Eat this peak-summer dish as a side or a meatless main. Eggplant and bell peppers are grilled au naturel—all the fun comes in the finish, when the vegetables are showered in mint, basil and peanuts and drizzled liberally with a sauce called nuoc cham.

Source: Midwest Living


Credit: Carson Downing

Recipe Summary

15 mins
35 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • For nuoc cham sauce: In a bowl, whisk together lime juice, maple syrup, the water and fish sauce. Add chile (if using) and garlic. Let stand 30 minutes before serving. (Nuoc cham may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week.)

  • Preheat grill to high. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise and brush all over with 2 tablespoons oil. Toss bell pepper quarters with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle vegetables with kosher salt.

  • Reduce grill heat to medium-high. Place eggplant and bell peppers, cut sides down, on grate over direct heat. Cook, uncovered, until grill marks appear, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn vegetables. Cover and continue grilling until vegetables are tender and lightly charred in spots, 5 to 7 minutes more, turning occasionally. (The eggplant may be done a minute or two before the bell peppers.)

  • Arrange eggplant halves on a platter. Coarsely chop bell peppers and scatter them over the eggplant. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of nuoc cham sauce. Sprinkle with mint, basil and peanuts. Serve with additional nuoc cham on the side.


Fish sauce is a widely available condiment signature to Southeast Asian cuisines. One especially good brand is Red Boat, but any you find will work.


Chinese eggplants are long, slender and bright lavender. Their thin skin and mild, sweet taste are well suited for recipes like this one, with a short cooking time and strong flavors. Japanese or graffiti eggplant are similar substitutes. If using globe or Italian eggplant, use 2 medium eggplants (2 pounds total) and cut them lengthwise into 1-inch-thick planks.

Nutrition Facts

257 calories; fat 16g; saturated fat 2g; carbohydrates 28g; mono fat 9g; poly fat 5g; insoluble fiber 10g; sugars 18g; protein 6g; vitamin a 2669.2IU; vitamin c 106.6mg; thiamin 0.2mg; riboflavin 0.3mg; niacin equivalents 3.8mg; vitamin b6 0.5mg; folate 10.6mcg; sodium 886mg; potassium 836mg; calcium 61mg; iron 1.3mg.