Fried eggplant with tomato sauce (Μελιτζάνες τηγανητές με σάλτσα ντομάτας )

Fried eggplant with tomato sauce

An incredible Greek side dish of fried eggplant which is then baked in a rich tomato sauce

We know that eggplant is a divisive fruit (yes, eggplant is botanically a fruit!) and that there are camps of people who love them, and others who hate them. We happen to be lovers of the aubergine and are thrilled when our gardens start to offer this versatile, hearty and delicious purple gift.

We have already posted several eggplant recipes, and here we are finally sharing what may be one of our favourites. In this classic Greek dish, which can be served as a side or just as easily as a meze or light lunch, eggplants are fried and then baked in a rich tomato sauce. This is a dish best served with a nice loaf of fresh bread for dipping; the sauce is to die for! You can even layer the eggplant and sauce between two slices of bread and make yourself an eggplant and tomato sauce sandwich. Sound strange? Have we ever steered you wrong before?

Fried eggplant with tomato sauce

The simplicity of this dish is part of what makes it so wonderful. This is the type of recipe that our parents make regularly; one which uses few ingredients, makes the most of their garden bounty, and of the tomatoes that they can and preserve to be used year round.

Although the eggplant is first fried, making this perhaps a less than ideal diet food, the ingredients themselves are wholesome. As usual, no preservatives and no obscure items, just honest, humble and hearty fare.

Helpful hints

Do I have to fry the eggplant before baking it?

If you are tempted not to fry the eggplant before baking this dish, in order to save on calories and fat, we strongly urge you not to; the flavour and texture just won’t be the same. In some of our recipes, like our moussaka, we don’t fry the eggplant, and that works out beautifully. But here, the frying adds another layer of flavour that you don’t want to miss out on.

If you are trying to avoid fried foods altogether, then be sure to check out our Recipe List where you’ll find all sorts of non-fried recipes. Or if your diet does allow for some fried food, go ahead and give this recipe a try. Maybe just have a smaller portion, and don’t make it every week (Note: you may find both of those limitations quite difficult, so we apologize in advance.)

Can I use any variety of eggplant for this dish?

We tend to use small to medium sized Globe eggplants or Italian eggplants in this dish; the latter look very much like the standard purple Globe eggplant you will probably find in the grocery store, but are smaller. Other eggplant varieties would probably work as well so feel free to experiment.

Where can I find the recipe for the tomato sauce options in the recipe?

You can either use our parents’ Chunky tomato sauce for this recipe (our first choice – and you can find the recipe here) or a homemade marinara sauce, and you can find our recipe here. Otherwise, you can use a good quality canned or jarred marinara sauce.

Pin this recipe if you like it!

Fried eggplant with tomato sauce

Have we convinced you that eggplants are great? Check out these other recipes starring your new favourite vegetable fruit:

Eggplant, zucchini and potato bake

Eggplant dip

Eggplant stew

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Fried eggplant with tomato sauce

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Fried eggplant with tomato sauce
Fried eggplant with tomato sauce

Fried eggplant with tomato sauce (Μελιτζάνες τηγανητές με σάλτσα ντομάτας )

An incredible Greek side dish of fried eggplant which is then baked in a rich tomato sauce
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, meze, Side Dish
Cuisine: Greek
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Author: Mia Kouppa


  • Frying pan
  • Roasting pan


  • 5 small to medium eggplants
  • 1 tsp salt
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup Mia Kouppa's chunky tomato sauce or marinara sauce see Note
  • 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves


  • Wash the eggplants, remove the stems and cut them length-wise into wedges. Place your eggplants in a bowl and cover them with cold water. Place another bowl or a dish over your eggplant in order to keep them submerged in the water. Allow to soak for about 5 minutes.
  • Drain the eggplant and then sprinkle them with 1 tsp of salt.
  • Heat about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in your frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, start adding the pieces of eggplant. In order not to overcrowd your pan you may need to add them in batches. Fry each side of the eggplants until they are golden brown on all sides. This will take a total of about 7-8 minutes per batch. You might have to add a little bit of fresh vegetable oil in between batches.
  • Place the fried eggplants onto a plate. Continue cooking the rest until all of your eggplant has been fried.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Take a small sauce pot, and heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic slices and fry them for about 1 minute. Add your chunky tomato sauce or your marinara sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat through, stirring regularly, for just a few minutes.
  • While your sauce is being warmed up, place your eggplants in a roasting dish (we use a 9 X 13 inch roasting dish) and sprinkle your dried rosemary leaves on top of them.
  • Spoon your marinara sauce over the eggplant pieces. You will not be covering them entirely,
  • Place in the middle rack of your oven, and bake uncovered for 5 - 7 minutes.
  • Enjoy.


This recipe calls for chunky tomato sauce, and you can find our recipe for this by clicking here.
Alternatively, you can use a marinara sauce that you either purchase, or one that you have made yourself.  If you're looking for a marinara sauce recipe, you can find ours here.

Thanks for sharing!


  1. Susan Reed says:

    I had a large eggplant to use up and have a fresh rosemary plant so I thought that I would try this recipe and am REALLY glad that I did! What a delicious dish! I had never used rosemary in tomato sauce but will be from now on. This made for a delicious lunch but I’d also serve this on a weekend evening with wine and crostini (or something similar!) Thank you again for sharing your family recipes. 🙂

    1. miakouppa says:

      We are so happy that you tried our recipe Susan, and that you loved it. We really love this simple dish and we’re happy that you did too! We’re so glad to have you hear with us, and that you appreciate our family recipes. xoxo Helen & Billie

    2. Eggplant popular with Indian Cooking , only thing is it soaks too much oil I make fritters using Chickpea flour , Spices and water make mixture and deep fry bits of Eplant tastes great we called it Pakoras lovely snack dish with chutney Aspi

      1. miakouppa says:

        Sounds delicious Aspi! We actually just ordered in Indian food last night – we love it!! xoxo

  2. I know this is post is about the recipe (which I am more than eager to try), but I actually have a question about growing eggplants. I see your mom grows them in containers with great success! What type of eggplant does she grow, and in
    how large a container?

    1. miakouppa says:

      So sorry for the delay in getting back to you! And please, ask any gardening questions you have and we’ll do our best to answer you (after we consult with our parents 🙂 ) According to our dad, eggplant always grows best in pots – and in fact in our own garden we have been following his advice with great success. Not sure why this is – but it works. Perhaps it depends on the climate? and soil? (we’re in Canada). Our parents have grown all sorts of eggplants in pots, from these little tiny ones that they use to make toursi (a pickled eggplant) to regular globe eggplants, to the longer Asian eggplants. The pots they use vary with what they have available but they are typically about 18 – 20 liters or so. Good luck! and we hope this is helpful 🙂 xoxo Helen & Billie

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