Cooked up in the air fryer, these Eggplant Parmesan Pizzas are coated in a crunchy crust of herbs and cheese for a delicious dinner the whole family will love.
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Eggplant Parmesan Pizzas
Making homemade pizzas has become one of my ultimate self-care hacks.
There is something comforting about the layers of creamy cheese, fresh bright basil, and the simple tang of a good marinara sauce. Top with a bit of pepperoni, and the combination just brings me joy – whether I make my own dough from scratch or just pile things on top of a store-bought English Muffin. These options, however, are not exactly part of a healthier diet, nor are either particularly easy to pull off when you don’t have access to some version of an oven (yes, this is me right now).
And then we discovered the air fryer and the miracle that is this air fryer eggplant parmesan pizzas recipe. Who knew that otherwise boring eggplant coins covered in a crunchy crust of herbs and parmesan would be such a great perfect base for building a personal pizza? With no oil, the eggplant stays firm, allowing you to pile on the necessary pizza toppings. A spoonful of marinara sauce, a slice or two of fresh mozzarella cheese (or even a spoonful of burrata), and maybe some cured meat like pepperoni or soppressata. I guess you could do veggies too, if that’s your thing.
Choosing an Air Fryer
This recipe for eggplant parmesan pizzas was tested using a Ninja XL Air Fryer, and should be adaptable to other standard models. After a pretty exhaustive research session, the Ninja XL was the right fit for my needs in terms of size, cost, and features (I’m excited to play with the dehydration setting). I’ve also heard great things about the Ninja Foodi, an all-in-one model that includes a pressure cooker function. If you don’t already have a pressure cooker, it sounds like a promising way to go.
Storing & Freezing
It’s easy to make a big batch of eggplant parmesan pizzas ahead of time! Bake the bread crumb and parmesan encrusted eggplant coins until golden brown in batches, and lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once they are room temperature, freeze the eggplant for about an hour on the tray, and then transfer to a freezer safe bag.
When ready to eat, DO NOT DEFROST THE EGGPLANT. Remove the desired number of eggplant slices and top each with marinara, cheese, and toppings. Working in batches if necessary, finish the pizzas off in the air fryer as described in the recipe. You may need to add another 2-3 minutes to the cook time.
Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan Pizzas
- 2 medium eggplant (about 1 ½ pounds)
- 2 tablespoon salt, divided
- 1 egg + 1 egg white, beaten
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup gluten-free plain bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, thickly shredded
- 1 tablespoon Romano cheese, thickly shredded (optional)
- ½ teaspoon dried basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh basil)
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, sprigs removed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces fresh burrata or mozzarella cheese, divided into 12 portions
- 1 cup marinara sauce (Fody Marinara Sauce)
- 2 ounces cured soppressata or pepperoni, diced small (optional)
- Fresh basil, to garnish
- Slice the eggplant so that you create 12 rounds, each about 1/4th inch thick. Discard the ends. For the best pizzas, choose thick eggplants at least 4 inches in diameter. Any extra eggplant can be saved for another use.
- Spread the eggplant rounds out on paper towels, sprinkling with 1 tablespoon salt to help remove some of the moisture. Let these sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
- Set up a breading station for the eggplant with two bowls and a final empty plate: In the first bowl, whisk together the egg, egg white, and water. In the second, whisk together the bread crumbs, parmesan and romano (if using), herbs, remaining salt, and red pepper flakes.
- Dip each eggplant round first in the egg batter, tapping to allow any excess to drop off. Transfer the coated eggplant to the bread crumb mix, pressing it into the coating to create a thick layer. Set the finished eggplant on the empty plate. Repeat until all of the eggplant slices are sufficiently battered.
- Working in batches according to the size of your air fryer, bake the encrusted eggplant at 360 degrees F for 8 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3. The crust should become a nice golden brown.
- Once all the rounds have been air fried, it's time to make them into pizzas! Top each slice with a tablespoon of marinara and one portion of burrata or mozzarella, spreading them into a thin layer. Dot each with soppressata (if using), or other toppings. Air fry the rounds in batches, cheese side up, for an additional 2 minutes. Serve immediately with fresh basil.
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