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The ultimate summertime comfort food, this Air Fryer Eggplant Parm takes all the flavor of the traditional dish but makes it just a bit more healthy with lighter ingredients and by air frying it. Sliced eggplant is breaded with almond flour, air fried and then topped with a bit of fresh mozzarella and marinara for something truly delicious.
We are looking to make as many eggplant dishes as we can while the season is in full swing and this Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan is the perfect way to do it! My recipe is a lighter take on the traditional eggplant parm. The eggplant is coated in almond flour and (optionally) parmesan for a lower-carb take that is still full of great flavor, and then “fried” up in the air fryer. This dish is comforting, yet doesn’t leave you feeling like you just had a heavy meal in the middle of summer.
We opted to stack our eggplant parm for a bit of a fancier look, instead of layering them as a casserole. This made it possible to make the whole dish in the air fryer, and made it look a lot prettier when plated! If you did want to use the air fryer technique to cook the eggplant, but still layer them together in a casserole, you can absolutely do that.
Here is an overview of the ingredient list. Keep scrolling for the full recipe.
- Globe Eggplants (also known as the dark purple round ones)
- Almond Flour
- Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- Marinara Sauce (store-bought or homemade)
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Fresh Basil
Want to make this dairy free? We recommend you leave out the parmesan, and use dairy-free mozzarella shreds in place of the fresh mozzarella.
Nut allergy? If you can’t have nuts, you can swap the almond flour out for gluten-free breadcrumbs or regular bread crumbs.
Let’s Talk About Air Fryers
We’ve tried quite a few air fryers over the years. We have and use this basket style, this Instant Pot air fryer attachment and this toaster-style air fryer! They all work great! It’s a personal preference which you choose. Do you want or need a new toaster? Do you have space for a solo new appliance? All these things will go into consideration when shopping and deciding which of those will work for you.
What there is to be aware of about air fryers though is that some of them can be quite small. If yours has a small capacity, you may have to make the breaded eggplant in batches. Though I’m guessing if you’ve been using your air fryer for a while, you’ve already learned that.
How to Make Air Fryer Eggplant Parm
This dish is pretty simple to make, but there are a few steps needed to get to the final product. Here is an overview of the steps needed to make this dish (and the full recipe is listed below):
- Prepare the eggplant, by slicing and salting it. You can skip the step of salting it if you want.
- Bread the eggplant in the egg and almond flour mixture.
- Air fry the eggplant
- Top each eggplant with marinara and fresh mozzarella and place it back in the air fryer.
- Serve with fresh basil and enjoy!
Want to Bake It?
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.Lightly spray or brush the sheet tray with oil.
- Place the eggplant on the sheet tray and lightly spray or brush with oil.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- Flip the chicken and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the eggplant is contender and the coating is crispy.
- Serve immediately or let cool for meal prep.
Why Salt the Eggplant (Or Not)
There are a few reasons you salt an eggplant before cooking. The first is that an eggplant holds a lot of moisture. Salting it before cooking it helps draw out some of the moisture. This is less important when you are baking it, but it still can be a useful thing to do when it comes to this dish. But you have to let the eggplant sit for like an hour to help that moisture get drawn out.
The second reason to salt the eggplant first is so that it seasons the eggplant from the outside in.
However, if you do not want to wait for the eggplant to release moisture and you want to skip this step, that is totally fine! Because sometimes, we just don’t have an extra hour to wait to let our eggplants drain!
Serve the air fryer parm with a touch of extra marinara sauce. This can be a meal in and of itself, or you can serve with a side salad and a big piece of crusty bread, or may we suggest our garlic bread.
Watch the video here:
If you like this healthy Italian dish, check out these others:
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken (Paleo & Keto)
- Bruschetta Chicken
- Healthy Italian Wedding Soup
- Skirt Steak with Italian Salsa Verde
- Low Carb Paleo Chicken Parmesan
Air Fryer Eggplant Parm
- 2 medium globe eggplants peeled and sliced into ½ rounds
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoons water
- 2 cups almond flour
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese optional
- 1 tablespoons italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 24 ounce jar marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- 12 ounce fresh mozzarella ball sliced into ¼” rounds
- Fresh basil for serving
- Parmesan cheese for serving
- Line a sheet tray with paper towels. Place the eggplant rounds on the sheet tray and lightly sprinkle with salt. Flip them over and repeat. Let the eggplant sit for a minimum of 30 minutes, or up to two hours to release moisture. Remove any moisture from the eggplant at the end with a paper towel.
- In a shallow container whisk together the eggs and water with a big pinch of salt and pepper
- In a separate shallow container, whisk together almond flour, parmesan cheese (optional), Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and red pepper flakes.
- Dip sliced eggplant into the egg, then dredge in almond flour mixture, being sure to coat it evenly. Repeat until all the eggplants are coated. Make sure to handle them delicately to not disturb the coating.
- Preheat air-fryer to 400ºF (if necessary, not all air-fryers need to pre-heat).
- Lightly spray the air fryer basket with avocado spray (or similar spray without additives) and place the prepared eggplant in one layer, with spacing in between each piece. You may need to do it in multiple batches if your air-fryer is small. Lightly spray the breaded eggplant with additional avocado spray.
- Air fry for 15 minutes, turning the eggplant halfway through, or until the eggplant is lightly browned and tender.
- Top each eggplant with about 2 tablespoons marinara sauce, and a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese.
- Return to the air fryer and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melty.
- Serve the eggplant parmesan with additional marinara sauce, fresh basil and fresh parmesan cheese.