Aubergines with basil pesto crust recipe

(90 ratings)

These aubergines with basil pesto crust make a great starter for a Mediterranean dish or vegetarian meal. Simply bake, add the crust and grill to finish.

Baked aubergines with basil pesto crust
(Image credit: Getty / iStock)
  • Vegetarian
Preparation Time10 mins
Cooking Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Cost RangeCheap

Baked aubergines with a basil pesto crust are simple to make and taste fantastic. 

You can adapt the topping to make them even fancier if you like, or keep it simple. Add extra cheese, small pieces of cured ham - whatever takes your fancy. This recipe includes a homemade pesto. This might sound complex, but it's literally just a case of putting the ingredients into a mixer and pulsing them until you get the desired texture. You can make more pesto than you need and keep some to use on pasta on in sandwiches over the next few days. If you're serving to vegetarians, remember to use a vegetarian Parmesan cheese substitute.


  • 2 aubergines
  • A little olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan, to taste
  • 4 sunblush tomatoes, chopped

For the pesto:

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Bunch of basil, leaves only
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper




  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Cut the stalks off the aubergines, and then slice them in half, vertically, through the middle.
  2. Using a sharp knife, make criss-cross patterns to 1 cm deep into the aubergine flesh. Brush on the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer to a foil-lined roasting or baking dish and bake in the oven for around 25 mins until the flesh is very soft and the surface is charred.
  4. Make the pesto by putting all the ingredients except the cheese into a food processor and pulse until it becomes a thick, textured paste. Transfer to a bowl, and then mix in the cheese.
  5. Spread the pesto mixture thickly over the aubergines. Add a scattering of Parmesan over the top. Turn the oven to grill mode and grill on a high heat for around 5-7 mins until the pesto bubbles.
  6. Scatter with the sunblush tomatoes just before serving.

Top tip for making aubergines with basil pesto crust

You could make these as part of a tapas style spread by using half a dozen or more baby aubergines instead of larger ones. 

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Octavia Lillywhite
Food and Lifestyle Writer

Octavia Lillywhite is an award-winning food and lifestyle journalist with over 15 years of experience. With a passion for creating beautiful, tasty family meals that don’t use hundreds of ingredients or anything you have to source from obscure websites, she’s a champion of local and seasonal foods, using up leftovers and composting, which, she maintains, is probably the most important thing we all can do to protect the environment.