These vegan eggplant fries will change the way you feel about eggplant. Crispy but healthy since they are oven baked and paired perfectly with any sauce!
This post was originally published on 7/17/14
I love a good crispy side, especially those that go with all of my sauce obsessions. I love that I can switch it up from the traditional potato and get some extra veggies in along the way!
Baked Eggplant Fries
This vegan take on the traditional crispy veggie is the perfect way to get extra nutrition in. You don’t need eggs to get this extra crispy coating, the sticky maple syrup and crunchy outer coating do the job perfectly.
What does eggplant taste like?
Eggplant can have a bitter flavor, but most of that has to do with the skin. If you remove the skin, then it has a much more mild, almost sweet flavor. It can also get a little creamy when baked.
Tips for choosing the best eggplant
Picking the perfect eggplant is the first step in making these delicious eggplant fries. You want to look for an eggplant that has shiny and smooth skin, with uniform coloring.
You’ll want to make sure it’s ripe by pressing your finger gently against it. If your finger leaves a light indent, you’ve got a ripe eggplant.
What can I do with lots of eggplant?
If you happen to have a lot of eggplant, there are many things you can make, other than these eggplant fries of course. My vegan moussaka is a huge hit and a great way to use up eggplant.
Another option is to puree it and make a dip with it, you can even use it as a sub for the carrots in this carrot hummus recipe.
How do I prepare eggplant?
What you are making with the eggplant will direct how you need to prepare it. If you are making these eggplant fries, you simply need to cut it into strips.
But if you are roasting it to make a dip, then you may need to peel the outer skin off. Taking off the skin helps take away its bitter flavor.
How do you cut eggplant into strips?
The best way to cut eggplant is to first cut it down the middle, length wise. That way you have a flat surface to lay down when cutting it into smaller strips.
Lay the eggplant cut side down, then cut larger strips. From there, lay each one down and cut into thinner strips so they look like french fries. You can also use a mandoline. This is the mandoline I use and I love it (affiliate link).
Make ahead and freezing tips
You can prep these eggplant fries ahead of time by cutting the eggplant into strips. Store in a freezer bag or airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
If you want to freeze them, I suggest only baking them about 2/3 of the way. Then cool and store wrapped in plastic or in an airtight container. When ready to eat, defrost on the counter and bake the rest of the way.
This is the best way to get the crispy outer coating perfectly crunchy.
How to Make Baked Eggplant Fries
This is a really easy recipe to throw together. The key is to make sure you bake the eggplant strips so they don’t overlap, this assures the ultimate crisp!
- Slice the eggplant.
- Mix with the sticky coating.
- Cover with the crispy coating.
- Bake and serve!
What do I serve eggplant fries with?
Really just about anything! I eat these all on their own, but they also go perfectly with some of these favorite recipes:
- Easy Lentil Burger
- Vegan Meatball Sub
- Gluten Free Vegan Black Bean Burgers
- Vegan Cheesesteak Sandwich
- Mashed Chickpea Sandwich
- BBQ Tempeh Sandwich
Perfect pairs for eggplant fries
We love pairing these eggplant fries with sauce. Nothing is better for veggies than a vegan dip! Here are some of our favorites:
- Vegan Queso Blanco (Mexica White Cheese Dip)
- Vegan Nacho Cheese
- Vegan Sour Cream
- Vegan Remoulade
- Spicy Cilantro Cream Sauce
- Creamy Dill Sauce
- Citrus Cream Sauce
Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
Cut eggplant into thin fry like sticks. The thinner they are the crispier they will get.
Put eggplant pieces in a deep bowl and sprinkle with oil or veggie broth, salt, pepper, paprika and maple syrup. Mix to coat.
Place almond flour in another bowl or dish. In small handfuls, put eggplant pieces in bowl and toss to coat well.
Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment and bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on thickness, or until golden brown. Make sure they don't overlap to assure the most crispy result.
Serve with your favorite dip.
- You can sub another flour for almond to make this nut free.
- I removed some of the outer skin to take out some of the bitterness. The touch of maple syrup helps with this too.