Chinese Inspired Vegan Eggplant Recipe


Want a healthy Chinese inspired recipe that happens to be both vegan and gluten-free? This deliciously sweet and savoury dish can be served alone or with rice. Imagine fresh eggplants sautéed with garlic, ginger, chilli and seasoned with balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Damn!

I was first introduced to this recipe by my good friend Aaron who is both MTLVEG’s unofficial food tester and a huge influence on my cooking. Aaron is an Asian food enthusiast with knowledge of both Chinese and Thai cuisine. 

Authenticity and international cuisine.

My friend Aaron, like many foodie types, is impressed by authentic ethnic dishes that taste as they would in their country of origin. Exploring authentic cuisines in a multicultural city like Montreal is really exciting.  You’re always hunting for exotic ingredients, interpreting foreign labels and travelling across town for family run gems. Being a vegetarian, however, often conflicts with eating authentic foods because the veg diet goes against the grain of most international cuisines. This is even more true for vegans.

Think about it – Jamaican jerk chicken becomes jerk tempeh, London steak becomes tofu steak and meat-based stock gets replaced with vegetable stock.

I mention this because I want to emphasize that my recipes, although deeply influenced by international cuisines such as Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Canadian, Vietnamese, Jamaican are not necessarily the “real deal.” When I share a recipe, it is often the “veg” spin on traditional dishes. Although I do admire authenticity and always strive to always seek out authentic ingredients, I felt it was important to make the distinction.

That is my schpeel, now on to the recipe.

Chinese Inspired Vegan Eggplant Recipe
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  • 3 Chinese eggplants, cut into logs
  • Half of a yellow bell pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 celery stock (optional), sliced
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, for cooking
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp chilli (optional)
  • 2 green onion
    For the sauce:
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar or Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp of sesame oil
  • To garnish:Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Jasmine Rice, 1 cup uncooked
  • Steamed veggies (optional)


  • Cut eggplant into logs (about 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick, spread them out and sprinkle with salt, set aside for 10 mins.
  • Sliced bell pepper into 1/4-inch strips.
  • Slice green onion.
  • Mince garlic, ginger, chilli, set aside.
  • Cook rice and steam veggies.
  • Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium/high heat.
  • Pat down salted eggplants with a paper towel to remove excess water.
  • Cook and stir in eggplant, bell pepper and celery until soft, about 3 - 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile make the sauce by mixing sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar in a bowl, mix and allow the sugar to dissolve.
  • Toss eggplants, celery and peppers to the side of the pan, making room for the other ingredients.
  • Add a drizzle more of oil (.5 tbsp) and add garlic, ginger, green onions and chilli, stir vigorously for about 2 minutes.
  • Incorporate all the ingredients together in the pan, mixing the veg with the savoury.
  • Add sauce, mix well and allow it to cook about about 3 minutes. Access water must evaporate.
  • Incorporate in fresh cilantro.

Makes two servings.

Add rice and steamed veggies for a complete meal.




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