Easy and lighter than traditional Italian recipes, this easy air fryer eggplant parmesan is a dish that you can prepare in under 30 minutes. It's a no-oil recipe and these eggplant discs are crispier and tastier than the fried ones.
Assembling is super easy and it's definitely a show-stopper fun meal for your weekly meal plan or special occasions.
It's vegan (as you can certainly use dairy-free cheese) and is a crowd-pleaser. Trust me, this recipe comes out so delicious that you will make it again and again.
These perfectly crispy eggplant discs have such an amazing crunch that you won't miss deep frying at all. Dare I say it's better than that; why? Because it's air fried.
This year I am having a bumper crop of eggplants aka Aubergines. There are big ones, small ones, purple, green, and even white ones.
My husband and I are big suckers for trying different eggplant recipes. We love eggplant so an abundant crop of eggplant is a never-ending adventure and fun for us.
This evening I baked a garlic-rosemary Foccacia and with that, I served salad greens and easy air fryer eggplant parmesan. The kids were super happy to have the food that they really love.
My older one who is not very keen on having eggplant loved it and he immediately finished two in a row. I was happy that at least some type of vegetable made an entry into the meal however much it was.
I will suggest that you try definitely try this recipe, whether you like eggplant or not. Since this recipe doesn't involve any oil while making crispy eggplant and just uses some mozzarella cheese, it can be considered fairly healthy.
How to Make It-
The first and most important step is to salt the eggplant discs. Doing this process is incredibly important if you really want mind-blowing crispy eggplant.
Growing up, I always saw my mother doing it and her reason was the same. In addition, she believed that this step ensures that even if there is a slight bitterness in the eggplant, it goes away.
The Second Step is to Make a Breading Station-
Before moving on to that, let me tell you one more thing. It doesn't matter how much you hate to have the skin on, please do not peel/remove the skin. The crisp textures are totally dependent on that skin. It helps a lot in getting that wonderful bite-full of texture. Trust me, you will not regret it.
Cut eggplant into ¼ inch of thickness and place them in a bowl or colander. Sprinkle salt over them and let it sit for some time till it releases all the water from the eggplant slices.
I have used panko bread crumbs for breading the eggplant. However, instead of using them directly, I have ground them into a smooth texture. I believe panko bread crumbs give them a sure crispy texture.
Since my recipe is for vegan and vegetarians (most of them do not eat eggs, especially in India), I have used all-purpose flour and plain cold water mixed for dipping the eggplants. They work just amazing in any recipe and I do not miss using eggs at all.
Dip eggplant discs into flour batter and then panko bread crumbs mixed with seasoning. We have used seasoning in the batter as well.
Preheat the air fryer to 380 F and line the eggplants in one layer to crisp. It will take 7-8 minutes for both sides to crisp. Turn them in between. You can spray them with a little oil, however, I didn't do it.
Preheating is really important if you do not want them to stick to the basket.
Layer the sauce and mozzarella cheese on top of the eggplant and air fry them for 2-3 minutes. The cheese will melt. Feel free to use the sauce of your choice. Store-bought or homemade, it doesn't matter.
I have used my homemade marinara sauce, which tastes delicious in any recipe. Instant Pot Easy Pizza -Pasta Sauce- you can check this out here!
EASY AIR FRYER EGGPLANT PARMESAN
- 1 Medium Eggplant
- ½ Cup All Purpose Flour
- ⅓ Cup Water
- ⅓ Cup Grated /Shreded vegan Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 Cup Marinara Sauce
- ½ Tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- ½ Tsp Italian Seasoning (Optional)
- ½ Tsp Salt (for making the batter)
- ½ Tsp Pepper(For making the batter)
- Basil Leaves For garnish
- Cut one medium eggplant into ¼ inch thick discs. Sprinkle some salt and leave it in a colander or bowl for 10-15 minutes.
- Pre-heat the air fryer to 380 F. Mix all-purpose flour, water, pepper, and salt to make a free-flowing batter.
- Dip the eggplant slices into the flour batter first, and then into the panko bread crumbs mixed with seasoning.
- Arrange the eggplant slices in the basket.
- Cook in the air fryer at 380 for 10-12 minutes or till they look really crispy. Turn them around once.
- Top crispy eggplant slices with one tsp of marinara sauce followed by shredded mozzarella.
- Air fry them again for 2-3 minutes or till the cheese melts.
- Arrange them over some marinara sauce and garnish with some fresh basil.