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Panko-Crusted Eggplant Fries with Curried Cashew Aioli

Panko-Crusted Baked Eggplant Fries with Curried Cashew Aioli

Panko-Crusted Baked Eggplant Fries with Curried Cashew AioliThis vegan Panko-Crusted Eggplant Fries recipe uses ground flax instead of egg. Serve these fried with Curried Cashew Aioli for dipping!

Miraculous Flax Eggs

Can we talk about the miracle of flax eggs? You might not be able to whip them into an omelet or use them in a quiche, but I’ve been experimenting with them a lot in vegan baking lately and they work really well. Better than I expected, even. I rarely have eggs on hand because we just don’t eat them very often, so now when I bake something, I usually make it vegan by substituting ground flax and water for the eggs, almond or coconut milk for the dairy milk, and coconut oil for the butter. Unlike traditional baking ingredients, which I’d have to add to my shopping list, these are all things that I always have on hand nearly all the time—which I guess might be a bad thing because the fact that I have these things on hand all the time is encouraging me to bake more.

Ground Flax Seeds
So how does flax work as an egg substitute? It’s magic! Okay, I’m lying, it’s not magic. I don’t really know exactly how it works. But when you whisk ground flax seeds with water and let the mixture sit for a few minutes, it gels up and feels a little bit eggy. It’s not quite as strong when it comes to binding ingredients together, and it can’t be substituted for eggs in every recipe (like the aforementioned omelets), but it’s a nice, natural way to replace eggs in a lot of different dishes.

About the Recipe

Having tackled using flax eggs in baking, I wanted to see how they would work to bind panko to baked eggplant fries. I was worried it would be a massive failure, but overjoyed when it actually worked. It worked! And it worked well! These vegan Panko-Crusted Eggplant Fries are crispy and delicious on the outside and tender on the inside. I used baby eggplant because I find smaller eggplants to be less bitter, so I can cut out the step of salting them. Older eggplant can be bitter too, so buy local if you can because it’s spent less time traveling to your grocery store.

Panko-Crusted Baked Eggplant Fries with Curried Cashew Aioli
It would be a travesty to serve delicious, crispy eggplant fries without a sauce, so I whipped up a Curried Cashew Aioli for dipping. It’s kind of the same idea of my Cashew Mayo recipe, except with a heaping teaspoon of sweet curry powder added to it. If you don’t want to bother with the dipping sauce, jarred marinara sauce works too.

Panko-Crusted Baked Eggplant Fries with Curried Cashew Aioli

Panko-Crusted Eggplant Fries with Curried Cashew Aioli

Crispy vegan baked eggplant fries served with Curried Cashew Aioli.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


Panko-Crusted Eggplant Fries

Curried Cashew Aioli

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked in water for 4 hours and drained
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp sweet curry powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


Panko-Crusted Eggplant Fries

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a large baking sheet with oil or cooking spray.
  • Whisk together the warm water and flax seeds in a shallow bowl; set aside.
  • Cut the ends off of each eggplant, then cut them into thirds lengthwise. Cut each third into fries. (Mine are about 1/2-inch thick.)
  • Stir a healthy pinch of salt and cayenne into the flax mixture. Place the panko crumbs on a plate, then roll each eggplant fry in the flax mixture, followed by the panko crumbs. Transfer the finished fries to the prepared baking sheet and spray the tops with additional oil.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the fries are tender and golden brown on the outside.
  • Serve with Curried Cashew Aioli.

Curried Cashew Aioli

  • Place the cashews, water, lemon juice, garlic, and curry powder in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, then season to taste with salt and pepper.


I don't like wasting breadcrumbs, so one cup of panko is the exact amount I used for this recipe—you might need a little bit more, depending on the size of your eggplant. If the flax mixture dries up, add another tablespoon of warm water, give it a good whisking, and let it sit for a minute or two until it gels up again.
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This post was originally published on 22 August 2013.

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  • Reply
    August 24, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Eggplant is my favorite vegetable and am constantly looking for new ways of cooking it. This looks absolutely delicious!!!

    • Reply
      August 25, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      Not many people say eggplant is their favorite vegetable! 🙂 I really like it too–it’s definitely under-rated!

  • Reply
    Kelly @ A Girl Worth Saving
    August 26, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    These look delicious. I’m going to have to sub the breading but at least I won’t have to share, lol. The hubs is as anti-eggplant as they get (unless it’s Baba Ganoush).

    • Reply
      August 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      I saw some GF pinners mention subbing almond flour or coconut flakes. I know almond flour wouldn’t work for you, but maybe coconut flakes?

  • Reply
    Daniel Moura
    August 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Great recipe! Im going to do at the year’s end party! Gotta love eggplants!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    This is so helpful to know! I’ve wondered about vegan substitutes for things like zucchini fries or other breaded veggies…I tried almond milk with breadcrumbs once and it didn’t work very well, so now that I know flax works, I’ll have to try that next time! I like the idea of pairing these fries with a curried cashew dip too for something different!

    • Reply
      August 28, 2013 at 8:11 pm

      Yeah, I tried almond milk once too–it was for baked onion rings and when I took them out of the oven, the breading had slid down to the bottom of each ring. I think you need something stickier and flax definitely does the trick. 🙂

  • Reply
    Robin Gagnon
    August 30, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Dang these look good! I am getting a small Japanese eggplant crop. (along with the carrots and a few lame still green tomatoes…lol)

    • Reply
      August 30, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      Ooh, Japanese eggplant would be perfect for fries!

  • Reply
    September 2, 2013 at 6:06 am

    You can’t beat panko for extra crunch. Love this Japanese inspired snacku

  • Reply
    December 29, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    SO glad I stumbled upon your site! I am a vegan & love finding new veggie-based blogs. Can’t wait to try this eggplant panko recipe in particular!! 🙂


  • Reply
    Santa Rodriguez
    May 1, 2014 at 12:31 am

    have always wnted to taste eggplant and this recipe sounds delicious

  • Reply
    Deryn @ Running on Real Food
    September 12, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    While I’ve got the eggplant out for my sandwich, I might as well make these too! Mmm! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    January 25, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Sounds delicious! Can’t wait to try these. I really, really wish you would include nutritional info with the recipes. I can rarely cook things for my family without the nutritional info due to health issues.

  • Reply
    Lauren Vaught
    August 10, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Oh yes! I just made these tonight from my farmer’s market haul over the weekend that included a big, beautiful eggplant. I needed to use more flax covering and panko (to which I added crushed cereal). These were beyond delicious and the aioli is perfect! Wish I could include my own photos. Thank you for your amazing recipes.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      August 10, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! I think I’m getting some eggplant in my CSA box this week, so I need to make this one again too. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 5, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    these came out fantastic and were so easy to make! the recipe was also very simple compared to many others i found, adding to the likelihood that these will become a staple in my kitchen. thank you!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2020 at 8:10 am

    This is good if you eat it with chili sauce

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