I had a craving for a grilled eggplant sandwich the other day but 1) I don’t have a grill and 2) that sounded like a lot of work, so I made this quick skillet version instead. The resulting Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches are a “meaty” combo of sautéed eggplant drenched with marinara sauce, piled high onto a garlic butter toasted bun, then topped off with melty mozzarella cheese. YES PLEASE.
What to Serve with Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches
These eggplant sandwiches are pretty filling, so I would pair them with something super simple, like a very basic side salad to kind of lighten up the plate. Or, if you want something more vegetable-packed, they would be awesome with Marinated Cauliflower Salad, Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes, Garlic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower, or Simple Sautéed Vegetables.
Sandwich Sizes and Servings
This recipe makes about 3-4 sandwiches, depending on the size of your eggplant and the size of your rolls or buns. I used hoagie buns that were about 6 inches in length and an eggplant that was about 8-inches long and I was able to make three large sandwiches. If you were to use round rolls, you’d probably get four piled-high sandwiches.
How to Store Leftovers
These sandwiches definitely need to be consumed right when they’re assembled, so if you’re in a smaller household that won’t be eating all three or four sandwiches at once, make sure to store the components separately. Keep the sautéed eggplant with red sauce in its own container and reheat either in a skillet or in the microwave. Butter and toast your bread just before assembly, then add the eggplant and cheese, and briefly heat to melt the cheese.
I used fresh mozzarella because it melts so beautifully and I can get it for a decent price. If fresh mozzarella is not available or not available at a reasonable price, you can use shredded mozzarella instead. Full-fat mozzarella will always melt better than part-skim, but part-skim will work in a pinch.
Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches
- 1 eggplant (8" length) ($1.49)
- 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided ($0.32)
- 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning ($0.10)
- 1 cup marinara sauce ($0.50)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 4 rolls ($1.53)
- 1 Tbsp butter ($0.11)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 4 oz. mozzarella ($2.00)
- Cube the eggplant into ½-inch cubes. Mince the garlic.
- Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add the cubed eggplant and Italian seasoning. Continue to sauté until the eggplant is soft (5-7 minutes).
- Add the marinara sauce to the skillet with the eggplant, stir to combine, then heat through (3-5 minutes). Taste and season with salt (about ½ tsp).
- Preheat the boiler on your oven and make sure the oven rack is positioned in the middle. Combine the second 2 Tbsp olive oil with the butter and garlic powder. Microwave for 15-30 seconds to melt the butter, then stir to combine.
- Place the buns on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Brush the butter and olive oil mixture over the cut surfaces of the rolls. Bake under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until they are just barely golden brown (watch them closely as broilers can vary).
- After removing the rolls from the oven, switch the setting from broil to bake (350ºF). Pile the eggplant mixture onto the toasted rolls, then top with mozzarella. Return the sandwiches to the hot oven and bake for about 5 minutes more, or until the mozzarella is melted. Serve hot!
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How to Make Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches – Step by Step Photos
Cube one eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Mince two cloves of garlic.
Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
Add the cubed eggplant and 1 tsp Italian seasoning. Continue to sauté until the eggplant is soft (5-7 minutes).
Once the eggplant is soft, add 1 cup marinara sauce.
Stir to combine the eggplant and sauce, then heat through. Taste and season with salt (about ½ tsp).
Preheat the broiler on your oven and make sure the oven’s rack is in the middle position. Place your buns or rolls on a baking sheet, cut side up. Combine the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp butter, and ¼ tsp garlic powder. Microwave for 15-30 seconds, or until melted, then stir to combine. Brush the butter and oil mixture over the cut surface of the rolls.
Toast the rolls under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until they are barely golden brown. Watch them closely, as broilers can vary quite a bit. Once toasted, switch the oven’s setting from broil to bake (350ºF). Spoon the eggplant mixture onto the rolls.
Top the eggplant mixture with mozzarella (about 1 oz. per sandwich).
Return the sandwiches to the oven and bake for a few minutes more, or until the mozzarella is melted.
Serve the eggplant mozzarella sandwiches while they’re still hot! (I added a little chopped parsley for color, but it’s not needed for flavor)