Tomato and Eggplant Gratin

Gratin 1If you want a beautiful side dish to set on the table, this tomato and eggplant gratin is it. Especially when made with colorful heirloom tomatoes. It tastes rich and decadent but is actually quite healthy when you take into account the antioxidants from the tomatoes and eggplant, potential health benefits of full fat dairy and protein from eggs.

Did you know that eggplant has high levels potent antioxidants? And as most people know, so do tomatoes. Healthwise and flavorwise they make a good team. But enough about all the healthy stuff. Plain and simple, this tomato and eggplant gratin is delicious. Really, delicious. Make it in the summer with perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes or make it in the winter and serve it as a holiday side dish.

Servings: 6

Time in the Kitchen: 2 hours



  • 2 eggplants, peeled (optional) and sliced into rounds 1/4-inch thick (6 mm)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) plus 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, thinly sliced (900 g)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (120 ml)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream (240 ml)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (60 ml)


Preheat an oven to 375 °F/190 °C.

In a large bowl, dissolve 2 tablespoons (30 ml) salt in 1 cup (240 ml) warm water. Once the salt is dissolved, put the eggplant slices in the salt water. Add enough cool water to cover the eggplant, 4 to 6 cups. (950 ml to 1420 ml) .Set a plate that is slightly smaller than the top of the bowl on the eggplant pieces to keep them submerged in the water. Let sit for 30 minutes. (Brining eggplant removes bitterness and keeps the texture from turning dry and leathery when roasted or grilled.)

While the eggplant is soaking, place the tomato slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (to prevent sticking) and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes. The tomatoes should release most of their moisture and become soft and shriveled. Take the tomatoes out, let cool, and set aside.

Step 1

Drain the eggplant and pat thoroughly dry.

Lay the eggplant slices out evenly on baking sheets and lightly brush with olive oil on both sides. You’ll probably use around 1/2 cup of olive oil to do this. Roast until the eggplant is soft, 30 minutes.

Step 2

In a large oval (or 9×13 cake pan) layer the eggplant and tomato.

Step 3

Whisk together eggs, cream, parsley and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Pour the custard on top of the tomato and eggplant.

Step 4

Bake 30 to 35 minutes until the custard is set and lightly browned.

Tomato and Eggplant Gratin

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37 thoughts on “Tomato and Eggplant Gratin”

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  1. This looks delicious, a great holiday or special occasion dish. I often use cubed eggplant instead of rice when making stuffed peppers or stuffed cabbage. It makes for a lighter, less dense filling. For those who are sensitive, keep in mind that tomatoes and eggplants are both members of the nightshade family.

    1. Nope, I just peel it, cut it into relatively small dice, and throw it in with the rest of the ingredients. It softens and soaks up the sauce during the cooking process. I’ve never tried brining it first. Seems to me it would make the dish too salty.

  2. That. Looks. Fabulous!
    I may be early in thinking about this, but I know one dish that’s showing up on my thanksgiving table!
    And I’ll be ready for the compliments. 😉

  3. That looks really delicious!
    I’ve never, ever seen anyone peel an eggplant though, why would you even do that? Doesn’t make any sense to me at all, like peeling a bell pepper or something. Isn’t most of the healthy stuff in the skin, too?

    1. Well,

      I actually sometimes do peel my bell peppers. It is a requirement for many italian grilled pepper recipes..

      And you would always peel your eggplants for many middle-eastern grilled eggplant recipes too, such as the many varieties of baba ganoush (but that’s mainly inspired because the grilling renders the skin tough and hardly edible)

      1. Well, yes, sure, but I wouldn’t call that “peeling”. I’d call that “removing the skin because it is charred/has become inedible”. 😉

  4. mmm mmm and mmm! For a few years I have grown eggplant in a small container – I found a small variety that is so easy and it has a beautiful flower! anyhow, I always just chopped it up and put it into soup – especially because nobody else likes eggplant around the house.

    However, maybe we will all like it more if cooked properly and with a good recipe – and so thanks recipe and for this tip:
    “Brining eggplant removes bitterness and keeps the texture from turning dry and leathery when roasted or grilled”

  5. I always knew to salt the eggplant but didn’t think to soak it in a brine. I have to try this recipe soon. My family doesn’t like eggplant but I will try this recipe and see if it changes their minds.

  6. This looks amazing! Any non-diary substitute suggestion for the cream?

    1. Coconut cream perhaps?

      As an eggplant connoisseur I love this dish idea. And why bother with peeling the skin? Not only you save time, you end up with slices that don’t fall apart during the cooking.

      When selecting an eggplant, pick one that is very light weight, with glossy color and tight skin. I’ve also read somewhere, that an eggplant with a round indentation at it’s bottom is a “male” (less seeds due to incomplete pollination), while one with a linear indentation is a “female”; but I haven’t tested this theory yet. And it must be organic.

