Honey Glazed Moroccan Eggplant
Meltingly soft Honey Glazed Moroccan Eggplant, covered with a sweet and spicy honey and harissa sauce. Vegetarian and gluten-free!
Today, we’re updating an old recipe that seems strangely appropriate for the current times.
This is one of my personal favorite savory recipes on here, and you guys love it, too. It’s been one of my top 10 most popular recipes in 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016.
I’ve been meaning to update the post with some new pictures (and a new video!) for quite some time, and now seems especially appropriate.
With the current world climate, more and more people are turning to produce delivery boxes rather than grocery stores. As a result, people are getting vegetables they normally don’t cook with — and are searching for recipes.
I’ve had more than a few people reach out and ask what to do with eggplants. This friends — this is what you should do with your eggplant.
(Or check the bottom of this post for more eggplant recipe ideas!)
It’s also appropriate because this week is Passover, and Moroccan-inspired food like this is often a staple for our family for Passover. No grains or chametz are present in this sweet and spicy harissa and honey-glazed Moroccan eggplant!
Easy Moroccan Eggplant Video
Because this is one of my favorite recipes, I wanted to show you how easy it is to make!
Cooking eggplant might be a little out of your comfort zone, especially if you’re more into baking than cooking.
But this recipe is super easy! Just watch below. ↓↓↓
The Most Tender Eggplant
One of the biggest complaints people have about eggplant is its texture. It can often be too stringy or too chewy.
Let’s talk about the very best way to make sure your eggplant stays super soft and tender. It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!
Sweating an eggplant — sprinkling salt on the surface and letting it sit — draws out extra moisture from the cells of the eggplant through a process called osmosis. Solvent (the water in the cells) will always move from an area of low salt concentration (inside the eggplant) to an area of high concentration (the salted outside of the eggplant), drawing the water out.
There’s a myth that sweating an eggplant reduces the bitter taste, but it’s just the salt masking the bitter. Whether we salt an hour ahead of time or just before cooking, the taste is the same.
Where we see a big difference, though, is the texture. Sweated eggplant will be softer, especially the skin – meaning we don’t have to peel our eggplant before cooking!
After removing the excess water, the eggplant is ready to absorb the next liquid we add to it — our delicious honey and harissa sauce.
Sweet and Spicy Sauce
All the flavor for this dish comes from the sauce.
Start by sauteing fresh garlic and ginger, just until fragrant. Add in cumin and harissa, a North African chili pepper spice.
Pour in a mixture of lemon juice and honey and simmer with the eggplant until the sauce is reduced and thick, covering the eggplant slides.
The end result is super soft and tender eggplant that nearly melts in your mouth.
What to Serve with Moroccan Eggplant
We usually have this as our main dish, served with a loaf of fresh, crusty bread (except during Passover, obviously) and a big pile of sauteed greens or a salad.
As a side, it is perfect with chicken or fish. Paprika Chicken with Chickpeas or Moroccan fish stew are two of our favorite options.
The Moroccan eggplant is also just as delicious cold as it is warm, so it’s a great side for a picnic or potluck. Or as leftovers for lunch the next day… assuming there is any left.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Honey Glazed Moroccan Eggplant
- Slice the eggplant into thick slices, at least 1 inch thick. Thinner slices will fall apart as the eggplant simmers in the sauce.
- Salt the eggplant to draw out excess moisture. This step is not mandatory if you’re short on time, but the texture will be better.
- Can’t find harissa? Substitute in a pinch of red chili flakes or a few dashes of hot sauce.
- This is equally delicious served warm or cold. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or flash-frozen for up to 3 months.
More Eggplant Recipes
- Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Dip
- Sheet Pan Eggplant Parmesan
- Eggplant Curry with Coconut Milk
- Baked Stuffed Eggplant
Honey Glazed Moroccan Eggplant
Meltingly soft eggplant, covered with a sweet and spicy honey and harissa sauce. Vegetarian and gluten free!
- 2 large globe eggplants, thickly sliced
- kosher salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 tablespoons honey
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1-2 teaspoons harissa
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- Spread the slices of eggplant on a towel and sprinkle both sides generously with salt. Allow the eggplant to sweat for 30 minutes, then wipe off the salt with a damp towel and dry the surface with a dry towel.
- Preheat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of each slice of eggplant with olive oil and cook, without overlapping the slices, until well browned on both sides. Remove the slices to a plate and set aside; repeat with remaining slices.
- Combine the honey and lemon juice with 1/2 cup hot water in a small bowl, stirring until the honey is completely dissolved. Add the garlic and ginger to the empty skillet and stir for 30 seconds, or until fragrant, followed by the spices. Stir in the honey-lemon mixture and bring to a boil.
- Place the eggplant in the pan, overlapping as needed, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning halfway through to ensure all pieces are coated with sauce. Continue to heat until the sauce has turned into a thick glaze and the eggplant is soft.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve warm or at room temperature.
- Cut the eggplant into thick rounds, at least 1-inch thick.
- Salting the eggplant can be skipped to save time, but the resulting eggplant will not be as soft and tender. Season with a little salt before sauteeing.
- A pinch of red chili flakes or a few dashes of hot sauce can be used as a substitute to harissa.
- The eggplant can be served warm, room temperature, or even straight out of the refrigerator.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze leftovers, flash freeze individual
slices on a cookie sheet to keep the pieces from sticking together. Once fully frozen, transfer to a freezer bag.
