Pickled Eggplant Recipe

Make a batch of this variation on the Italian pickled eggplant dish, melanzane sott'olio, with your extra eggplant from the garden.

May 06, 2020

Pickled Eggplant Melanzane sott'olio

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Eggplant may not be the first vegetable that comes to mind when you think of a pickle, but it does make a tasty condiment. Known in Italy as melanzane sott'olio (which translates to "pickled eggplant under oil"), this pickled eggplant is a staple in Italian kitchens. Featuring the rich and bright flavors of the Mediterranean, this pickle dish is perfect for an antipasto course or eaten straight out of the jar.

Materials Needed

  • two medium eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 5 fresh mint leaves, sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 quart-size glass canning jar
  • large saucepan
  • 2 - 28 ounce cans of tomatoes
  • 1 sheet of wax paper

Soak the Eggplant

Gather the ingredients needed to make the pickled eggplant (Image 1). Slice the eggplants into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Toss them with the salt so that they are evenly covered, and place them in a colander (Image 2). Place the colander on top of a large bowl, then place a sheet of wax paper over the eggplant. Set a couple of large cans on top of the wax paper. Let the eggplant sit in the refrigerator for at least six hours, but overnight is better (Image 3) to make sure all of the moisture is removed from the eggplant.

Make the Brine

After the 6 to 12 hour soak, gently squeeze any remaining liquid from the eggplant. Discard the liquid (Image 1). In a large, non-reactive saucepan, bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Add the eggplant to the mixture, bring it back to a boil and let it cook for about 3 minutes (Image 2). Turn off the heat, and strain the eggplant in a colander. Let the eggplant drain for about 5 minutes. Then, with a large spoon, gently press out any extra liquid (Image 3).

Add the Spices

Layer the eggplant with the herbs, crushed red pepper and garlic in a glass canning jar (Image 1). Top off the layers with enough olive oil to cover the eggplant completely (Image 2).


Refrigerate the pickled eggplant for 24 to 48 hours before eating. Serve on toasted bread or in pasta salads. It will last in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Pickled Eggplant Melanzane sott'olio on toast

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

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