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Are eggplants fruit?

Yes. Eggplants are scientifically fruit but they are considered as vegetables in the cooking world.

What is au gratin?

Au gratin is a technique to put some cheese, breadcrumbs or egg over ingredients of a dish and grill them until golden brown. It can be applied to any recipe that is suitable.

Should I soak eggplant in water before cooking?

Some eggplants are bitter and soaking eggplant in salty water before cooking will help remove bitterness. To do so, you should add eggplants into a bowl after slicing them and add some water and 1-2 teaspoons of salt into it. Make sure all eggplant slices are soaked in water by putting some weight over them since eggplant slices tend to float over water. 30 minutes in salty water will be sufficient to remove the bitterness.

If you do not want to use salt to remove bitterness in eggplant, you can also use lemon slices instead of salt.

Why should I soak eggplant in milk?

You do not need to soak eggplant in milk to make this recipe. However, the flesh of eggplant is like a sponge and can soak up milk. Therefore, soaking eggplant slices in milk for about 30 minutes before cooking will make eggplant extra creamy. It will temper its bitterness as well.

Should I peel eggplant before cooking?

You do not need to peel eggplant before cooking, you can safely eat the skin. However, the skin of some eggplants are bitter and their bitterness does not go away easily even if you soak them in salty water. So, it would be better to peel eggplant if you are not sure about the taste of the skin.

air fryer

eggplant gratin air fryer recipe

Emine Aslan January 24, 2024
Eggplant Gratin Air Fryer Recipe

Summary: A delicious eggplant dish with parmesan and mozzarella cheese, so easy and quick to make. Make this healthy side dish to complete the menu for dinner!

Tags: Air fryer eggplant

Category:Side dish
Cook Time:8 minutes
Prep Time:10 minutes
Author:Emine Aslan
Calories: 214

Eggplant, also called aubergine in the UK and Ireland, is scientifically a fruit even though it is used as a vegetable in cooking and commonly known as such. It is originally from South and East Asia but now cultivated and consumed almost all over the world. Eggplant is rich in polyphenols which protects the body against cancer, coronary heart diseases, and inflammation working together with vitamin A and C which is also found in eggplant.

Eggplant is meaty and can be cooked various ways all resulting in delicious dishes every time. Deep frying eggplant first before making a dish from it is a common traditional way of cooking eggplant since its flavors become evident with the help of boiling oil. Of course, this is not a healthy way of cooking eggplant but, on the other hand, if you do not fry eggplant first, then it would not be that tasty either. At this point air fryers come on the stage to make healthy but also tasty eggplant dishes.

Gratin is a culinary technique to have golden browned cheese, breadcrumbs or egg on top of the dish. Eggplant is one of those vegetables that tastes delicious when made au gratin. The traditional eggplant au gratin recipes require frying eggplant in oil but the recipe below does not need that since it is made in the air fryer. So, you can enjoy eggplant gratin without the fear of consuming unhealthy amounts of oil with the recipe below.

Let’s move on to the recipe!


  • Olive oil spray

  • 1 large eggplant

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • 1 cup marinara sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

  • ½ cup breadcrumbs

  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

  • ¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese

  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


  1. Preheat the air fryer by selecting the “Vegetables” function and adjust the timer to 3 minutes. Once you press the “Start/Pause” button, it will start warming up.

  2. Grease a round baking dish in a size that fits your air fryer with olive oil spray.

  3. Cut off the eggplant head and slice its body into ½-inch thick pieces.

  4. Season the eggplants with salt and black pepper.

  5. Spoon half of marinara sauce on the bottom of the baking dish and arrange eggplant slices on top.

  6. Sprinkle Italian seasoning, and add the remaining marinara sauce, breadcrumbs, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese on top.

  7. Open the air fryer, place the baking dish in the basket, and close the air fryer.

  8. Set the timer to 8 minutes and press the “Start/Pause” button to start cooking.

  9. Cook until eggplant slices are tender and cheeses are golden brown.

  10. Once ready, open the air fryer and remove the baking dish onto a serving platter.

  11. Garnish with parsley.

  12. Serve warm.

  13. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 serving
% Daily Value
Calories per serving
26 grams
7.9 grams
11.3 grams
18 milligrams
563 milligrams
6.3 grams

    Instead of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, you can use feta cheese in this eggplant gratin recipe.


    You can serve eggplant gratin either as a side dish or as a light vegetarian meal. Its protein content from cheese and other nutritions in eggplant are sufficient to serve it as a meal.

    You can serve some yogurt alongside eggplant gratin when you eat it as a main dish.