If you’re looking for a tasty appetizer or side dish, these oven-baked eggplant fries are a must-try! They’re crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, making them perfect for dipping. Whether you’re a vegetarian, following a gluten-free diet, or looking for vegan options, this recipe has got you covered. Let’s dive into the wonderful world of eggplants!
Eggplant, also known as aubergine, is a vegetable that people either love or hate. But when it’s prepared correctly, it can be part of the most delicious recipes, like these crispy eggplant fries. If you’re a fan of eggplants like me, you’ll be delighted to know that there are countless ways to enjoy them. From flavorful dips like Moutabal and Baba Ganoush to dishes like Aubergine Salad and Miso Glazed Aubergine, the possibilities are endless!
With just a few simple ingredients and carefully selected herbs, you can create these scrumptious baked eggplant fries. They make a great accompaniment to any meal or can be enjoyed as a healthy snack on their own. You can even prepare a large batch and freeze them for later use. Just make sure to freeze them before baking to maintain their perfect texture.
To make these irresistible eggplant fries, you’ll need:
- Eggplant: Smaller eggplants work best, as they tend to be less bitter. Look for ones with dark purple skin and no wrinkles.
- Breadcrumbs: Golden breadcrumbs are recommended for a crispy coating, but any type will do. Panko breadcrumbs are perfect for a lighter texture, and you can also use gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond flour.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is ideal, but cornstarch can be a good alternative.
- Eggs: Use eggs for the egg wash. If you prefer a vegan version, you can use plant-based milk instead.
- Spices: Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and optionally, cayenne pepper for a little heat.
Feel free to get creative with the spices to customize the flavor of your eggplant fries. You can even add a little finely grated parmesan for extra richness or nutritional yeast for a vegan alternative.
How to Make Eggplant Fries
Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making these mouthwatering eggplant fries.
Step 1: Prepare the Eggplant
Start by washing the eggplants and cutting them into long strips. Sprinkle them with salt and set them aside for at least 15 minutes, preferably 30, to remove any excess water. This step ensures that your fries maintain the perfect texture once baked. It’s best to cut the fries as evenly as possible. Slice the eggplants into 1/2-3/4-inch round slices, then chop them into batons. If you prefer baked eggplant slices instead of fries, cut them into round slices about 1/2-inch thick. Leaving the skin on helps the fries hold their shape while baking.
Step 2: Prepare the Coating
While the eggplant strips are sweating, prepare three separate bowls. In one bowl, whisk the eggs. In another, add the flour. In the third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and spices, such as garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper if you desire a bit of heat.
Step 3: Bread the Eggplant Fries
After the eggplant strips have sweated, pat them dry with a kitchen towel to remove excess liquid. Then, it’s time to coat the fries. Dip each eggplant baton first into the flour, then the egg, and finally the breadcrumb mixture. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. To save time, you can place the breadcrumb mixture in a ziplock bag, add the eggplant fries, and shake them until well coated.
Step 4: Bake Them
Lightly spray the fries with cooking spray or olive oil, then bake them in the oven at 425ºF/220ºC for 15-18 minutes, or until they turn golden brown. Flipping the fries midway through baking is optional but not necessary.
How to Serve
Just like potato fries, these eggplant fries are perfect for dipping. Serve them with homemade ketchup, mayo, mustard, marinara sauce, Spinach Yogurt Dip (Borani), or even garlic sauce. If you’re a fan of garlic, Lebanese garlic sauce (Toum) is a great choice, but you can mix it with Greek yogurt or a little mayo for a milder flavor. Enjoy these crispy eggplant fries alongside burgers, salads, sushi bowls, gyros, or any dish that could use a delightful crunch.
How to Make Ahead & Store
To enjoy these eggplant fries at their best, it’s recommended to eat them fresh and warm. However, if you want to make them ahead of time, you can prepare the fries and flash freeze them on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag/container and store them for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, simply thaw them in the refrigerator and bake as usual.
- This recipe can also be used to create baked eggplant slices. Simply slice the eggplant into 1/2-inch slices, bread them, and bake.
- If you cut your eggplant fries thinner or thicker than the suggested size, be aware that the baking time may vary. Smaller pieces may need to be removed from the oven sooner.
Whether you’re an eggplant enthusiast or a curious foodie, these crispy baked eggplant fries are sure to become a favorite. Try this recipe, and let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments below. Don’t forget to tag @AlphaFoodie in your recreations and share the love for eggplants!