At one of our local grocery stores, gorgeous large eggplants have been on sale for $1 each. Of course, as someone who loves eggplant cooked in a lot of different ways, I had to pick a few up. I was planning on making old favorites, such as Chinese Eggplant in Garlic Sauce, Vegan Eggplant Parmesan, and Jamaican Vegan Eggplant Rundown, but I also wanted to try something new.
Eggplant makes a delicious filling for sandwiches and wraps. It is low calorie while being a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals (read more nutrition facts about eggplant here). However, when frying or baking, it will become very soft.
This works in our favor if you add a good batter. While we all love a good crunch, sometimes a sandwich can be a little too dry; when you have the perfect melt in your mouth but crispy fried eggplant, this problem is eliminated.
I used my eggplant to make a few strips for a spin on the traditional gyro, using our Gluten-Free Flatbread and Vegan Tzatziki Sauce. I also used the leftovers to make some sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, and barbecue sauce the next day.
The day after that, I made a quick sandwich with my favorite Whole Foods lemon hummus. As you can see, this is a great recipe to have to upgrade your sandwiches but still keep it simple.
How to Make Fried Eggplant?
Have you ever had a nasty bitter eggplant? Or have your eggplant turn into a soggy mess? Or even just stay hard, no matter how long you cook it? One way to help with both of these problems is by soaking your eggplant.
It is usually either in brine (salted water) or in milk, since salt draws out the liquid in eggplant, and milk helps with the bitterness, while making your eggplant creamier in taste. While brainstorming for this dish I thought, “Why not both?”
Equal parts milk and water, with a bit of salt, made such a huge difference. It is recommended to let your eggplant sit for at least 30 minutes, but even overnight, and I will say, my eggplant that was cooked the next day tasted even better and had an amazing texture.
You can also make your batter ahead, and add a touch of water if it thickens too much. This means that you can freshly dip and fry your eggplant as needed, to make a quick sandwich that tastes like it’s from a restaurant.
Heat your oil in a frying pan, preferably nonstick or cast iron, on medium heat. Dip your eggplant pieces in your batter and fry each side until they turn light brown. Place finished eggplant on a plate covered with a paper towel, napkin, or cloth.
Fried eggplant can technically keep in the fridge for a few days, but I do not recommend it, since eggplant has such a high water content and will make your batter soggy.
Air Fried Eggplant
Take the water out of the batter recipe and make a dry breading that can be easily used in the air fryer at 370 F° at 7-10 minutes. Perfect for a guilt-free snack or lunch!
More Vegan Sandwich Ideas
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Soak for Eggplant
Batter for Eggplant
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Pinch of Cayenne pepper
- 1 eggplant, cut into round slices or long strips
- oil, for frying
- You can choose to peel your eggplant or not. I feel that peeling makes for a better sandwich but I also don't mind the taste of the skin, plus there are added nutritional benefits to leaving it on. Cut up your eggplant into shape of your choice.
- Add all the ingredients for the soak to a large bowl and mix. Add eggplant and soak for at least 30 minutes, preferably 2 hours.
- Mix all the ingredients for the batter, except for the water, until well incorporated. Add water slowly, while stirring. Your batter should turn into a runny paste consistency. You may not need as much water, or you may need to add more, so don't add it all at once.
- Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Using a fork, place some pieces of battered eggplant into your pan. Let fry for about 2 minutes, or until it's golden brown. Flip and do the same to the other side.
- Place finished eggplant pieces onto a plate covered with paper towel or cloth to absorb extra oil. Serve in sandwiches, wraps, tacos, and gyros, or with condiments as a snack.