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Spicy Southwestern Eggplant Dressing

Preview: Eggplant and cornbread are the base of this Spicy Southwestern Eggplant Dressing recipe. Add in all sorts of veggies, including green chiles, for a savory side dish or vegetarian casserole with unstoppable flavor.

Have you seen any of the Heartland TV series? The young neighbor girl named Mallory often offers opinions no adults would dare speak.

For example:  “What is this stuff?” as she looks down at her plate. When told it was Shepherd’s Pie, she remarked, “It looks more like something the shepherd stepped in.”

I hope this recipe doesn’t look that bad, but I’ll admit cooked eggplant is the opposite of photogenic. Is there a word for that? Can somebody help me? In ultrasound, we call it “ultrasound ugly.” Maybe we could call eggplant “food ugly.”

Southwestern Eggplant Dressing

Recipe inspiration:

The unfortunate appearance of eggplant won’t keep me from eating it. I’m obsessed with it. Here’s proof as seen in these recipes already published on this blog: Ratatouille Soup, Roasted Eggplant and Potatoes, and Corn and Eggplant Vegetable Medley.

If you are tired of green beans, broccoli, and carrots, why not try some eggplant. Although I call this “dressing” because it has cornbread in it, you could just as easily substitute rice or quinoa in place of the cornbread.

eggplant dressing in a bowl with serving spoon

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • EGGPLANT: People often ask me if they need to peel eggplant. According to Better Homes and Gardens, “While the skin of a small young eggplant is edible, the skin becomes bitter on larger or older eggplants and should be peeled.”  I generally peel mine.
  • ONIONS: Use white or yellow onions. Frozen chopped onions are most convenient.
  • CELERY: Did you know you can freeze celery? It’s perfect to use in a recipe like this.
  • RED PEPPERS: Substitute yellow or orange peppers if that’s what you have. Green peppers can also be used but will give a slightly bitter edge to the flavor.
  • MUSHROOMS: White button mushrooms are perfect. Portobello are fine, too but probably not worth the extra money if you are going out to buy them.
  • MILK: The recipe specifies low-fat milk but you can use whatever type you have on hand.
  • SAGE: Poultry seasoning is the best substitute if you don’t have sage. Thyme or savory are other possibilities.
  • GREEN CHILIS: Chopped are the easiest. These peppers give this dish a Southwestern flare.
  • CORN: Can you have a Southwestern casserole without corn?? Frozen or fresh are fine.
  • CORNBREAD: The next time you have leftover cornbread, throw it in the freezer. It will come in handy for this recipe.
  • CHEDDAR CHEESE: Buy it shredded or shred it yourself. I usually use medium cheddar but sharp or extra-sharp would be good, too.

How can I cook eggplant so it doesn’t become mushy?

I’m not a fan of boiled eggplant as called for in so many eggplant recipes. I much prefer to grill it using a grill pan, so it doesn’t get mushy. In the absence of a grill pan, sauté the eggplant in a skillet brushed with olive oil.

grilling eggplant in a grill pan to keep it from getting mushy

Since I’m always looking for ways to trim calories, I’m rather sparing with the cheese. Otherwise, I would stir an additional two ounces of shredded Cheddar into the casserole just before baking.

image of a leaf
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How to make Spicy Southwestern Eggplant Dressing:

browning eggplant cubes
Either grill eggplant in a grill pan or sauté in a skillet with a small amount of olive oil
softening onions, peppers, celery, garlic, sage and mushrooms
Soften onions, celery, peppers, garlic, sage, and mushrooms in butter in a large skillet.
sprinkling flour over veggies
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over softened veggies.
add 1 cup milk
Stir in 1 cup of milk.
Stir and cook until white sauce thickens
Cook until sauce is thickened.
Add green chilies
Toss in green chilies.
add eggplant
Add browned eggplant.
adding corn to skillet
Then corn.
finally add bread crumbs
Finally, add cornbread crumbs and seasoning.
Combine the whole mixture
Combine all ingredients and bake in an ovenproof skillet or casserole dish. 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.
sprinkle baked casserole with cheese
Pull the dish out of the oven and sprinkle with cheese. Send the dish back into the oven for an additional ten minutes.
Southwestern Eggplant Dressing in red casserole dish ready to serve.
Serve hot as an entree or side dish.

More Vegetable Casseroles:

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southwestern eggplant dressing

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p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: Paula at

Hope to see you again soon!

Spicy Southwestern Eggplant Dressing

Southwestern Eggplant Dressing uses cornbread as a base with all sorts of veggies added, including green chilies, for a savory side dish or vegetarian entree.
Paula Rhodes
4.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Vegetables and Side Dishes
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 small to medium eggplant - cooked and diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup onions - chopped
  • ½ cup celery - chopped
  • ¼ cup red pepper - chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic - chopped
  • 4 ounce button or portobello mushrooms - sliced or chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 4-oz can can chopped green chilies
  • 1 cup corn - fresh or frozen and thawed
  • 1-1/2 cups stale cornbread - crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oz Cheddar cheese - shredded


  • Use greased grill pan or skillet to cook peeled and sliced eggplant, flipping when browned. See picture above. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add onions, celery, peppers, and garlic and saute until soft. Add mushrooms and sage to the skillet and cook another 3-4 minutes.
  • Sprinkle flour over the cooked veggies. Stir to distribute evenly. Add milk and continue to stir until thickened. Add cooked and chopped eggplant, green chilies, corn and cornbread crumbs, stirring gently. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook at 350˚F for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over the top during the last 10 minutes.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 138kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 8gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 447mgPotassium: 314mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 455IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 101mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cornbread dressing with green chilies, eggplant casserole, eggplant dressing, eggplant side dish, spicy southwestern dressing, vegetable side dish, vegetarian dressing
Cuisine American
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating

Bobbie Bentneedle

Tuesday 24th of February 2015

My husband's beloved grandma used to make eggplant dressing - and I've missed it for years now. Don't think this is the same recipe as her's since she used stovetop stuffing mix in her's but this sounds mighty tasty, so I'll try this out on the clan ;0}


Wednesday 25th of February 2015

Bobbie, For years, Wyatt's cafeteria used to make an eggplant dressing with white bread. I think it was quite popular. Wonder if Grandma's recipe was anything like that one. Thanks for writing.


Monday 23rd of February 2015

Eggplant in its natural state is one of the most beautiful vegetables ever- so many gorgeous shades of purple and pink. Cooked eggplant however will never win any beauty contest, but I can forgive it because it is just so delicious! This sounds like a great way to prepare it. :)