Crunchy Cheesy Italian Eggplant Fries (Baked)
Last weekend I made up a batch of these yummy crunchy baked eggplant fries and I spent the week enjoying them for lunches and snacks … I ate them plain, I dipped them in some homemade salsa and also in some garlicky Greek Tzatziki sauce that I made with one of the cucumbers from my friend’s garden … I have yet to try dipping them in marinara, but I am looking forward to that this week since I made myself another batch to munch on! I had them for breakfast this morning … seriously, eggplant fries for breakfast is totally a thing! They are so yummy … juicy and tender on the inside, with a nicely seasoned crunchy, cheesy coating. I could eat them any time of day, morning, noon or night. I love love love these crunchy little fries.
I think these crunchy eggplant fries might even convert the staunchest eggplant haters into (maybe) even eggplant lover status. (Have I told you I used to be an eggplant hater? it was a crunchy cheesy eggplant dish that converted now … I could eat eggplant at every meal … and snack … yes, even breakfast!) … I really wanted to make more eggplant fries, but I ran out of time today after I finished up the first eggplant. It takes a little time and patience to do the dipping, but it’s really quite easy once you get into your rhythm and I tell you, if you are into crunchy little snacks/sides, you will love yourself for doing this. You can refrigerate (or freeze!) the fries and then reheat them in the oven to restore that oh-so-addicting crunchy texture.
For dipping sauces, I would suggest one of the following (click the link for the recipe):
- Tzatziki sauce
- Marinara sauce
- Pizza Sauce
- Ratatouille Pasta Sauce
- Sriracha Ranch Yogurt Dressing
- Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing
You can use the same technique, by the way, to make crunchy eggplant rounds for Eggplant Parmesan. Just slice the eggplant in rounds instead of sticks and you’re on your way to a lovely, crunchy, cheesy Eggplant Parmesan.
- 2 cups whole wheat (or gluten free) breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 cup grated sharp cheese (I used a mix of Gruyere and Asiago, but Parmesan or Romano would also be wonderful)
- 2 teaspoons Red Robin Seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (I used a mix of basil, rosemary & tarragon)
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled & cut into 1/2-inch "sticks"
- Flour (all purpose, whole wheat ... or if you are GF, skip the flour step)
- 3 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil (or other high-temperature cooking oil)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush 2 baking sheets with avocado oil to coat them fully.
- Mix all ingredients for the breadcrumb mixture together in a small mixing bowl.
- Get out two more bowls. Put some flour in one bowl and crack the eggs in the other. Whisk the eggs till they are fluffy.
- Now for the dipping: It helps to designate one hand for "dry" dipping and one for "wet". Dip each eggplant stick in the flour to coat with your dry hand, then use the dry hand to toss it into the eggs and turn to coat with your wet hand, then set the stick in the breadcrumb mixture and, using your dry hand, gently coat them fully with crumbs. Set the coated sticks on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a little space between them, and repeat with the rest of the eggplant sticks. Drizzle the sticks with oil and/or spray with cooking spray.
- Bake at 400 for 15 - 20 minutes or until they are golden brown. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
For a gluten free recipe, use gluten free breadcrumbs or crushed rice chex in place of the whole wheat breadcrumbs.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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