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If you’re looking for a simple side dish with five ingredients, then this easy Air Fryer Eggplant with no breading is the perfect air fryer vegetable recipe for you. It takes about 20 minutes to prep. Plus, it can be added to any main protein like my roasted chicken legs, crispy baked chicken wings, air fryer steak, or air fryer cajun shrimp. While this includes a small amount of Parmesan Cheese, you can omit it for a dairy-free, Whole30, and paleo side dish option.
Why Make This
- Simple with 5 ingredients: this air fryer eggplant recipe requires just five ingredients and comes together easily in the Ninja Foodi or any other air fryer.
- Whole30, dairy-free, and paleo option: at it’s core, this recipe tastes great with simple spices, avocado oil and salt, making it perfect if you need to cut dairy for a range of ways of eating.
- Eggplant: I purchased a fresh eggplant from the store. I chopped it into bite-sized chunks
- Sea Salt: I’m using this to quickly sweat the eggplant and remove some moisture. No need to wash it off though, since it also highlights the eggplant flavor.
- Avocado Oil: this is my preferred cooking oil for temperatures above 350 degrees. You can swap this for olive oil if that’s what you have on hand.
- 24 Herb Sprinkle Seasoning: this spice mix is packed with flavor and includes things like garlic, savory, tarragon, cilantro and sage. It’s a great kitchen staple and can be used on everything.
- Parmesan Cheese: I find that this adds another flavor that makes this side dish great. You can omit it if you wish. I’m using the grated refrigerated kind from the market.
How to Make Eggplant in an Air Fryer
- Sweat the eggplant (to remove moisture) and toss it in the spices and oil
- Add the eggplant to the air fryer cooking basket
- Air Crisp the eggplant on 400 degrees
- Toss and continue to air fry the eggplant until it’s browned
Top Cooking Tips & FAQs
- Serve immediately: air fryer eggplant and air fryer squash release moisture as they sit. So, if you want more of a crisper bite, it’s important to serve these up immediately.
- Sweat to release moisture: I’ve tried these with and without first sweating the eggplant. I find that when I skip sweating them, they turn out more like sautéed veggies. While this is still delicious, they are a tad more firmer and crisper when some moisture is removed first.
Do you peel an eggplant before air frying it?
No. The skin is edible so there is no need to peel your eggplant before adding it to the air fryer basket.
Sweating the Eggplant without salt
I haven’t tried to sweat an eggplant without salt, but it’s possible to sweat eggplant in the microwave or oven.
If your eggplant is very ripe or old, you should use salt to help remove the bitterness and moisture. In fact, you’ll probably need more salt than in this recipe. One recommendation is to use about one half tablespoon per pound of eggplant.
Can you have eggplant on keto?
Eggplant is very low in carbs so I chose to air fry eggplant and other air fryer vegetables because they are great for a keto way of eating. This recipe, in particular, is 3g net carbs per serving.
Recipes to Enjoy this with
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Air Fryer Eggplant
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- Add the chopped eggplant in a flat layer to the top of two paper towels
- Sprinkle the salt across the eggplant as evenly as possible
- Let the eggplant sit for 5 minutes to draw out some moisture.
- Add the eggplant, sprinkle seasoning, Parmesan cheese and oil to a bowl. Then, evenly coat the eggplant with the seasoning, cheese and oil
- Add the eggplant to the air fryer cooking basket.
- Air Crisp at 400 degrees for 7-9 minutes per side.
The nutrition facts come from entering the recipe ingredients into Spoonacular API, a database of food ingredients. They may vary for any recipe based on the exact product used. The keto sweeteners I use have 0g net carbs & are not included because sugar alcohols do not impact most people. This is provided as a courtesy, but you can do your own calculations if you wish!