Phillip and I love Italian food, we could eat it daily. One of our favorite meals is Eggplant Parmesan, the rich and creamy flavors of that dish just transport you to heaven with each bite. Many times Eggplant Parmesan leaves us feeling over stuffed at the end of the meal. We decided to make Eggplant Bites to curb our cravings and leave room to enjoy more delicious Italian favorites. These light and crisp bites dunked in marinara allow you to have this as an appetizer or even a side dish if you prefer.
We love to make these if we are entertaining friends (doesn’t happen much these days). I usually prep these before friends arrive and use the air fryer to speed up the cooking. First, peel the eggplant, the skin is delicious but the egg wash and breadcrumbs don’t hold well to the skin. After peeling the skin, chop the eggplant into little bite sized pieces. Sprinkle some salt over top of the eggplant and let rest a few minutes. While the eggplant is resting with the salt, in a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, tarragon, salt, and pepper. At this time, preheat your oven or air fryer.
Next (this is my favorite trick), using a large zip lock bag add the eggs and shake well to scramble. Blot the eggplant with a paper towel to remove some of the excess water and then add the eggplant to the zip lock bag. Shake the bag making sure to coat the Eggplant Bites with egg wash. If there is extra egg wash in the bad pour it out in the sink. Open the zip lock bag and add the bread crumbs. After the bread crumbs are added, shake well to make sure that all the bites are coated. Phillip and I love this method because it keeps our hands clean and cuts the time in half. Be prepared to not have ever piece be perfect. Some Eggplant Bites may be coated better than others. Place each Eggplant Bite onto the air fryer rack or baking sheet.
Bake the Eggplant Bits in the oven for 15-20 minutes or air fry for 5-7 minutes. You will know when the bites are done, they will be golden brown. Remove and place the bites into a big bowl or plate. Take this time to grate some fresh parmesan cheese on top of the bites. Grated will work but the fresh parmesan cheese will melt on top of the bites when they are just out of the oven or air fryer and give you a silky, creamy taste to each bite. Finally, serve the Eggplant Bites with a side of your favorite marinara. They are bound to be a party hit!
From our kitchen to yours, cheers!
- 1 eggplant
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp parsley
- ½ tsp tarragon
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 eggs
- olive or avocado oil spray
- parmesan cheese
- maranara sauce
- Peel and chop the eggplant into bit sized pieces. Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt on the eggplant and let rest
- In a mixing bowl combine the breadcrumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine all these dry ingredients
- In a small mixing bowl add the eggs and whisk until scrambled
- Using a paper towel block the eggplant to remove excess water
- Take each eggplant bite, dunk in the eggwash, then the breadcrumbs and add to your air fryer or oven on a greased rack
- If using the oven set to 400° and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
- If using the air fryer set to 400° and air fry for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown
- Once the eggplant bites are done, place them on a plate or bowl and grate some parmesan cheese over top. Since they are nice a hot, the cheese will melt slightly onto the bites. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce