Here’s how to make crispy baked eggplant. This Italian-style eggplant has a cheesy taste, crispy texture, and delicious tomato sauce. It’s a great appetizer, side dish, or part of a meal. Since it’s not fried, it has less fat and calories than fried eggplant. Make it into a lighter eggplant parmesan by topping it with some vegan mozzarella cheese.
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More About Eggplant
Eggplants are a terrific summer vegetable. I like to choose a medium-sized eggplant. Larger ones tend to be bitter. Here is more information about eggplant. One year we helped harvest vegetables at the Delaware Valley University farm for Hope of the Harvest: we were amazed at all of the different colors and shapes they came in like pure white, and lovely variegated types.
You can also use a Japanese-style eggplant. These are thinner and this light purple color. I just picked up some from a farmer’s market and it was delicious grilled and as a topping for homemade vegan pizza!
Eggplant is quite low in calories with just 114 calories in a typical 1.25-pound one, and a good source of fiber with 14 grams in each (FoodData Central)!
Ingredients Needed for Crispy Baked Eggplant
Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Spices: salt, dried parsley, garlic powder, basil, black pepper
- Nutritional yeast flakes
- Marinara sauce: look for one with reduced sodium
- Nonstick spray
How to Make This Recipe
I didn’t peel the eggplant for this crispy baked eggplant recipe, but you certainly can if you want. Then cut the eggplant into slices about 1/2″ thick. I sliced this into rounds, but you can slice it lengthwise if you prefer.
Lay the slices on a baking sheet or in a colander and sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon of salt on the slices. Then flip them over and sprinkle on the other 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Let them sit for a half-hour, and then wipe off the salt with a paper towel. This gives the eggplant a more tender consistency.
This recipe uses aquafaba instead of eggs to help the breadcrumbs stick to the eggplant. Aquafaba is simply the liquid left in a can of chickpeas. Or cook your own chickpeas (super easy in a pressure cooker and use the water from cooking). Believe it or not, you can do a lot with aquafaba, like whipping it into a foam for various desserts and baked goods!
If you don’t have aquafaba, I have also used a batter made of chickpea flour and water (which makes sense because it is from the same food!). You can find both organic dried or canned chickpeas and chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour at Thrive market:
- Eden Organic Canned Garbanzo Beans
- Organic Dried Garbanzo Beans
- Organic Sprouted Garbanzo Bean Flour from Thrive Market
Just dip the eggplant slices into the aquafaba, and then into a mixture of breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast flakes, parsley, garlic, basil, and pepper. Instead of topping the eggplant with cheese, I used nutritional yeast in the panko breadcrumbs for a cheesy taste. Why panko breadcrumbs? They come out crispier. If you can find whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs, better yet.
Place them on a baking sheet with nonstick spray, and bake them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F. Then, flip them over, add a spoonful of marinara sauce to each, and bake for another 10 minutes.
I have also tried these with the convection setting in the oven. This helps the baked eggplant slices brown – watch them closely as it takes a little less time until they are done.
What to Serve with this Recipe?
This crispy baked eggplant could be an appetizer or a side dish for your meal. You can have it with pasta, a tomato sauce with lentils and onions, and a green salad for a wonderful dinner. Or stuff the slices into a whole-wheat pita pocket with leaf lettuce and tomato slices or grilled veggies for a tasty sandwich.
What Can You Do with Extra Eggplant?
If you have neighbors who know you like it, you might get some extras in August when their gardens are bursting.
Here are some ideas:
- 32 Vegan Eggplant Recipes
- Ratatouille: eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes with herbs
- Mediterranean-style eggplant pasta – Instant Pot recipe – which is a ratatouille spaghetti entree: this will also help you use up zucchini.
- Baba ghanoush – it’s like hummus but with eggplant instead of chickpeas. Here is a baba ghanoush recipe from the Gluten-Free Alchemist site
- Grilled eggplant: serve on a salad, with pasta, or in a panini or wrap
- Stuffed eggplant: stuff with vegetables, nuts, and/or whole grains
Have you heard of Thrive Market? It is an easy way to purchase a variety of foods – shelf-stable and organic -and delivered to your home! For a subscription of $60 per year or $10 a month, you can order items like chickpeas, breadcrumbs, marinara sauce, and spices – all organic, and at lower prices than elsewhere (and I love a bargain!). In fact, they have a low price guarantee. You can sign up here, and I hope it makes healthy cooking easier and more convenient!
The eggplant will keep covered in the refrigerator for 2- 3 days. For the best results, reheat in a 350-degree F oven for 10 minutes.
More Recipes You May Enjoy
- Mediterranean Style Eggplant Pasta – an Easy Instant Pot Recipe
- Crispy Baked Cauliflower Bites
- Easy Vegan Broccoli Pesto Pizza
- Lentil Pasta with Tempeh and Spinach
- One Pan Pasta with Chickpeas and Tomatoes
Crispy Baked Eggplant (Vegan)
- Baking sheet
- Cutting board
- 2 shallow bowls or plates
- nonstick spray
- 1 eggplant, medium
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup aquafaba
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup marinara sauce
- Peel the eggplant if you wish. Slice it about ½ inch thick. Lay out the slices on a cutting board and sprinkle with ⅛ of a teaspoon of salt. Turn the slices over and sprinkle with the remaining ⅛ of a teaspoon of salt. Let the slices sit for about 30 minutes.
- Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray or cpver it with a piece of parchment paper.
- Pat the eggplant slices dry with paper towels.
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Use the convection setting if you have this.
- Pour the aquafaba into a shallow bowl. Place the panko breadcrumbs into a separate shallow bowl. Mix in the nutritional yeast flakes, parsley, garlic, basil, and pepper to the breadcrumbs. Stir well with a fork.
- Dip each eggplant slice into the aquafaba on both sides. Then press into the panko mixture on both sides, and place onto the baking sheet. Continue until all slices have been coated.
- Place baking sheet into the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and turn each slice over. Top each slice with a spoonful of marinara sauce.
- Return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the sauce is hot.
Wondering where to find more recipes? Here are some websites, blogs, and books I recommend: 15 Fantastic Sources for Vegetarian Recipes.
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Have you tried this vegan crispy baked eggplant? Please rate and share in the comments below: