My Roasting Eggplant in the Air Fryer Experiment

If you Google how to roast eggplant in the air fryer, you will discover a lot of recipes. Trust me on that. I found lots of different recipes for roasting eggplant, even when I limited my search to using the Air Fryer.

I asked in the Becoming Elli Facebook Group (join us there if you haven’t already!) if anyone had any good ideas on what to do with eggplant. People made many suggestions so I have ways to prepare eggplant for a while. I also checked for other eggplant recipes in this site and found one recipe that Chris posted. It sounds good too so I may add that to my list of ways to prepare eggplant.

Roasted eggplant was one of the more popular suggestions so I decided to give that  a try. I love most roasted vegetables so I thought roasted eggplant would probably also be good.

Once I started researching the best way to roast eggplant, I found the one dividing point between cooks.  Salting the vegetable before cooking or not.

Eggplant has a lot of moisture in it. Typically if you’re making eggplant parmesan or some other Italian eggplant treat, you’re instructed to salt the slices of eggplant to draw out the moisture.

Some of the recipes for roasting eggplant insist the only way to get crips eggplant is to salt it first and remove the moisture. Other recipes said it doesn’t matter and you can skip that step.

The other discrepancy between the roasting methods was about removing the skin first. Some recipes said to peel the eggplant before cooking and other recipes said to keep it on.

To Salt or Not to Salt

I decided to try both methods of roasting. I cut one eggplant into cubes and cooked half at a time.

To make sure I was conducting a fair experiment, I kept everything the same with both batches. I used the same oil and the same spices for both batches. However, I sprinkled salt on one batch and let it sit for about 30 minutes. The second batch I roasted without bothering with the salt.

I decided to leave the skin on the eggplant because my inclination with all vegetables is to leave the skin on if possible. For one thing, it’s a lot easier not to peel a vegetable before cooking. Secondly, it seems that for most vegetables, there’s more vitamins and fiber if you keep the skin on the vegetable.

Easier and better for you? Let’s try keeping the skin on the eggplant.

Roasting the Batches

For each batch of eggplant, I used about a tablespoon of avocado oil and then sprinkled on a mixture of spices. I used pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and a pinch of red pepper. Because I knew one batch would already be salted, I did not add salt to the spice mixture.

I roasted the first batch (the unsalted one) in the air fryer at 400 for about 15 minutes. I shook them up a couple of times while cooking. When they came out, the pieces were very dark so I thought I had burnt them. It turned out that they were fine but just had a dark color.

The second batch sat in a colander with the salt on for about thirty minutes. I stirred them occasionally to help remove any moisture. When I was ready to roast them, I wiped the salt and moisture off the eggplant chunks, and then prepared in the same way as the first batch.

I did cook the second batch for a couple of minutes less than the first batch. I thought I had burnt the first batch so wanted to try for a slightly shorter time.

Results

By the time the second batch had finished cooking, I had eaten most of the first batch. I forced myself to leave some so that I’d have them when the second batch finished. You can see in this photo how much I ate in the 12 minutes the second batch cooked. (The second batch is on the left. I know, they should have been on the right.)

The second batch was also good but did have a saltier flavor than the first batch. I was glad that I had not put any salt in the spice mixture.

I did not notice any difference in the crunchiness of the eggplant. Based on this small experiment, I would say you can safely skip the salting and wiping off part of the process.

And what about the skin?

The roasted eggplant became very soft so the only real crunch was from the skin. I really liked it. I thought the roasted skin added some great texture to the dish.

The result was that I ate an entire eggplant as a snack in the middle of the afternoon. It was delicious.

Roasting Eggplant in the Air Fryer

So here’s the simple recipe I used for the eggplant.

Ingredients

Eggplant

Oil

Spice Mixture. Use what you want for this but I used about 1 teaspoon each of oregano and garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of black pepper, and a scant 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

Cut the eggplant into about one-inch cubes.

Toss them in about a tablespoon of oil. I used avocado oil but olive oil would work well.

Mix the spices together and then toss with the eggplant cubes.

Add the eggplant to the air fryer.

Roast at 400 for about 12 minutes. Stir at least once, halfway through the cooking.

These were good hot, right out of the air fryer, warm, and at room temperature.

They weren’t around long enough for me to try them on salad or any other dish.

I’m still open to other ideas for eggplant but I absolutely loved the roasted eggplant.

If you have any suggestions about roasting eggplant in the Air Fryer, other ways to cook eggplant or roasting other type of vegetables for me, be sure to share them with me.

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