Lunch is a meal I struggle with, both at work and on the weekends.  During the week I just do not have much time to throw together a lunch consisting of more than leftovers or fruit, yogurt, cheese and crackers.  On the weekends, I should theoretically have more time and energy but usually I’ve got so many activities and tasks planned that lunch gets pushed to the back burner and I end up making a grilled cheese (or better yet, having Ben make one for me :) )  Not that I don’t love grilled cheese because I really do, but sometimes it’s nice to switch it up a bit.

I’m not one to eat Thanksgiving leftovers more than once or twice, so I planned this eggplant marinara flatbread for a lazy weekend lunch after the big holiday was over.  It really didn’t take much more effort than a grilled cheese and it was a nice change from the usual.  Plus, it’s got lots of things I love: bread?  Good.  Eggplant?  Good.  Cheese?  Gooood.  (Friends, anyone?)  Cut into small slices as I did, this could also make a great appetizer for a party.  It reminds me a lot of an eggplant Parmesan panini but without the trouble of actually making eggplant Parmesan.  Score!


4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
6 (1/3-1/2-inch thick) slices eggplant, about 4 inches in diameter
Thick slices artisan bread, such as ciabatta, Italian, etc. (about 9 x 12 inches surface area)
Marinara sauce (about 1 cup)
1 oz. soft fresh goat cheese (I used garlic herb)
¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
1 cup coarsely grated mozzarella cheese


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the eggplant slices with salt and pepper.  Lay the eggplant in the heated skillet.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, turning, until the eggplant is lightly browned on both sides, about 6 minutes total.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  Brush the cut side of the bread slices with the remaining oil and cook in the warm skillet on medium-high heat until golden brown, 1-2 minutes.

  • 02

    Lay the bread, cut side up, on a baking sheet.  Spread a thin layer of the marinara sauce on each slice.  Crumble the goat cheese over the marinara and sprinkle with chopped basil.  Lay the egg plant slices on top of the  marinara.  Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over the eggplant slices and dot lightly with remaining marinara sauce.

  • 03

    Bake until the topping is hot and slightly browned, about 12 minutes.  Slice into small pieces.  Garnish with additional basil leaves as desired.


  • This sounds so so so yummy! And I adore that it’s vegetarian too! Will be making this next week for my and the kids’ lunches. Thank you so much :)

  • You know, Annie, I was just searching around for appetizer ideas for my New Years Eve party this year, and this is the perfect idea! This flatbread looks delicious, and I’d love to give it a try before the party. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Love it! Eggplant, marinara, cheese. Yummy deliciousness! I’d like to make some of this right now. :)

  • this looks scrumptious! eggplant is one of my favorite veggies. i love quick and easy recipes!

  • MMMmmm! It looks so appetizing!!!
    Mglòria from Gourmenderies

  • Lovely photos for a delicious meal! YUM!

  • What a beautiful and creative app- I can’t wait to make this!

  • mmm this looks great! i love goat cheese on anything

  • Droooool!! This looks awesome.

  • Erica

    This looks delicious! And referencing one of my favorite shows and beef trifle episode makes this post even more awesome!

  • looks delicious!! i’ve never cooked/baked w/ eggplant before, but i do like it!!!

  • We are having an Italian themed Christmas this year, so this will be perfect for appetizers!

  • This is really, really up my alley. I love eggplant, basil, tomato and bread :-). I am a happy girl looking at this picture :-)

  • What a good idea! This looks delicious — and fresh basil makes me think of summer :)

  • This looks soo yummy! I am prone to eating pb&j a lot for lunch since it’s quick and easy to assemble. But this definitely looks delicious and easy as well. Thanks for sharing!

  • Pretty sure I could quote that entire episode. “I wasn’t supposed to put beef in the trifle!”

  • I just wanted to say that I totally remember that Friends reference… Rachel’s attempt at the English Trifle for dessert! “What’s not to like? Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, gooood!” Love it!

    PS – I’ve been looking for easy ways to make eggplant dishes since my husband isn’t really a fan. This looks like a great way for me to get some eggplant in!

  • Goat cheese, GOOOOOOD! I too have a really hard time with lunch. These little baby’s will help with that I’m quite sure :)

  • Oh lovely! This looks delicious….fresh and inviting. Wonderful mix of ingredients.

  • LOL–yes, I can just see Joey saying that! Aw, love FRIENDS! This flatbread looks amazing–what a great idea for a quick, beautiful, and nutritious lunch!

  • Mary Lynn

    My husband likes anything with eggplant. This will be our Saturday lunch. Thanks.
    P.S. I watch Friends every morning before work.

  • I love eggplant and I’ll try this. Now I need to find a way to make my husband eat eggplant!

  • That looks amazing! And I literally am the same as you with lunch – cheese and crackers or grilled cheese are what I eat most days:) Lunch is so difficult!

  • Would you please come make this for me?

  • Love love love the friends reference! :)

    This looks tasty! I’ll have to give it a try sometime when I have a taste for eggplant.

  • Ellen

    Jam, good, meat, GOOD!! :)

  • Annie

    Um yeah, we own all the seasons of Friends on DVD. I think I know them all by heart – it’s a little out of control :)

  • that looks so scrumptious!!! I love it, I want it now for lunch thanks for sharing! thanks for the laugh too, Joey is the best!

  • This is pretty much a delicious looking lunch that I could eat on a daily basis. I love anything with eggplant and cheese and bread for that matter! Well done :)

  • i am gng to make this soon,.

  • OMG this looks SOOO good – I have to try it :-)

    By the way, I love your blog…..

    My best
    Birthe from Denmark

  • I’m not a huge Italian fan,
    but this LOOKS delish
    I’m thinking I must try!


  • I tried this last night and it was DELISH! Wow…such a great combo of flavors.

  • This is amazing – brilliant! I can’t wait to share this recipe with my husband! I would love you to share it on my blog party, Gold Star Wednesday too – it’s perfect!

  • Ana

    I just wanted to say a massive thank you to you for your blog! I am throwing a surprise party for my boyfriend and I have been looking for inspiration for party food and I am going to use mostly recipes from your blog! I have just bought all the ingredients needed and have decided I will be making Eggplant Marinara Flatbread, Salmon Mousse, Caramelized Onion Tart and Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Cupcakes, with a massive birthday cake! And also the Cookies and Cream Cupcakes for when his parents come to visit soon! I will let you know how it all goes – I’m from the UK so I hope I convert the recipes properly…!

  • Soraida Arráiz

    excelent, we loved it easy and delicious

  • Tiffany Shanks

    I tried these tonight, I changed a few things, but they were amazing even my nine year old liked them. I used feta cheese in place of goat cheese, and I did not have any basil, but we will be making them again for sure. Thank you for the idea.

  • Jennie

    Goodness-was this a lovely lunch! I didn’t even think I liked eggplant,(always thought they were kind of mushy and grainy) but I got one in the CSA so I thought I would give it a try…it was so good! I was out of basil-(sniff!) but it was still great. So glad I took the time to make an actual lunch…It feels so nice to stop and enjoy a real lunch and some “me time” instead of eating on the go!