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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 8 cups pasta + 12 slices eggplant

Air-fryers are a fantastic tool for whole-food, plant-based kitchens, as they make it easy to cook up perfectly crispy meals and snacks without any oil. Crispbread crackers give air-fried eggplant extra crunch in this healthy take on an Italian comfort-food classic. Be sure to peel the eggplant because the skin can get tough. 

Tip: Depending on the size of your air-fryer basket, you may need to fry just a few eggplant slices at a time; to keep air-fried slices warm, transfer to a baking sheet in a 250°F oven while cooking the remaining slices.

air-fryer eggplant parmezzan - breaded and fried slices of eggplant atop a spaghetti dish with marinara sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 crispbread crackers
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • ¼ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant milk, such as almond, soy, cashew, or rice
  • 1 medium eggplant (1 lb.), peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
  • 10 oz. dry whole grain linguine
  • 1 onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 8-oz. package sliced fresh button mushrooms
  • 1 22- to 23-oz. jar oil-free marinara sauce
  • 1 14.5-oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 370°F. In a food processor place crackers, 2 Tbsp. of the nutritional yeast, the garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Cover and process until finely chopped; place in a shallow bowl. Pour milk into a second shallow bowl. Dip each eggplant slice into the milk and then the crumbs, lightly coating all sides. Place on a baking sheet.
  2. Place eggplant slices in air fryer, in batches if necessary, so they are not touching. Air-fry 12 to 15 minutes or until eggplant is tender and breading is crisp, turning slices once.
  3. Meanwhile, cook linguine according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. In a large skillet cook onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms over medium 5 to 7 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally and adding water, 1 to 2 Tbsp. at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. Transfer to pot with pasta. Add marinara sauce and tomatoes; mix well. Cook 5 minutes or until heated through.
  4. Top linguine mixture with eggplant. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp. nutritional yeast and the basil.

Comments (7)

(4.83 from 6 votes)
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Marsha VORE5 months ago
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Could you use plain bread crumbs instead of crackers?

David6 months ago
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Nice meal. I didn’t have plant milk on hand so I used coconut milk yogurt instead. Worked great.

Amaya8 months ago
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I don’t normally leave reviews on recipes but this one definitely deserves it. I prepared the eggplant a few days before to make prep easier. I blanched the slices for 4 minutes, put them into ice water to stop the cooking, breaded them as directed, and then put them into the freezer. Saved a lot of time! I did add a dollop of homemade WFPB “mozzarella” cheese onto the eggplant when it was almost done cooking. My family agreed that this dish was restaurant quality!

Tina6 months ago
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Can these be cooked in a regular convection oven? I don’t own an air fryer…

Becki Henderson1 year ago
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I don’t have an air fryer, so I have experimented with just baking the eggplant in my oven at 400. Unfortunately, without any oil, the eggplant just stays chewy for the longest time. Eventually, I discovered that if I steamed the eggplant slices until tender, then breaded them and baked them, I had the winning combo… tender eggplant, crispy exterior, no money spent on an air fryer! I also use whole wheat panko breadcrumbs instead of the crackers.

wendy silverman1 year ago
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seriously this air-fryer has changed my life. We nailed this recipe on the first try — total walk in the park.

Kim1 year ago
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My family and I decided to go WFPB this weekend and our first meal was this dish and it was a hit. With three meat eating males, I was nervous, but they all gave it a thumbs up.

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about the author

Nancy Macklin

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a master of science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Nancy worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals.

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