There are few things that I love more than a delicious marinara sauce – I used to eat my mom’s homemade sauce right from the pot it was so delicious! These eggplant fries are Whole30, paleo, and vegan approved, and are bound to be a hit on your next gathering or for your next meal. Eggplants are a well known super food, and the light breading is crispy but not overwhelming cooked in the Air Fryer means that the eggplant does not absorb a ton of oil while cooking. I highly recommend this as an appetizer or for an entire meal!
Before we jump into how to make these Eggplant Fries, there are even more health benefits than what I’ve previously mentioned about eggplant in my Eggplant Beet Burger.
Health Benefits of Eggplant
I used to buy eggplant back in my early 20s and try to make it often, not because I particularly enjoyed it but because I really wanted to incorporate such an amazing superfood into my diet. Thankfully, I’ve grown since those days and have learned to enjoy eating eggplant, but adding more eggplant into your diet has a variety of benefits you may be unaware of.
Firstly, your cardiovascular health can be improved by eating more eggplant. The deep purple hue that eggplant has comes from Anthocyanins, which produce a red to deep purple color found in foods such as eggplants, blue berries, pomegranates, and kidney beans. A diet that contains more foods with anthocyanins could see better cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. A study conducted in 2013 concluded that middle aged women reduced their risk of heart disease by 32% by simply eating more than three servings a week of blueberries and strawberries, both of which contain anthocyanins.
Eggplant also contains a very specific anthocyanin known as nasunin. If you Google “nasunin,” one of the first results is a study done on the benefits of nasunin found in eggplant skin. The abstract is a little intimidating, but the study from 2000 concludes that the nasunin found in eggplant skin can help protect brain health. Nasunin serves several functions in protecting your brain health, including preventing inflammation in the brain, and potentially slowing down the process of breaking down fats in the brain (therefore preventing cell damage).
There are many reasons to eat eggplant, cardiovascular and brain health being two important factors. I hope that you enjoy this eggplant recipe as a way to get more of this incredible superfood into your diet!
How to make Eggplant Fries with Marinara Sauce
This recipe truly is incredibly simple. You can use a conventional oven for this recipe, but I prefer an Air Fryer to get a crisp and less oily fry.
To make the Eggplant Fries with Marinara Sauce, you will need
- ground flax meal
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- dried basil
- olive oil
- tapioca flour
- marinara sauce of your choosing
First, prepare your two flax eggs by combining in a smaller bowl 2 tbsp ground flax meal with 4 tbsp warm water. Stir it well and set aside.
While your flax eggs are beginning to solidify, cut your eggplant into fry-like shapes. Keep the skin on! If you haven’t had a chance to read about all the health benefits of eggplant, scroll on up to see what amazing antioxidants are in that bright purple skin.
Next, prepare your Air Fryer trays by lining them with parchment paper. While this isn’t completely necessary, I like this step because it leads to an easier cleanup and the eggplant fry mixture won’t drip down onto the trays below it.
After about 5 minutes, your flax eggs should be more gooey. Add the olive oil to the flax egg and stir. Next, add in the salt, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried basil. Lastly, fold in the tapioca flour. Stir well until all ingredients are combined.
Dip your eggplant fries into the flax mixture. Once generously coated, place on the Air Fryer tray. Be sure not to overlap the fries. Cook the coated eggplant fries in the Air Fryer at 370°F for 15-20 minutes, or until fries are cooked through. Depending on how thickly you cut your eggplant fries, they may need longer to be completely cooked.
Serve your eggplant fries fresh out of the oven with your favorite marinara sauce. And that’s it!
Hope you enjoy!
Eggplant Fries with Marinara Sauce (Whole30, Paleo, Vegan)
- Air Fryer (optional)
- 1 whole eggplant
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 4 tbsp warm water
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup marinara sauce of your choice
- Combine your flax meal and warm water in a medium bowl to make your flax egg. Set aside.
- Cut the eggplant into fry shapes. Be sure not the cut them too thickly or else they will need more time to cook.
- Once the flax egg has formed, add in the salt, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, and olive oil. Stir well, then add the tapioca flour to create a thick batter.
- Line the Air Fryer Tray with parchment paper and set aside.
- Generously coat each eggplant fry with the batter, and then place on the parchment paper lined Air Fryer tray. Be sure not to overlap the fries.
- Cook the fries in the Air Fryer at 370°F for 15-20 minutes. Depending on how thick your fries are, they may need more time.
- Serve the Eggplant Fries hot with your choice of marinara sauce. Enjoy!