Inspired by a recipe in Modern Moroccan
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 14.4gCarbohydrates: 40.8gProtein: 3.5g
This Honey Glazed Moroccan Eggplant recipe was originally published on 03/08/2016. It was republished on 04/10/2020 with new text, pictures, and video.
I love eggplants and this dish looks so amazing, I'd like to grab that plate right now. 🙂
Thanks, Adina! And I'd like to grab it, as well — I am literally counting down until my little guy can eat honey and I can make it again. Can't wait!
This is gorgeous! Sad to hear that you haven't been able to make this dish, but at least you can have it soon. When done well, eggplant is one of my favourite things ever, and this just looks amazing – love your description of it too. Definitely saving to make!! <3
Thanks, Claudia! I hope you love this as much as I do, and yes, not too much longer to wait until we can enjoy it again. I love eggplant as well, so it's always exciting to find new ways to prepare it!
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Mmmmm ! Did it this week and loved it. Will do it again for sure.
Thanks for sharing.
So glad you enjoyed the recipe!
When do you add the harissa and cumin?
Hi Esther — add the cumin and harissa after the garlic and ginger, but before adding the honey lemon mixture. Enjoy!
We enjoyed this unique combination of flavors. Next time i will go a bit lighter on the lemon juice. My lemon was quite large and the sour out shown the other flavors… but there were hints of greatness. Will try it again for sure.
Glad you liked it, Betsy – but sorry the lemon juice was too strong! I’ll update the recipe to “small to medium” sized lemon; I can see how a large lemon could be too much!
Just made this dish. It will be a new staple in my houseI Delicious and easy ingredients I mostly have on hand!
Thanks, Jamie – so glad you love it as much as I do!
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Obsessed with these! Have made them multiple times already, so yum!
This makes me so happy to hear! It’s one of my favorites, too. 🙂
Oh my gosh! This was amazing. absolutely amazing. I did not realize that egg plant was so versatile, but this one takes the sweets. I have experimented, just a tweak, and found that chopped, toasted walnuts put into the sauce at the end of the cooking time is like the cherry on top for this dish. It makes for a bit of a crunch. I used one cup for two large egg plant globes. My husband who is not a fan at all of the tired “dipped in egg wash, dipped in cornmeal/flour, then deep fried to a soft consistency” person. I did not even tell him what it was, he loved it from the first sweet and spicy bite. Best note here, I found that THICK slices are best. I used my grill and flipped twice side to get the cross hatch marks, and found this is as long as they needed. Once cold, place a slice of feta cheese on top for a unforgettable lunch. Or top that with a second, cold slice and make a sandwich to remember. Thank you so much for this creative take on a time worn recipe!
I’m so glad you liked it! I love love your idea of adding the walnuts at the end and the feta. So happy your husband enjoyed this as well!
I have never tried harissa with eggplant before – but I think this is definitely one worth trying. It looks and sounds so appetizing. I love harissa and want to try it in more recipes. Thank you so much for sharing!
How far ahead can this be made? Made it twice already and….kaboom!!! Amazing!!!
I actually have no idea — I’ve made it and enjoyed the leftovers for a few days, so I’d guess maybe 2-3 days ahead of time? The eggplant will get a little soggier over time, but it’s so soft and melty to begin with, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
This was a great surprise. I have been using other Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern flavors. That touch of honey and heat was the nect level. Thanks, this will be saved and repeated often.
I’m so glad you liked it, Peggy — it’s one of our favorites. I love that sweet and spicy flavor combination!
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i love eggplant, cilantro, and the spices, but i don’t like honey (it’s too sweet for me). instead, i’ll use silan (date syrup), which is probably more traditional than honey, anyway. i’ll also use cumin seeds, toasted and ground in my mortar. i might top this dish with toasted pine nuts, too.
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Hi Julie. Question on the Harissa you use. I have Mina but a teaspoon seems so tiny. Wondering if there are different types of Harissa. Maybe a spice instead of the jarred kind? Thanks Sue
I usually use a dried spice mix — it packs a punch. I’ve also made it with the paste and add to taste. Feel free to use more if you’d like yours spicier!!
Tried this recipe tonight and it was absolutely delicious and very easy to make! It will definitely be added to my meal planning roster, thank you Julie!
So glad you liked the eggplant, Naza!!
Made this tonight and I am loving the flavors with the eggplant. I sent this to one of my friends to try who doesn’t like eggplant. This should change her mind.
So glad you liked it, Shamika!
What a delicious dish! My husband loves eggplant so I am always searching for new ways to make it! This one is a winner! We loved the addition of harissa!
I’m so glad to hear that you and your husband enjoyed this, Cindy! We also love the little kick from the harissa.
How did you get sooo many positive comments??? I have cooked a lot of recipes with good results. But …sorry …this recipe didn’t make it at all!!! I followed the directions to the tee …but double the portion. Way too sweet. Following your times I had eggplant soup. By the time I boiled off the liquid (35 more minutes …and I never did get a glaze) the eggplant was absolute mush.
This rates as the worst eggplant recipe (out of 2 dozen or so) I have ever made. I think I will throw it out!!!
Hi Bob — I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you. As you mentioned yourself, this recipe has lots of positive comments, so I’m quite confident that it works (and we made it ourselves just a few weeks ago for dinner). My best guess is that you cut the eggplant a little too thin, or your eggplant was overripe and very soft. If the eggplant slices are too thin, they fall apart in the sauce, which might result in the “soup” you’re describing. If the eggplant is appropriate ripeness and cut in *at least* 1 inch thick slices, it will stay in complete slices!