Crispy air fryer eggplant Milanese on a bed of arugula, with cherry tomatoes tossed in balsamic vinegar, basil, shaved parmesan and balsamic glaze!
What does “Milanese” mean?
“Milanese” style means breading something (usually thin sliced meat) in flour, eggs and seasoned breadcrumbs. Then frying it! Chicken Milanese is a very popular dish.
I got some requests recently for more meatless meals! As well as more air fryer meals. So, I figured this recipe was a great place to start. My mom was talking about making eggplant Milanese a few weeks ago. Soon after I saw Bobby Flay post about eggplant Milanese on Instagram. Then it clicked, air fryer eggplant Milanese!
I was heavily inspired by Bobby Flay’s post. But, I tweaked it quite a bit. He cut his eggplant lengthwise. I prefer eggplant rounds. I used panko breadcrumbs. However, I also tried with Trader Joe’s gluten-free rice crumbs.. this also works! I served mine over a bed of arugula then topped it with a cherry tomato balsamic salad, shaved parmesan, basil and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. The eggplant got so crispy in the air fryer! My husband who usually isn’t a fan of meatless meals said he wouldn’t mind if we had this weekly! I’d call that a win.
Tips for nailing this recipe:
- Make sure to slice the eggplant 1/2 an inch thick, at most 3/4 an inch. No thinner or thicker or else timing may be off for cooking! I found 1/2 an inch to be the perfect width for this dish.
- Season season season! Bobby Flay taught me this and it does make a HUGE difference. I season my eggplant before I air fry it (before breading), then season the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. As well as the tomato salad. It’s like layers and amplifies the flavor.
- Don’t skip the balsamic glaze.
I have the Crux digital air fryer and absolutely love it! They don’t make my exact model anymore – but click here for the new version. It has great reviews. I also heard amazing things about this Ninja air fryer with a convection oven included. I love my air fryer for getting breaded foods super crisp! Crispy eggplant is so underrated.
More meatless meals you will love:
I hope you love this air fryer eggplant Milanese! It’s a great vegetarian dish to add to your weekly menu. Super easy to throw together but feels somewhat fancy if you ask me 😉Print
1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1/2 cup flour
1 & 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, or Trader Joe’s ricecrumbs for a gluten-free alternative
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
Cherry Tomato Salad
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1–2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp minced garlic
handful of arugula
fresh basil ribbons
Season your eggplant rounds with salt and pepper.
Spray your air fryer basket then add eggplant rounds. You can stack them for this part. Lightly spray the eggplant and air fry at 400 degrees F for about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, set up your breading station; flour in one shallow bowl with salt and pepper, whisked eggs in another shallow bowl with salt and pepper, then breadcrumbs in a third bowl with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Take your eggplant rounds and dip in flour, then egg (dip off excess egg), then fully coat in the breadcrumbs. I press them on so it sticks well.
Repeat with all of the eggplant rounds.
Spray the air fryer basket again, then lay the breaded eggplant rounds in a single layer. This will probably have to be done in batches.
Spray the tops of the breaded eggplant very generously with non-stick spray.
Air fry at 380 degrees F for 6 minutes, flip (spray again if desired) and cook for 5-6 more minutes or until they’re crispy and golden.
Meanwhile, make cherry tomato salad by combining all of the ingredients and placing in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Assemble by adding arugula to the plates, then top with eggplant Milanese, cherry tomato salad, basil, shaved parmesan, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Serve immediately and enjoy!