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Pan-Fried White Eggplant with Onion, Caper, and Herb Sauce

If you happen to find some white eggplant at the farmer’s market, this Pan-Fried White Eggplant with Onion, Caper, and Herb Sauce is a tasty way to use it, and this delicious eggplant dish is low-carb, gluten-free, Whole 30, Paleo, meatless, and South Beach Diet friendly.

Last summer I fell in love with eggplant, so for this year’s garden I planted both Black Beauty and white eggplant. They’re producing like mad, and I’m really liking the white eggplant, which seems just a bit sweeter than the purple ones. Of course, you can make this Pan-Fried White Eggplant with Onion, Caper, and Herb Sauce with regular purple eggplant too, but choose ones that are on the small side. Even though this eggplant is fried, it doesn’t take a huge amount of oil, and the sauce was delicious, although it possibly could have been more photogenic. If you like eggplant, this is an easy and delicious way to cook it.

This recipe was adapted from one in a book I received called Two Dudes One Pan, and they recommended salting the eggplant. I’ve heard mixed reviews about whether salting is needed, but I confess, I kind of like watching the eggplant ooze out water so I sprinkled sea salt both sides and let it sit about 20 minutes.

The dudes called it pan-roasted eggplant, but it seemed fried to me, so I went with that for my recipe title. Apparently these dudes were on Iron Chef. I must apologize for my lack of TV watching because I’ve never heard of them, (sorry dudes!) but I do like the looks of a lot of their recipes.

The dudes used shallots, which I knew a lot of blog readers weren’t going to have, so I used very finely minced red onions. If you have shallots, even better, but whichever you use, be sure they’re very finely chopped.

This would taste great with something like Very Greek Grilled Chicken for a delicious low-carb meal!

Pan-Fried White Eggplant with Onion, Caper, and Herb Sauce
(Makes 4 side dish servings, recipe adapted slightly from Two Dudes One Pan.)

3 small or 2 medium white eggplants (purple or Asian eggplant will also work)
salt, for drawing water out of eggplant
3 T olive oil, divided (may need a little more if you don’t have a non-stick pan)
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion (or shallots)
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 T capers
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1 T chopped fresh basil (or use a bit more parsley if you don’t have basil)


Wash eggplants and cut off both ends. Cut eggplants into 3/4 inch thick pieces and arrange on cutting board in a single layer. Sprinkle both sides of eggplant with salt, then let sit about 20 minutes, or until you see some water that has been drawn out by the salt. Blot both sides of eggplant with paper towel. (Some people feel that salting eggplant is completely unnecessary, so skip this step if you’d like.)

Heat 1 T olive oil in large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat until oil starts to shimmer. Add eggplant and cook on first side until starting to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Turn over and cook on other side until eggplant is cooked through and browned on both sides. You may have to cook the eggplant in two batches if you don’t have a big enough pan.) Remove eggplant to serving dishes.

While eggplant cooks, chop onion, garlic, parsley, and basil. Put capers, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, parsley, basil, and 1 T olive oil in food processor and pulse a few times. (I used the bowl of my immersion blender. You can also skip this step if you want a chunkier sauce.)

Add last tablespoon of olive oil to pan, heat about 30 seconds, then add onion and saute 2-3 minutes. Add minced garlic and saute another minute or two. Add caper mixture and heat about a minute, then pour sauce over eggplant and serve immediately.

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South Beach Suggestions:

This recipe is great for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or any other low-glycemic or low-carb eating plan, and the recipe is also meatless, gluten-free, dairy-free, Whole 30, or Paleo. 

More Tasty Ideas with Eggplant:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Grilled Chinese Eggplant with Garlic and Ginger Sauce from Andrea’s Recipes

Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Red Pepper, Parsley, and Mint from Kalyn’s Kitchen<

Cold Aubergine Salad with Black Vinegar from The Perfect Pantry

Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta, and Herbs

Sicilian Eggplant from A Veggie Venture

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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36 comments on “Pan-Fried White Eggplant with Onion, Caper, and Herb Sauce”

  1. Wow..What a flavor. I bought my first white eggplant today and came across this recipe. I did not have capers in the house, so I looked around and found frozen edamame. I steamed them and popped the beans out replacing the capers. I chopped them up and used them. It came out really good. What a different flavor. I love this recipe and will be making it again.

  2. I'm not really sure, but I'd guess that salting might reduce the cooking time. You could also try grilling the eggplant; I've had good luck with that.

  3. OK, tried the recipe to mixed success. The sauce was great and end result tasted wonderful. I did not salt the eggplant since I wanted them to stay somewhat firm after cooking. When I put them in the pan, they splattered excessively and soaked up the oil almost immediately. I turned down the heat to medium and added more oil. I still feel like the pieces maybe cooked too fast. Any suggestions?

  4. Kz, how fun to hear we have the same taste in so many things. Hope you will continue to enjoy the blog.

  5. Kalyn,

    I found your blog when it showed up at the top of a google search for white eggplant. I haven't tried the eggplant recipe yet, but I've perused your blog thoroughly. A few of your "Popular Posts" caught my eye. Then I found that I have about one-third of "Kayln's Picks" in my cupboards right now. I'm hooked!

