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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.

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Panko-Crusted Eggplant Fries with Curried Cashew Aioli

Panko-Crusted Baked 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
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

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

Instructions

Panko-Crusted Eggplant Fries

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a large baking sheet with oil or cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together the warm water and flax seeds in a shallow bowl; set aside.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the fries are tender and golden brown on the outside.
  6. Serve with Curried Cashew Aioli.

Curried Cashew Aioli

  1. 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.

Notes

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.

This post was originally published on 22 August 2013.

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57 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    August 22, 2013 at 8:53 am

    I really need to get into this whole flax egg business – I’ve seen them used a lot in baking recipes but I love the idea of using them for savoury recipes like this too.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 22, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      It’s really convenient when you don’t have eggs on hand! Which is almost all the time for me.

  • Reply
    cassie
    August 22, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I love using flax (and chia) for egg replacement in baking. So brilliant for these fries too. The cashew aioli has me drooling too. Such great flavors!

  • Reply
    Archana @ FeedingTheFoodie
    August 22, 2013 at 9:32 am

    I had no idea you could use Flax seeds as an egg replacement – this opens up a whole new world of possibilities – because I dont like coating things in eggs and then breading them.Brilliant!! thank you so much for the tip.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 22, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      I found that using the flax + water mixture was much neater than when I use egg too–the breading didn’t stick to my fingers or get clumpy.

  • Reply
    Anele @ Success Along the Weigh
    August 22, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I have making something with a flax egg on my culinary to do list. Thanks for bringing it back to the forefront! 🙂

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 22, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      Try it! It works! 😀

  • Reply
    dixya| food, pleasure, and health
    August 22, 2013 at 9:43 am

    i have only tried them in baking muffins and bread but its nice to know it works in these fries too. thanks for sharing. curry aioli is totally divine.

  • Reply
    Jennie @themessybakerblog
    August 22, 2013 at 11:19 am

    What a brilliant idea. I just learned something new. These eggplant fries look down right tasty.

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    August 22, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Messed up my earlier comment– I roasted a diced eggplant last night and planned on saving half for today…but of course I ate the whole thing in one sitting. I forgot how much I love eggplant! I wish I had seen this post earlier…that cashew dipping sauce looks unreal!!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      No worries, I deleted it for you. 🙂 Isn’t eggplant super super low in calories? There are worse things you could eat in one sitting!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 22, 2013 at 11:51 am

    My husband mentioned again the other day that he’s not the biggest fan of eggplant, and I sighed and reminded him how amazing it is grilled with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. But this! This recipe sounds wonderful! We love fries! And so cool that you were successful with flax eggs!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Yeah, eggplant just does not get a lot of love, does it? I think it’s really tasty!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    August 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    These eggplant fries look so crisp and beautiful.

  • Reply
    Davida @ The Healthy Maven
    August 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    yum!!! I made a very similar recipe using asparagus and it was delish! Must try it with eggplant. You should link up to Amy @ Long Drive Journey’s Veggie of the Month club. This month it’s eggplant and the link-up opened today 🙂

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    August 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    oh yummy! i love this idea! flax eggs are my favorite egg replacer, too. i just love its gelatinous quality. it IS like magic!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 22, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      I’ve heard chia seeds work too–have you tried that? I keep meaning to, but I’m too lazy to grind them up. My flax seeds are pre-ground! So flax wins.

  • Reply
    Salixisme
    August 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    omg this sounds seriously good!

    I can’t use the panko (gluten issues), but I bet I could sub in some coconut in place of it! Making these to go with the burgers tonight!

  • Reply
    Ash-foodfashionparty
    August 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    These fries look really healthy and love the panko coating.

  • Reply
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist
    August 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    oh my word. I NEED THESE! I love cripsy eggplant fries.

  • Reply
    Christine @ Gotta Eat Green
    August 22, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Another amazing looking recipe. The aioli sounds amazing..so simple yet it looks so good!

  • Reply
    Robyn B | Modern Day Missus
    August 22, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Yes, I love flax as a substitute – so much better than eggs! Had never thought to use it for crumbing though – good news. 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    August 22, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I love eggplant and that aioli sounds so good!

  • Reply
    ashley - Baker by Nature
    August 23, 2013 at 12:13 am

    I just want to move into that first picture and nibble on eggplant fries all day everyday.

  • Reply
    Julia
    August 23, 2013 at 12:40 am

    I’ve always wondered about the magical transformation of flax and water into an egg replacer. SO interesting and cool! These fries look awesome! I love all things eggplant and the curried cashew aioli sounds wonderful! Perfect for a get together with my lady friends.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 24, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      Yeah, I don’t really know how it works, but it does! 🙂

  • Reply
    Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ
    August 23, 2013 at 4:51 am

    Oh gosh I do want to try this cashew aioli… and dip those healthy eggplant fries in it! Great combo.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      Yeah, the aioli is really tasty–my husband ate it with a spoon. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com
    August 23, 2013 at 7:37 am

    You had me drooling at curried cashew aioli. YUM!!

  • Reply
    Grace @ FoodFitnessFreshAir
    August 23, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Ooh, I need to try these flax eggs…interesting! Love the eggplant fries. So much eggplant around lately, and these would be great.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 24, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      I know, our farmers market probably has at least a dozen different varieties right now!

  • Reply
    BusyWorkingMama
    August 23, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Now that is one way that someone might get me to eat an eggplant. I love all fruits and vegetables but for some reason I’ve never much cared for eggplant.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 24, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      I think a lot of people don’t like eggplant! It’s kind of like tofu in that you need to prepare it right and pair it with really flavorful ingredients. 🙂

  • Reply
    Joy //FortheLoveofLeaves
    August 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Yum! These look so good! I always bake with flax eggs, but never thought of using them like this! You’re so smart!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      Who knew, right?! I was pretty surprised that it worked. 🙂

  • Reply
    Natalie @ Once Upon a Cutting Board
    August 24, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    I have the opposite problem – I don’t eat that many eggs either but I’m always buying them so I’m eager to use them up in baking whenever I get the chance! I’ve never experimented with flax eggs before but now I want to try!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 25, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      On the rare occasion that I do buy eggs, they sit in the fridge forever! It’s a good thing they last so long. 🙂

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