Korean BBQ Eggplant Tacos with Cabbage Slaw
October 29, 2021
By Elizabeth Palmer Califano

Absolutely packed with umami flavor, this vegetarian recipe is sure to win over any skeptics around your table. Eggplant offers a satisfying meaty texture, especially when coated in sweet and spicy sauce and charred on a grill. Rich in B vitamins, fiber and potassium, eggplant is an excellent addition to your recipe rotation. Cabbage slaw adds a crunchy counterpoint, and contains sulforaphane, a powerful nutrient that protects against cancer and aids in lowering blood pressure and inflammation. Gochujang, the foundational ingredient in this Korean BBQ sauce, is a fundamental ingredient in Korean cuisine. Made of red chili pepper flakes, sticky rice, fermented soybeans and salt, it adds an irresistible umami flavor, and the capsaicin in the chili pepper can boost your metabolism and reduce insulin spikes.

Serves: 4

Total Time: 30 minutes

Taco Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 batch Korean BBQ Sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 batch cabbage slaw (recipe below)
  • 12 tortillas
  • Lime wedges and cilantro, to serve


  1. Trim the stem off the eggplant, then halve it lengthwise. Cut each half on a bias into ¼ inch thick half-moons. Toss with 4 tablespoons of the Korean BBQ sauce, making sure each piece is well coated.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium. Grill the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes per side, until you have nice grill marks and the eggplant is tender. Transfer back into the marinate bowl and toss with any extra sauce left in the bowl.
  3. Grill your tortillas for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side, just until warm and flexible.
  4. Assemble the tacos, with slaw on the bottom, followed by a few eggplant slices, a drizzle of BBQ sauce, and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges, if desired. Enjoy!

Korean BBQ Sauce:

In a blender or food processor, combine ½ cup orange marmalade, ¼ cup gochujang, 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, 1 teaspoon fish sauce, 2 garlic cloves and 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice. Blend until completely smooth.

Cabbage Slaw:

In a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, ½ teaspoon fish sauce, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 2 cups shredded green cabbage, 1 thinly sliced scallion, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, 3 tablespoons hemp hearts and 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds. Mix until well combined and allow to sit at least 15 minutes before serving.

About the Author

Elizabeth Palmer Califano
Elizabeth is a graduate of Hamilton College and The French Culinary Institute, as well as an avid world traveler and dinner party hostess. For more information, visit her website: www.elizabethpalmerkitchen.com