An indulgent and satisfying plant-based recipe made in the air fryer and garnished with tangy cashew mozzarella. This Vegan Mozzarella Eggplant Napoleon is crispy, “meaty,” and flavorful. In other words, simply amazing!
We will never forget the first time we had eggplant napoleon. There is an amazing restaurant in our neighborhood of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn called Tanoreen. We went there for a special birthday dinner and boy was it memorable… We ordered an appetizer called eggplant napoleon.
Eggplant is one of those vegetables that I never had growing up in Montana. In fact, I never tried it until I was living and working in NYC. But I have made up that time and then some! We love eggplant and frequently use it in our cooking.
We have made Miso Glazed Mushrooms with Eggplant, Eggplant and Butternut Squash Marsala, and even Mediterranean Eggplant Fries along with many other recipes. It really is such a versatile veggie especially for plant-based cooking because of its natural “meaty” texture.
An Updated Classic
However, somehow, eggplant napoleon always takes the cake. It’s crusted in a thin crispy breading that adds a lovely contrast to the buttery and soft eggplant interior. That is what stood out the most all those years ago when we first tried this satisfying dish.
But we just knew we could add a plant-based twist… yup, with vegan fresh mozzarella! The saltiness of the “cheese” is a perfect combination with the savory and crispy eggplant. In fact, it’s a match made in heaven.
Finally, we had to try and make it a touch healthier, so we opted to air fry the eggplant. This method still leaves it deliciously crispy but it only requires a teaspoon of oil. Win!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- Eggplant – Any variety of eggplant will work, but we like the larger slices of a traditional one best. In addition, feel free to peel the eggplant if preferred because sometimes the skin can be a little tough.
- Breadcrumb – This adds a pleasant crunch to the eggplant and is a nice contrast to the creamy mozzarella.
- Flax Eggs – This is the binder that allows the breadcrumb to adhere to the eggplant. Additionally, any vegan egg substitute will also work.
- Vegan Mozzarella – The salty and tangy “cheese” pairs perfectly with the crispy eggplant. Try this homemade recipe for Vegan Fresh Mozzarella. It’s easy to make, and so much cheaper than anything you can buy.
- Hummus or Baba Ganoush – Homemade Baba Ganoush is traditionally used, however hummus is a tasty alternative as well. This recipe for Kalamata Olive Hummus is a great fit too or simply use store bought.
- Fresh Mediterranean Salsa – Chopped tomato, cucumber, onion, roasted red pepper, and olives provide crunch and flavor.
FAQ & Vegan Mozzarella Eggplant Napoleon Tips:
Is this recipe gluten-free?
- Yup! We used gluten-free breadcrumbs for the eggplant and it tastes just as good as the real thing. Honestly!
Do you have to peel the eggplant?
- No. The skin of the eggplant is perfectly edible. However some people prefer to peel it, especially when preparing eggplant parmesan, because it can sometimes be a little tough. But fortunately, with this air fryer Napoleon recipe, you will hardly notice the skin so we prefer to leave it on.
Why is it called eggplant?
- The name originated in Europe in the middle of the 18th century because the variety that was most common was white/yellow in color and looked similar to a goose egg. However, today the most common eggplant is much larger and purple.
Extra crispy eggplant
- Although the air fried eggplant is delicious stacked like in this Napoleon recipe, it can also be enjoyed in a sandwich, pita, or over a salad. The same goes for the fresh Mediterranean salsa and vegan fresh mozzarella.
Fancy, Yet Attainable!
This is one vegan dish that is irresistible to carnivores and herbivores alike and this gourmet appetizer or entree can be made easily at home. There’s nothing better than that. Enjoy!
Finally, if you have made this eggplant Napoleon recipe, we would love to hear what you think! Please comment down below and be sure to rate the recipe. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thanks so much!
Additionally, you can also take a photo and tag us on instagram. We would love to get your feedback! Happy cooking! 😊
A flavorful Eggplant Napoleon made in the air fryer and garnished with tangy vegan mozzarella. It’s pure plant-based comfort food at its best!
- 3 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed
- 9 Tbsp Warm Water
- 1 Medium Eggplant (Sliced into 1/2 inch thick circles)
- 2 Cups Bread Crumb (Gluten-Free if Needed)
- 2 Tbsp Flour
Fresh Meditteranean Salsa:
- 1 Medium Red Onion (Diced)
- 1 Small Tomato (Diced)
- 1 Persian Cucumber (Diced)
- 1/2 Cup Roasted Red Peppers (Diced)
- 12 Kalamata Olives (Chopped)
- 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
- 2 tsp Dried Parsley
- 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- Make the vegan mozzarella if needed or you can use store bought.
- In a wide bowl, combine the ground flax meal and warm water. Stir to combine and allow to set for 10 minutes.
- While the flax mixture sits, prepare the produce as directed above. Combine the ingredients for the salsa and set aside.
- In another wide bowl, combine the flour and breadcrumb. Dip each piece of eggplant into the flax mixture then into the breadcrumb mixture.
- Once all pieces are coated, cook them in batches in the air fryer for approx. 20 mins at 400°F. Depending on the size of your machine this may take several batches.
- Place a dollop of hummus or baba ganoush and a little salsa on the center of a plate. Top with fried eggplant, mozzarella, tomato, more salsa and hummus in any order you desire. You can make a single stack or a double like pictured.
- Serve immediately while warm and enjoy!
- Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. We recommend storing them in separate containers if they weren’t already combined into a stack. This will help to ensure that the eggplant stays crispy.
- The equipment listed above contains affiliate links to products that we personally use, love, and recommend!
Keywords: Air fryer eggplant recipe, vegan eggplant Napoleon