Easy Oil-free Eggplant Slices in the Air Fryer (Vegan, WFPB)

Are you looking for a simple, oil-free, WFPB eggplant recipe that can be ready in 20 minutes? Bursting with flavour and packed with goodness, these eggplant slices in the air fryer are no-oil, vegan, WFPB, keto-friendly, gluten-free and low-calorie.

Whether you’re looking for a mouth-watering main course, a tempting side dish or a satisfying lunch, this recipe fits the bill.

Eggplant is super versatile, with recipes as diverse as eggplant parmesan, eggplant curry, stuffed eggplant and stir-fried eggplant.

And let’s not forget the wonderful eggplant dip, baba ganoush!

But this eggplant recipe is one step easier than all of the above. It takes only 5 ingredients and is ready in 20 minutes from start to finish.

It looks attractive, tastes divine, and can be used to replace fish for anyone who’s in the process of transitioning to vegan.

Table of Contents

How to Make Oil-Free Eggplant Slices in the Air Fryer

Wash & dry the eggplant. Slice it lengthwise into 5 mm thin slices. Once you’ve made the recipe you can play with the depth of the slices to fit your preferences.

I find that if they’re too thin they tend to lack body and bite, whereas if they’re too thick they may need longer in the air fryer before they’re fully cooked through.

Sprinkle each side of each slice with salt and rub it into the flesh. Leave the salted eggplant slices to sit for about 15 minutes.

Dip each slice into a shallow plate of plant milk.

Sprinkle with chia seeds on both sides.

Place into the air fryer and set for 15 minutes at 200ºc, turning the slices halfway through.

Meanwhile, slice your tofu into thin slices and add to the air fryer after 11 minutes, so that the tofu gets warmed up and slightly cooked. If you prefer the tofu cooked more, cook it for longer.

Remove the slices of eggplant from the air fryer and arrange on a plate. Squeeze generously, coating each slice in lemon juice.

Next, top each slice with a layer of homemade cilantro sauce and a couple of slices of tofu.

Sprinkle with chilli and vegan parmesan on top and serve.


FAQ about cooking eggplant slices in the air fryer

Is it necessary to salt the eggplant before air frying?

It isn’t essential to salt the eggplant slices before placing them in the air fryer to cook, but I have found that it makes a big difference to their final flavour.

Adding salt tenderises the eggplant slices, making them much smoother and tastier in the final result.

I wouldn’t recommend skipping the salting stage of this recipe. If you’re running short on time, it’s fine to salt them for just 5 minutes instead of 15.

Is the Final Dish Very Salty?

The final eggplant dish doesn’t come out salty because when you dip the slice into plant milk much of the salt comes off into the milk.

Furthermore, eggplant needs salt to bring out its best flavour.

Is Lemon Juice Essential for this Recipe?

While it isn’t essential, the lemon juice creates the special burst of flavours which come with this recipe. Feel free to adjust it according to what you have to hand in your kitchen.

What Can I Use Instead of Cilantro Sauce?

If you don’t have any homemade cilantro sauce on hand, you can substitute it with cashew nut sauce, hummus or tahini.

Cilantro sauce is my favourite, but feel free to substitute it and play around with the flavours.

What Can I Do if I Don’t Like Tofu?

Tofu adds contrast to the bite and also brings a protein boost to the dish. If you don’t like tofu, first of all, I would suggest trying it in this recipe in case it is an exception for you and you actually end up liking it.

Secondly, if you don’t want to add tofu, think of other plant-based protein which you could couple with the eggplant, such as tempeh, chickpeas or beans.

Easy & Delicious Oil-free Eggplant Slices in the Air Fryer (Vegan, WFPB)

Recipe by SorayaCourse: All Vegan PostsCuisine: vegan, WFPBNO


Prep time


Cooking time



So easy and versatile yet bursting with flavour and nutrition


  • 1 eggplant

  • 1 packet of firm tofu

  • Cilantro sauce

  • Plant milk for dipping

  • Juice from 1 lemon

  • Chia seeds

  • Vegan Parmesan

  • Chilli powder

  • Salt


  • Slice the eggplant lengthwise
  • Salt each slice and rub the salt into the flesh on both sides
  • Leave to sit for 10-15 minutes
  • Dip each slice of eggplant into a dish of unsweetened plant milk
  • Cook in the air fryer for 15 minutes at 200ºc, turning the slices after 8 minutes
  • Slice the tofu lengthwise into thin slices and add to the air fryer for the last 4 minutes of cooking
  • Assemble the slices on a plate and squeeze with a generous amount of lemon juice
  • Spread each slice with some cilantro sauce and top with a piece of tofu
  • Sprinkle on some chilli powder and vegan parmesan and serve

Recipe Video

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