      For grilling whole, frying or cooking, the segmented verity in the link below is my favorite, due to it’s flavor, snow white meat and lack of seeds (9/10).

    2. Coconut milk or coconut cream usually works as a substitute for dairy milk cream.

  7. This looks amazing! I’m making it tomorrow. We have plenty of tomatoes and eggplant from the garden and this sounds perfect.

  8. A variation of this would be squash, zucchini, and eggplant gratin. While you’re in the garden or at the farmer’s market, grab some fresh basil and garlic. Chop a few leaves of the basil and a pod of garlic and add to the mixture before popping in the oven for final cooking. And for a little extra decadence…before serving, top with a good grated Parmigiano cheese or (for you other Kerrygold fans out there) the Dubliner. Mmmmmm-good!

  9. Do we need to roast tomato and eggplant first ? Can we just cook em all together like a frittata ?

    1. You probably could, but you would have a lot of moisture in the dish, plus a different flavor profile without the roasting. One of the things that the roasting does is get rid of a lot of the moisture in the eggplant and the tomatoes in addition to giving them a nice roasted flavor. You would probably need to add something to help absorb some of the liquid, but I’m not sure what that would be.

  10. Looks wonderful. This will be perfect as Fall weather returns here in the MidWest!!

  11. I’ve been under the impression that you don’t use olive oil for high-heat cooking, e.g., baking. Am I mistaken?

    1. That’s correct. Olive oil has many health benefits but if it’s heated too the point where it burns you might alter the properties so it becomes carcinogenic. Kinda like charcoaling a steak or a piece of toast.

    2. Olive oil oxidizes and creates free radicals at high heat. This occurs when the oil is heated to its smoke point (where it begins to burn), which for olive oil is between 375 and 460 depending on the grade (extra virgin is lowest, light and pomace are highest). Typically, when food is baked, the food temperature is significantly lower than the air temp in the oven, so baking is not considered a high heat form of cooking. High heat usually refers to direct heat methods such as saute and grilling where the oil would be in direct or close contact to open flames and temperatures far in excess of their smoke point.

  12. One moment my post was awaiting moderation and the next is disappeared from the site; what gives?

  13. Made this today as I’m not keen on Aubergines and wanted try to eat more of them.
    It was beautiful and even better when cold.
    It will definitely be a lunch box regular.
    Thanks so much for the recipe.

  14. I’m not a big eggplant eater, but this sounded good. I made it tonight and it was scrumptious. Definitely something I’ll keep making. Thanks.

  15. I have never before left a recipe review, but this Eggplant and Tomato Gratin is really fabulous and I felt compelled to tell others about it. I often make a totally different Eggplant and Tomoto Gratin recipe with non-gluten breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, and so I wasn’t too motivated to try this one because I was happy with what I’d been making. But my husband sent me the recipe and so I decided to give it a try anyway. So glad I did! This is absolutely delicious food. Don’t be daunted when you take it out of the oven: the egg has set around the sides and though out, but the heavy cream will leave a somewhat “soupy” consistency. No matter. I guess I was expecting a more ‘firm’ effect. But as it turns out, the heavy creaminess of the dish is exactly what makes it so darn good. Enjoy!

  16. Followed the recipe exactly, and it came out wonderful. Plan on eating leftovers for breakfast with some home cured bacon. We are going to try adding basil and some mozzarella cheese for a variation. In the winter we will try some Roma tomatoes instead of heirlooms from summer. The peeled, brined and roasted eggplant was surprisingly good. Always looking for a veggie dish to expand our horizons.

  17. I’m new to the primal world, this being my second week – I made this dish last night, and I’m already planning to make it again! So good – peoples eyes light up when they taste it!!
    Love it

  18. I made this last night with a few modifications. I added a layer of cooked chorizo with extra garlic and a layer of mozzarella to top it off, FANTASTIC!!

  19. Hi-I made this last night for my book club, big hit!. I used basil instead of parsley and didn’t peel the eggplant. I had lots of heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market. Thanks for the recipe!

  20. Made a batch of Balsamic Glazed Drumsticks last night, and amazingly there’s some left!!
    If you haven’t tried them go here:
    I think the flavours of this dish would go perfectly with it, so now I know what’s for dinner tonight!
    I have some huge beef tomatoes I got from the Asian market at the weekend (never seen heirloom ones over here, though they look interesting) and a couple of aubergines I was wondering what to do with.
    Think I’m gonna go with the basil and nix the parsley though, and swap the full cream for coconut. Will let you know how it goes..

  21. it says “side dish”

    but i find it substantial enough to be a light supper. (i topped it with some shaved Parmesan cheese tho)

    it took a long time to but well worth the wait.

  22. Is there any reason why the tomatoes and eggplant can’t go in the oven for roasting at the same time?

  23. This did not only LOOK like a great recipe… it WAS! Absolutely yummy and satisfying to anyone who likes a custardy, sweet (from the tomatoes), umami-ish, easy dish. Recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks, Mark!