If you’re a fan of eggplant parm, then you’re in for a treat! In this recipe, we’ll show you how to make a delicious and healthy version of this classic dish using an air fryer. Say goodbye to soggy eggplant and hello to perfectly crispy and flavorful eggplant cutlets. Don’t worry if you don’t have an air fryer – we’ve got you covered with instructions for baking in the oven as well.
The Perfect Solution for Leftover Eggplant
Have a small leftover eggplant from your CSA box or other dishes? Our air fryer eggplant parm is the perfect way to put it to good use! These healthy eggplant parmesan bites can be enjoyed as a full meal or as appetizers. No matter how you serve them, we’re confident you’ll love this nutritious and delicious recipe.
Enhancing Nutrition and Flavor
Unlike store-bought frozen eggplant parmesan, our homemade version is nutritionally superior. We skip the soybean oil, refined flour, and unnecessary sugar found in processed options. Instead, we use wheat germ, ground flax, and an assortment of dried herbs to create a flavorful and nutrient-rich breading for the eggplant.
Ingredients and Equipment
To make our air fryer eggplant parm, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- A small eggplant (about 8 ounces)
- Wheat germ
- Ground flax seeds
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Dried oregano
- Dried basil
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Marinara sauce
- Shredded mozzarella cheese (or fresh mozzarella slices)
- Cooking oil spray
- Fresh basil for garnish
For baking in the oven, you’ll need a large dark baking sheet. If you’re using an air fryer, any model will do the trick. We developed this recipe in a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven, but feel free to use whichever air fryer you have on hand.
Air Frying Method
- Rinse the eggplant, remove the stem and blossom ends, and slice it into ¼ – ½ inch slices. Aim for about 16 slices if you have a long eggplant weighing a little over 8 ounces.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg. In another bowl, combine the wheat germ, ground flax, Parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Dip each slice of eggplant into the beaten egg, and then coat it with the wheat germ mixture, making sure to cover all sides.
- Spritz your air fryer baking trays or basket with cooking oil spray, and arrange the breaded eggplant slices in a single layer.
- Mist the slices with more cooking spray, and air fry them at 375°F for 8 minutes. Flip the slices and switch the position of the trays, then air fry for an additional 8 minutes.
- Spoon marinara sauce onto each slice and top with a sprinkle of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Air fry for 3 more minutes at 350°F to melt the cheese.
- Garnish with fresh basil, and your crispy and flavorful air fryer eggplant parm is ready to enjoy!
Oven Baking Method
- Preheat the oven to 400°F, and spritz a large dark baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Follow the same steps as the air frying method to bread the eggplant slices.
- Arrange the breaded slices in a single layer on the baking sheet, and mist them with cooking oil spray.
- Bake the slices in the top third of the oven for 10 minutes, then flip them and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the slices from the oven, spoon marinara sauce onto each slice, and sprinkle with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted to perfection.
- Garnish with fresh basil, and get ready to savor your oven-baked eggplant parm.
Serving Suggestions and Expert Tips
These eggplant parmesan bites can be enjoyed as a light veggie-packed lunch or dinner on their own. If you prefer a heartier meal, pair them with your favorite pasta and extra marinara sauce. You can also serve them over Air Fryer Spaghetti Squash, spiralized zucchini, or shirataki noodles for a lower-carb option.
For those looking to support fat loss, consider adding some lightly wilted spinach or greens to add volume without adding excess calories. If you’re aiming for higher protein and energy, include legume-based pasta and additional tomato sauce. This will make the meal more filling and increase the protein content.
Nutritional Value and Final Thoughts
Each serving of our eggplant parmesan is under 500 calories when served over two cups of spaghetti squash. If you opt for lentil pasta and extra marinara sauce, the calorie count comes to about 852. Whichever version you choose, you’ll be treating yourself to a nutritious and satisfying meal.
We hope you enjoy making this air fryer eggplant parm recipe as much as we enjoyed creating it for you. Be sure to subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter for more delicious recipes. You can also follow us on Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram for culinary inspiration. Happy cooking!