Crispy Vegan Panko Aubergine with Marinara Sauce

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Crispy Vegan Panko Aubergine with Marinara Sauce

Use up your leftover aubergine to create this deliciously easy crispy vegan panko aubergine recipe. Paired with a rich marinara sauce, this is one tasty dinner that is quick and easy to make.

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This crispy vegan aubergine recipe is perfect if you’re looking for a vegetable-based meal with a more ‘high end’ feel.

For those who aren’t into meat alternatives and prefer a more organic veg dish, this one’s for you. The aubergine gives this dish a comforting taste and is great at absorbing the flavours of anything it’s seasoned with.

Why use aubergine?

Aubergine has a slight sweetness and when cooked, has a spongy flesh inside. It makes a great alternative to meat in vegetarian and vegan dishes.

People often struggle to prepare aubergine correctly, so it ends up rubbery instead of tender.

In the following recipe, the breadcrumbed aubergine is fried in oil. Using a generous amount of oil is essential to the outcome of the aubergine. Its sponge-like texture means it soaks up any liquid very quickly so be generous when it comes to frying it in the oil so it cooks well.

Make sure you stick to at least the 2 tablespoons of oil the recipe calls for, you can always add more as you go if it needs it.

What’s marinara sauce?

Marinara sauce is a rich tomato-based sauce.

It’s lighter than your average pasta sauce and is naturally sweet due to the tomatoes but flavoursome thanks to the addition of garlic and mixed herb seasoning.

It’s often used as a pasta base but is also brilliant as a dipping ace for savoury bites, like these crispy aubergine pieces.

Is batter vegan?

Traditionally, batter combines egg and dairy milk with flour.

In the recipe below, we recommend using a plant-based milk with chickpea (gram) flour as a vegan alternative. Gram flour is often used as a thickening agent, so creates a more stable structure for the batter than plain flour would.

The best milks for making a good batter are almond, soy or oat milk. All three milks have the closest resemblance to cow’s milk due to their similar textures, so they are perfect for replicating dairy batter.

If you’d prefer not to use milk at all, you can use water instead. Generally, though, milk makes the texture stronger and the batter will be more dense, coating the aubergine pieces better than a water-flour batter would.

Total Time: 40 minutes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Calories: 522

Servings: 2


Total Time: 40 minutes

Calories: 522

Servings: 2




(Servings: 2)

  • For the crispy aubergine
  • 0.5 0.5 whole aubergine, sliced
  • 45 45 g chickpea (gram) flour
  • 37.5 37.5 g panko breadcrumbs
  • 120 120 ml plant-based milk
  • 120 120 ml vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • For the marinara sauce
  • 1 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 0.5 0.5 tbsp tomato purée
  • 0.5 0.5 large onion, chopped
  • 0.5 0.5 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 0.5 0.5 tsp mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. To make the marinara sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and fry the onions and garlic until soft.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and mixed herbs. Cook until the sauce starts to thicken. Season to taste.
  3. Set the sauce aside ready to prepare the panko-coated aubergine.
  4. To make the panko aubergine, whisk the gram flour and milk or water in a bowl to form a smooth batter. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Put the panko breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Dip the sliced aubergine into the gram flour batter, then dip into the panko breadcrumbs.
  7. Fry the aubergine slices in the vegetable oil on each side until both sides are golden brown.
  8. Serve with the marinara sauce, and enjoy!

Each 616g serving provides:

17g Fat, 1.5g Saturates, 16g Sugars, 3.3g Salt.


Are you ready to feel the heat? Discover these simple and easy vegan air fryer recipes for speedy meals!

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Vegan Food & Living

Vegan Food & Living is a magazine dedicated to celebrating the vegan lifestyle. Every issue is packed with 75 tasty recipes, plus informative features.

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