Vegan eggplant parmesan with pappardelle & fresh basil in bowl.
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5 from 3 votes

Vegan eggplant parmesan in the air fryer

This easy recipe makes an entree that's both weeknight-friendly and dinner party-worthy. Crispy slices of breaded eggplant are topped with your favorite marinara and a pinch of non-dairy cheese. It comes together quickly in the air fryer. And the leftovers are terrific too!
For a gluten-free option, use gluten free panko breadcrumbs.
One medium-sized eggplant makes about 16 slices of eggplant parmesan.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time27 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Air fryer, Italian, Vegan
Keyword: air fryer dinner, weeknight meal
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 276kcal
Author: Cadry Nelson

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (Use gluten free panko for a GF option.)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon grated vegan parmesan (I use Violife & zest it with a microplane zester)
  • Pinch salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 1 medium-sized eggplant* cut into 1/2 inch slices, top & bottom removed
  • Spritz Oil spray
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated vegan mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Start by making a breading work station with two plates. Put the vegan mayonnaise on one plate. On the other plate, combine panko breadcrumbs, dried oregano, dried basil, granulated onion, grated vegan parmesan, a pinch of salt, and dash of pepper.
  • Coat each eggplant slice with mayo. It should be the thinnest of coatings. You don't want any mayonnaise dollops. It's just a sheer coating, so that the breadcrumb mixture can stick to the slices.
  • Then dip each slice into the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure to coat it with breadcrumbs on every side.
  • Put an even layer of slices into the air fryer basket. For best browning, don't overcrowd the basket with slices on top of each other. You want room for air to flow all around each slice. Depending on the basket size & eggplant slice size, you'll probably be able to fit 4 to 6 slices. Spritz the top of the eggplant slices with oil spray.
  • Put the basket into the air fryer. Set it to 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Stop halfway through to flip the slices (or when they are nice & brown on top). Spritz the slices with oil spray again. Then continue air frying for four more minutes, or when the other side of the slices are nutty brown. At 10 minutes, add a spoonful of marinara sauce and a pinch of vegan mozzarella cheese to each slice. Then cook for the remaining 2 minutes. Remove the eggplant slices from the air fryer.
  • Continue air frying the eggplant in batches until all of the eggplant has been air fried. Keep in mind that the air fryer cooks faster when it's hot. So the subsequent batches may need to be flipped earlier or cooked for a slightly shorter time. Keep an eye on them for burning, and trust your judgement when it's looking brown enough.

Notes

Use a standard, medium-sized purple globe eggplant. It can be either American or Italian. You don't want a Japanese, Indian, or Thai eggplant.
If you'd like to make breaded eggplant without sauce and mozzarella cheese, you can remove the slices from the air fryer when they are brown on both sides, about 10 minutes.
If you don't have access to non-dairy parmesan, no problem. It can easily be omitted from the recipe, and there's plenty of flavor without it.
Eggplant parmesan reheats well. Keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator until you're ready to eat it. Then put it into the air fryer in an even layer in the basket. Add fresh marinara sauce & non-dairy cheese to each slice. (It's okay to put it on top of the sauce & cheese that's already there.) Then air fry for 5 minutes at 390 degrees. (For obvious reasons, don't flip it.)

Nutrition

Calories: 276kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 461mg | Potassium: 378mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 159IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg