December 3, 2022

Compass Classicyachts

Singularly remarkable health

Air Fryer Eggplant and Chickpeas Salad


Medically reviewed by Shahzadi Devje, Registered Dietitian (RD) & Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

On the lookout for nutritious salads? You’re in the right place! This air fryer eggplant and chickpeas salad is jam-packed with wholesome ingredients like parsley, onion, cucumber and tomatoes. The best part? It’s rich in protein and fibre, which makes it filling and ideal as a diabetes salad, too. This recipe is vegan, gluten free and part of my heart healthy and diabetes diet friendly series.

a perspective image of a bowl of salad made of chickpeas , cucumbers and tomatoes with another bowl and white flowers in the background.

Indeed, the eggplant is the star of the show here. As a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, I’ll certainly get into the whole spiel of preparing eggplant, nutrition facts of eggplant, its health benefits, and some FAQs.

But first, I must confess that there’s been a lot of eggplant enthusiasm in our home lately since the kids loved the Indian Eggplant Curry (Brinjal Curry) and Mr. D’s favourite has always been Baingan Bharta. I’m not complaining, though, as I adore eggplant too!

If you do the whole “eggplant in air fryer” right, it will transform into gorgeous cubes of deeply charred eggplant with a crispy exterior and a soft, melt-in-your-mouth inner center. The air fryer does a stellar job of ensuring the eggplant doesn’t get soggy and keeps all its juices locked in.

What’s more, air fryer eggplant gives the salad a nice smoky flavour, complemented by the vibrancy of the parsley, onion, cucumber and tomatoes. The chickpeas add heartiness and bulk, while the avocado affords creaminess and healthy fats. And it’s all bundled together with tart lemon and tangy sumac.

Ingredients

Today’s recipe of air fryer eggplant has no breading or batter. Instead, the key is to give it a good coat of avocado oil, salt and turmeric for added flavour. Also, I typically don’t cut the raw eggplant into slices but rather into small cubes. This helps the air fryer do its job of creating crispy eggplant — with char galore. Admittedly, I can’t help but eat them right out of the air fryer!

food ingredients on a wooden board including chickpeas, eggplants, tomatoes and spices.

To create this air fryer eggplant and chickpeas salad, here’s all you need:

  • Eggplant: in this particular recipe, I use Asian eggplant, a long and thin variety.
  • Avocado oil: or any other high smoke point oil like olive oil or grapeseed oil. You may also use cooking spray with this method.
  • Salt: to help extract the moisture from the eggplant and season it.
  • Turmeric: it’s a pantry staple for extra flavour and beautiful colour. Although, you may also use paprika or even better – smoked paprika.
  • Chickpeas: canned chickpeas work like a charm in this recipe, but you can also cook your own from dry chickpeas. However, if you are using canned, drain and rinse them well. That way, there is less moisture build-up in your salad.
  • Parsley: for oodles of freshness and flavour. Alternatively, you may use cilantro (coriander) or mint.
  • Onion: I love red onion in this recipe, but you could also omit it if you’re not a fan of onions.
  • Cucumber: it’s the perfect choice for crunch and deliciousness. For example, an English cucumber is my go-to.
  • Tomatoes: grape sweet cherry tomatoes work particularly well, especially if they’re nice and firm. That’s because they’re less likely to turn mushy in your salad.
  • Lemon: the addition of lemon, or any citrus for that matter is a brilliant way to control the amount of oil and salt in your recipes. Similarly, you could also use lime or orange juice.
  • Sumac: for a zesty citrusy charm. This shouldn’t be skipped because it really adds to the salad’s character. Sumac may be purchased at your local store or at a Persian shop.

Air Fryer Eggplant and Chickpeas Salad

Instructions

To be honest, most of the work goes into chopping, dicing and slicing the salad ingredients. I recommend doing all that prep work beforehand or while the eggplant is air frying to make your life easier. That way, everything is ready to go for assembly.

Here’s how to make air fryer eggplant and chickpeas salad:

To begin with, cut the eggplant into small, even-sized cubes. I find it helpful first to cut the eggplant in quarters lengthwise and then slice it into small cubes.

  1. To release the moisture from the eggplant, place the cubes on a large plate or bowl, season with salt, and let them sit for 30 minutes. This enables the salt to draw out the moisture from the eggplant (Step 1).
  2. After 30 minutes, you will actually notice the moisture droplets on the surface of the eggplant cubes. Use a clean dishcloth or paper towel to gently press and blot the eggplant cubes dry. This is a crucial step because if there’s too much moisture on them, they won’t air fry well – resulting in soggy eggplant (Step 2).
  3. Now it’s time to season! Add avocado oil and sprinkle the cubes with turmeric. Then, toss to coat thoroughly (Step 3).
  4. Next, place the eggplant in the air fryer baskets, making sure not to overcrowd the pieces. Air fry the eggplant at 400F for 15-20 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through cooking (Step 4).
  5. Once the eggplant cubes are cooked, remove them from the air fryer and place them in a large bowl (Step 5).
  6. Now it’s time to assemble the chickpeas salad. Begin by adding chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, onion, lemon and sumac to a large bowl and toss to combine (Step 6).
  7. Then, add the air fryer eggplant along with the avocado pieces and toss gently. (Steps 7-8).

This air fryer eggplant and chickpea salad can be served as is or with some pita bread or naan on the side. It also makes for a great lunch box salad — pack it up in a reusable container, and you’re good to go!

You can find the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions in the recipe card below.

Tips

  • When preparing eggplant, cut it into small cubes so that they cook evenly and don’t get soggy.
  • Season the eggplant with salt, avocado oil and turmeric (or your desired spices) for extra flavour.
  • You want to avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket. This will help ensure that they cook evenly and get crispy. You could either send the eggplant in two batches or if you have a dual air fryer, utilize both baskets for best results.
  • If you’re using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them well before adding them to the salad.
  • Add fresh herbs like parsley, mint or cilantro (coriander) for extra flavour.

Nutrition information per serving

Below you will find the nutrition information for one serving of air fryer eggplant and chickpeas salad:

  • 41 g net carbs
  • 17 g protein per serving
  • An excellent source of fibre (68% DV)
  • An impressive source of vitamin A (31% DV)
  • A terrific source of vitamin C (61% DV)
  • An exceptional source of iron (33% DV)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. Interpretation of DVs from US FDA.

How long should I cook eggplant in the air fryer?

First thing first, you can put eggplant in the air fryer.

I like to cook eggplant in the air fryer for salads because it’s a quick and easy way to cook them, and they always come out nice and crispy.

The cooking time will vary depending on how large or small you’ve cut the eggplant. You want to cook at 400F for 15-20 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through cooking. If you’d prefer them to be softer, cook them for less time.

It may come as a surprise, but you can roast a whole eggplant in the air fryer; the cooking time will be around 30 minutes. The important thing is to make sure it’s seasoned well with salt, oil and spices.

Storing eggplant

When you’re not using eggplant, you can store it in the fridge. Just make sure to put it in a bag or container and use it within a few days. That way, it won’t spoil.

Similarly, you can also freeze eggplant. In this case, cut it into cubes, blanch them for two minutes, and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. The eggplant will keep in the freezer for up to six months.

When you’re ready to use frozen eggplant, thaw it overnight in the fridge and then cook it as you would fresh eggplant.

two bowls of salad made of chickpeas and cucumbers and herbs styled on top of a netted place mat.

How to store air fryer eggplant and chickpeas salad

Although this air fryer eggplant and chickpea salad is best enjoyed fresh, I think it tastes even better the next day. That’s because the flavours have time to meld and develop beautifully. In the event, you have leftover salad, keep it in the fridge for up to two to three days — as long as the salad is stored in a reusable container with a tightly fitted lid.

Nutrition facts of eggplant

Eggplant has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, and it’s still being studied today.

The nutrition facts of eggplant (100 grams) are as follows:

Nutrient and calories Amount %DV
Copper 0.1 mg 11%
Dietary Fiber 3 g 11%
Fat 0.2 g 0%
Magnesium 14 mg 3%
Manganese 0.2 mg 9%
Potassium 229 mg 5%
Protein 1 g 2%
Sodium 2 mg 0%
Niacin 0.6 mg 4%
Total carbohydrate 5.9 g 2%
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg 6%
Vitamin C 2.2 mg 2%
Vitamin K 3.5 mcg 3%
Calories 25 kcal

Eggplant health benefits

Eggplant contains antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage.

What’s more, one small randomized controlled trial showed that eating eggplant daily may help lower blood pressure.

Another review discussed that eggplant may possess anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and cholesterol-lowering effects. For example, eggplant’s antioxidant properties might help control diabetes by hindering the action of α-amylase and α-glucosidase. Both of these enzymes are involved in the digestion of carbohydrates.

Additionally, it’s possible that eggplant may lower cholesterol levels. According to scientists involved in the above review, eggplant has been shown to be beneficial in treating metabolic syndrome and its associated complications.

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that’s characterized by a cluster of risk factors, including high blood pressure, obesity, and insulin resistance. These factors increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

For one thing, eggplant is a low-calorie vegetable. For example, a 100-gram raw eggplant has very little protein, fat, or sodium, and even lower levels of carbohydrates, B-vitamins, vitamins C and K, magnesium, and potassium.

Eggplant is a good source of dietary fibre and minerals such as copper and manganese, which are important for energy production, bone and connective tissue health, and antioxidant defence.

You asked: Does eggplant have protein?

The protein content of eggplant is very low. In fact, a 100-gram raw eggplant contains just under one gram of protein. This means that eggplant isn’t the best source of protein.

What’s more, the protein in eggplant is “incomplete,” which indicates that it doesn’t contain all the essential amino acids your body needs.

For this reason, I’ve chosen to pair it with chickpeas in this recipe, which are a fantastic source of plant-based protein, and have all of the necessary amino acids. Furthermore, chickpeas are also high in dietary fibre and many vitamins and minerals.

What are your favourite eggplant pairings? Let me know in the comments below.

Desi~liciously Yours,

;

close up image of a bowl of salad made of chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs with another bowl in the background.

I’d love to hear from you if you try this easy air fryer eggplant and chickpeas salad recipe! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag #desiliciousrd on Instagram. I can’t wait to see your photos.

Air Fryer Eggplant and Chickpeas Salad


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On the lookout for nutritious salads? You’re in the right place! This air fryer eggplant and chickpeas salad is jam-packed with wholesome ingredients like parsley, onion, cucumber and tomatoes. The best part? It’s high in protein and fibre, which makes it filling and ideal as a diabetes salad, too. This recipe is vegan, gluten free and part of my heart healthy and diabetes diet friendly series.

Prep Time30 mins

Cook Time15 mins

Total Time45 mins

Cuisine Mediterranean

Servings: 4 servings

close up image of a bowl of salad made of chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs.

Instructions

  • To release the moisture from the eggplant, place the cubes on a large plate or bowl, sprinkle with salt, and let them sit for 30 minutes

  • After 30 minutes, use a clean dishcloth or paper towel to gently press and blot the eggplant cubes dry. This is a crucial step because if there’s too much moisture on them, they won’t air fry well – resulting in soggy eggplant

  • Coat the cubes with avocado oil,and turmeric. Toss to coat thoroughly

  • Place the eggplant in the air fryer baskets, making sure not to overcrowd the cubes. Air fry at 400F for 15-20 minutes, shaking the baskets halfway through cooking

  • Once the eggplant is cooked, remove the cubes from the air fryer and place them in a large bowl

  • To assemble the salad, add chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, onion, lemon and sumac to a large bowl and toss to combine

  • Add the air fryer eggplant along with the avocado pieces and toss gently to combine. Enjoy!

Notes

  • When preparing eggplant, cut it into small cubes so that they cook evenly and don’t get soggy.
  • Season the eggplant with salt, avocado oil and turmeric (or your desired spices) for extra flavour.
  • You want to cook the eggplant in batches to avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket. This will help ensure that they cook evenly and get crispy.
  • If you’re using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them well before adding them to the salad.
  • Add fresh herbs like parsley, mint or cilantro (coriander) for extra flavour.

Nutrition Facts

Air Fryer Eggplant and Chickpeas Salad

Amount Per Serving

Calories 386
Calories from Fat 108

% Daily Value*

Fat 12g18%

Saturated Fat 1g5%

Polyunsaturated Fat 3g

Monounsaturated Fat 6g

Sodium 900mg38%

Potassium 985mg28%

Carbohydrates 58g19%

Fiber 17g68%

Sugar 11g12%

Protein 17g34%

Vitamin A 1550IU31%

Vitamin C 50mg61%

Calcium 127mg13%

Iron 6mg33%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Please note the nutritional analysis values are estimates and suggestions. This nutrition facts table does not know your life – your body, including your hunger and satiety cues, change daily. It’s okay to eat more or less. Say no to food guilt and instead embrace mindful eating.





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