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Here is my healthy air fryer eggplant to replace the stir-fried eggplant for the sides. This is a low oil/ no oil eggplant recipe that is vegan too. Just in 15 minutes.
Eggplant is not a much-loved vegetable. Many people don’t like them. Maybe for its bland taste. But it’s also true that eggplant absorbs the flavors of the spices we cook it with and becomes flavorful too. I love my Indian eggplant recipes that are extraordinarily flavorful maybe because of the spices used in Indian cuisine. Read here my low-carb air-fried eggplant pizza & eggplant meatballs recipe.
But no doubt, eggplant is a healthy vegetable. This belongs to nightshade families like zucchini, and tomatoes. If you don’t know like tomato, eggplant is also a fruit (has seeds) but in cooking, this is being treated as a vegetable. This is a low-carb and low-calorie vegetable. This is keto-friendly and used as a carb substitute in many keto recipes. Read more about eggplant health benefits.
Air Fryer Eggplant
If you own an air fryer it’s like magic. I’m amazed to see how quickly it makes vegetables and with a perfect crisp. You can make some quick appetizers like potato wedges, tater tots, hash browns, or onion rings. Or easily you can make roasted vegetables like green beans, broccoli, cauliflower.
The air fryer acts like that of a convection oven. In fact, it contains a fan that circulates the heat evenly thus cooking the food. But in the case of an air fryer, it rotates faster.
While making eggplant in the air fryer, you can also shape it into finger or fries and coat them with panko crumbs for that crunchy texture. When you want some healthy appetizer, you can make those eggplant fries. But if you want a stir-fried-like eggplant, then this recipe is for you.
Why this air fryer eggplant is healthy?
Eggplant is a spongy vegetable. When we fry the eggplant, it soaks up a lot of oil making the dish delish but at the same time, more fatty too. But this way you can reduce the oil to just a fraction or even can skip it totally. So low oil or no oil, low carb, low-fat eggplant is too yum to satisfy any such cravings when you are on some diet.
How to cut eggplant?
For this recipe, I have chopped the eggplant into bite-sized pieces unlike the finger shape for the eggplant fries. You can make slices like fingers or even like discs.
Which eggplant is best for this recipe?
Take the large eggplant globe. These are my favorite ones for any eggplant recipe in fact. These don’t discolor for a long time if you cut and keep in open. These are new-age eggplants and actually don’t need salt treatment before use. Also keeping the eggplant coated with salt decreases the oil absorption. But here we are anyways making them oil-free.
Do I need to marinate eggplant with salt prior to air frying?
No. It’s not compulsory. I don’t do for the large globe eggplants. If you are taking smaller varieties, then you may rub salt on the pieces. then rinse off and wipe out with a clean paper napkin. These are new-age eggplants and actually don’t need salt treatment before use.
How to make the eggplant in an air fryer?
This is an easy and quick vegan eggplant recipe and requires only a few ingredients. The basic seasonings I use for any vegetable are onion powder, garlic pepper, cayenne pepper, salt. You can add any favorite spice mix to this roasted eggplant dish. Also, some dried herbs work well with this. Here you can also add 1 tsp oil to the eggplant. But that is optional too.
Instructions to make air fry the eggplant
Prep the eggplant. Dice into bite sized pieces. Place them in a mixing bowl. Add all seasonings and gently stir them. Be careful as eggplant is fleshy soft and may break if used rough. And I don’t want the fleshy part to be apart from the skinny layer.
Now transfer the seasoned eggplant to the air fryer basket. Start the air fryer at 350 F (180 C) for 15 minutes. Pause and toss at midway at 7 minutes. Remove once cooked completely. Sprinkle some fresh herbs or some parmesan (not vegan option). However this recipe is totally vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free, and no breaded also.
Air fryer tips to make perfect eggplant (air-fried)
I have a 4.5 qt 1400 w air fryer that cooks really fast (I feel). Check for the size of your air fryer and keep a check on how it cooks. All air fryers don’t cook the same way.
You can remove the box and check the cooking pattern in between. There will be no harm or any loss of hot air unlike oven. If you are not sure, keep a check every 2 – 3 minutes after 10 minutes mark.
If you have a large oven air fryer that may take little longer up to 18 – 20 minutes too.
Also if you are cooking in batches, reduce the timer by 2 – 3 minutes after the 1st batch. And in 1 batch you can make 2 – 3 eggplants together as we don’t need single layer placement for this recipe. But keep tossing if you are making in more quantity.
Recipe Card for Air Fryer Eggplant
Air Fryer Eggplant
- 1 large globe eggplant
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp parsley or any herbs
- salt to taste
- Clean and wash the eggplant.
- Remove the crown.
- Dice the eggplant into bite sized pieces.
- Place the diced eggplant in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the ground spices and dried herbs to the eggplant.
- Give them a nice gentle stir so that spices are mixed with eggplant.
- Now transfer the spiced eggplant to the air fryer basket.
- Set the air fryer at 350 F (180 C) for 15 minutes
- Pause and toss in the midway at around 7 minutes.
- Remove after it's cooked which take 12 – 15 minutes depending upon the air fryer.
- Keep an eye and remove from air fryer once done.
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