  6. wow…i've seen green n purple eggplants but not white till now…i've gotta try this…it's easy to make and it looks yum-yum :))

  7. So glad you liked it.

  8. I'm always looking for different ways to fix eggplant and I really enjoyed this recipe, thank you!

  9. WOW this is great!!!!

  10. Thank you for the recipe!! What a surprise when I went to my garden expecting purple eggplant and finding white I wasnt quite sure what to think? Sounds delicious!

  11. I just made this with a serving or so of tofu added in with the onions to make it a meal and it was amazing! Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Tom, I bought plants at the garden center, so I don't know where you would get the seeds.

  13. Where can I buy the seeds for white eggplant

  14. Gonancy, I think tomato pesto sounds great in this! Great adaptation.

  15. I’m a single empty nester mom and I struggle to cook meals for myself. I happened to buy a small white eggplant this week and googled for a recipe. I found this one and had everything on hand except the capers. I halved the recipe (just eyeballing it) and added about a 1/2 tsp of tomato pesto instead of the capers. I wasn’t sure about the taste, but once the puree was mixed with the onions and garlic, it was incredible! Easy to make and very tasty.

  16. Absolutely this topping would be great on pan-fried tofu. Great idea.

  17. Those eggplant make me think of tofu. I wonder if the same topping could be applied to pan-fried tofu?

  18. I’ve never seen or heard of white eggplant Kalyn. I love the pencil shaped purple ones.

  19. This looks fabulous, Kalyn! I must get some eggplant soon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen these lovely white eggplants but the Asian purple ones are readily available. Oooh, I can’t wait!


  20. I haven’t used white eggplant, but I have some of the purple version and all the fresh herbs you have in your recipe. Actually, I have everything! I’ll try it tonight. No adjusting since it’s already gluten-free and diary-free. Yeah!

  21. We LOVED the white eggplant you gave us from your garden. It was so tasty! We ate it right up! This recipe looks divine!

  22. Steve would have me toss capers in every dish I make. And with balsamic and basil? We’re both so there.

  23. I just bought a purple egg plant, and while it’s fairly large I may give this a try anyway. I can always cut the slices in half. But of course smaller eggplants like most veggies are much more tender and sweet. But you have to work with what I have right? (smile)
    I’ve never had the privilege to see a white eggplant. But I’d sure like too.
    Thanks so much for sharing,

  24. Kalyn, This looks like a great recipe. I have a bumper crop of eggplants that I need to cook today, and I’ve been struggling for a good idea… I now have one, thanks!

  25. Kalyn: thanks for the idea, I need some new recipes for eggplant!!!

  26. hey try this eggplant recipe,

    * 1 kilo gravy (shin) beef, cut into 3cm cubes
    * 1 tablespoon masterfoods arabian seasoning
    * 500 millilitres carton beef stock with roasted onion
    * 4 roma tomatoes, quartered
    * 2 tablespoon plain flour

    1) toss beef in seasoning mix.add half the seasoned meat cubes to a heated, greased large pan. stir over heat until meat is browned, then removed from pan and set aside. repeat step with remaining seasoned meat. cut 4 finger eggplants diagonally into 1cm slice. return beef you have set aside to pan with eggplant, stock and 1/2 cup water. bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1hr, stirring occasionally.

  27. I seldom see white eggplant at the farmers market, so it’s exciting to see this recipe, which will motivate me to drive to Whole Foods. The onion, caper and herb sauce sounds vibrant and delicious.

  28. I’d wondered about white eggplants, since I see them all the time in seed catalogs. I’ll give them a try next year. That sauce looks great! I’ve been eating my eggplants with tomato sauces, but with an embarrassment of eggplant riches right now, I’m ready for a change!

  29. Susy, I do think the white ones are less bitter, but I don’t know if the texture is any different. I don’t like eggplant when it’s cooked to death, but I do like it grilled and fried.

    Hilary, do try it!

    Ricki, I loved this recipe. The variations are endless for the sauce.

    Gabi, too sad. How about tomatoes? Can he eat those? I know they’re in the same family.

    Peter, They would be great appetizers, because they’re really quite small. You can’t quite tell that from the photo. Hope you can find some.

    Valentina, these are shaped just like the purple ones, but pure white inside and out. I don’t know if they would grow in a pot, but I think they might if it was in a warm enough place.

  30. Oh, they are so meaty. I first looked at the picture and thought that they were pieces of fish – no kidding. I would love to see the varieties you talked about. I have only seen the purple ones – big and small. and a small white one. I am a big fan of aubergines. would they grow in a pot?

  31. I’ve never seen the white eggplant…must have a peek around the market.

    These would make for great appetizers.

  32. Delcious Kalyn- DH is allergic to eggplant so I’ll have to get my fix from your picture 🙂

  33. Never tried white eggplant, but I do love the regular kind. . . and this recipe sounds fantastic! Must give it a try. 🙂

  34. I’ve never tried white eggplant before. Now I have no excuse!

  35. I’ll have to try the white eggplants. Mr Chiots and I just haven’t been able to get into regular eggplants. I buy a few every summer, and this summer I grew some. I’ve used them countless ways, but to no avail. We just can’t do the texture for some reason. We grill them, cube them, and hide them in pasta, which is ok I guess. I sometimes add the slices to veggie lasagne. I’d much rather eat zucchini.

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