Air Fryer Eggplant (Vegan, Oil-Free)

This {30-Minute} Air Fryer Eggplant is SUPER crispy, crunchy and goes perfectly with pasta and marinara, topped with fresh basil. It’s a great option for a fancy-ish weeknight dinner that is sure to impress.




  1. Prepare Almond Ricotta (or Tofu Ricotta) in advance. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 
  2. If you are making pasta noodles, you can start boiling the (salted) water at this time. Then boil according to package instructions, to al dente, and drain. 
  3. Prepare the flax eggs by grinding 2 tablespoons whole flax seeds in a coffee grinder. Add to a small bowl and add 6 tablespoons of water. Stir and let sit 5 minutes to thicken.
  4. Next, cut the eggplant into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds (no need to peel). Transfer cutlets to a plate or flat surface, Or, if planning to bake instead of air fry, add to baking sheets covered in parchment paper- see stovetop instructions in notes).
  5. Next, prepare 3 dipping stations with small/medium bowls…1) almond milk and flax eggs; stir with a whisk, 2) the flour, Italian seasoning and garlic powder, mixed together, and 3) the breadcrumbs.
  6. Dip each eggplant cutlet, one at a time, into the almond milk, shake off, then into to the flour to coat, then back into the almond milk again, and finally into the breadcrumbs to coat.
  7. Place each piece of breaded eggplant back onto the cutting boards (or you can immediately add some to the air fryer and start cooking while continuing to bread the rest of the eggplant- see air fryer instructions below). Repeat this process until all of the eggplant is breaded.
  8. When ready, add a few pieces of the eggplant to the air fryer basket in a single layer (how many will depend on the size of your air fryer). You can use a wire rack or, for easy cleanup, an air fryer silicone basket. Set to 390 F for 11 minutes and press Start. Check the eggplant about 8-9 minutes into cooking time to ensure it’s not too crispy for your liking. Remove eggplant with tongs. 
  9. While you are cooking the eggplant, you can warm your marinara sauce. Use a microwavable safe container to do this, or warm on the stove.
  10. To serve, add a layer of noodles and sauce, a few slices of the crispy eggplant, a spoonful of the Almond Ricotta (on top of the eggplant), and a little more marinara and basil, if desired. Eat with a fork and knife, and enjoy!
  11. Store this Air Fryer Eggplant in an airtight container in the fridge. Note, it will soften as it sits, but will reheat very well. To reheat, add eggplant to air fryer at 390 for 5-6 minutes. 



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