar or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 heaped tablespoon white miso paste
- 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
Prepare the eggplant
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Score the flesh side of eggplant halves in a criss-cross pattern and place in a baking dish. Rub salt over the flesh and let rest for 10 minutes. After resting, use a paper towel to blot any salt and water that has exuded from the eggplant.
Make the glaze
- In a small bowl, whisk the glaze ingredients together.
- Generously brush the glaze over the scored eggplant, reserving about 1/3 glaze. Roast until the flesh takes on a bronzed color, and yields easily when poked with a fork, 35 to 45 minutes.
- Brush more glaze over top, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, cilantro, and scallion.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I like eggplant okay, particularly eggplant parmesan. I’m usually not a great fan. But this miso-glazed eggplant dish is fabulous and I will make it again and again. It’s so flavorful and the scallions add just a little bit of heat to it.
The eggplant itself was a little firm and the skin was delicious. And to top it off, it was very easy to make and took no time at all.
When you’re in a rush, yet want an amazing dinner, miso-glazed eggplant is it. Perfect for the vegan and meat-eater alike as this is so satisfying. Quick and easy. I used the typical Italian eggplant which is what we grow at our farm and it weighed 140 grams. For the salt, I used Algarvian coarse sea salt. As I didn’t have much sugar at home, I decided to use a new maple syrup that Aldi sells here in Portugal.
After adding the salt, I used that time to create the glaze as well as to prepare the rest of the ingredients. Once the 10 minutes had passed, there was no water, though the eggplant was pretty wet. I removed the excess salt from the eggplant. I ended up using 3/4 of the glaze and used the rest for a quick stir fry I was making with other veggies (which came out fantastic). After 20 minutes, the eggplants were indeed ready, so if using smaller eggplants, I would advise to start keeping an eye after 10 minutes.
I served simply with brown rice and other farm veggies cut julienne style and stir-fried with the leftover glaze. I believe one eggplant is the right amount per person.
Called miso dengaku, miso-glazed dishes are a popular affair in Japan. Mild-flavored vegetables are typically used, like this miso-glazed eggplant, and it is so simple to make. Adding ginger to the mix was new to me and I loved it! A bit of heat was wonderful with the sweet miso. (No need limit yourself to using white miso. People in Japan use whatever kind they like, or their region’s prized signature miso.)
I used regular globe eggplant—the only kind that was available at the supermarket—which is bigger than Japanese or Italian eggplant. It was cooked through at 25 minutes, but I let it go for 35 minutes so that the interior was very, very soft and creamy. The visual clue for doneness? You’d want to see the glaze slightly dry and darkened in color (even a wee bit scorched in spots), and the eggplant skin on the edges starting to curl inward.
This is a very simple recipe that would be a great vegetarian weeknight dinner with some rice. The glaze seeped deeply into the eggplant through the scoring marks and brought a nice savory flavor.
My only gripe is that my eggplant didn’t get that deeply burnished color of the photo and wasn’t quite as tender in some parts as I would like at 25 minutes. 375°F for 25 minutes might provide that color on convection, but not on a standard oven. Next time I’ll cook the eggplant longer, maybe at a higher heat, and consider a very short broil at the end to help caramelize some of the glaze.
This is a lovely, lovely eggplant dish, one that reminded us, fondly, of our favorite restaurant—one that, sadly, did not survive the pandemic. Our favorite, favorite restaurant, was an Asian fusion place that we had been going to for years. The dishes have always been unique.
We cook quite a lot, and are not ones to go out often, because we taste something, or look at a menu, and say to each other that we can do that better at home. Well, at this particular restaurant, the menu consisted of things that we would never make, or be able to make, at home. The dishes were very simple, and yet very complicated. As we tasted the miso-glazed eggplant, we were transported back to sitting in our restaurant, enjoying the food that we can no longer get. Sigh.
This is an easy and delicious recipe. In reading the recipe, I thought the sauce just brushed on the eggplant may not be enough flavor but I was wrong! The initial brushing gives a nice glaze on the surface of the eggplant and soaks down into the cuts from the scoring to soak in as it cooks. And then after it cooks, the rest of the sauce drips into the cracks and gives a really good salty savory Asian flavor. I’ll be making this miso-glazed eggplant again.
Simple and quite delicious. On the whole, it was a sweet dish—I felt it was missing a touch of acidity, but the hint of pungent scallion flavor did help to bring it closer to balance. I might squeeze some fresh lime on at serving next time, and perhaps a sprinkle of chili.
This is a dish to please the eggplant lovers and maybe tempt some new ones. The glaze has just enough intrigue, taking a different road with the method and flavor profile to serve it alone or pair it with a protein or agreeable companion. With larger eggplant, pre-salting nearly always seems to be a good step, and this worked like a charm, pulling out a bit of moisture and making it less likely to have any bitterness. The cuts go thru the flesh but NOT thru the skin, preserving it as a flavor boat to hold the eggplant together as it transforms to silkiness. The glaze has a nice complexity of its own, a sweet and salty umami that sings when it begins to caramelize. This takes patience—but is so worth the wait.
I gave the eggplant additional time—checking at intervals, an extra 25 minutes, until flesh yielded to the pressure of fork tines and the tiny seeds seemed to melt into the flesh. The finish is a pretty presentation with a dab of any remaining glaze, the sesame and scallions sprinkled and a stem or two of cilantro. I found a good-sized medium eggplant was perfect for two of us.