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.
Crispy air-fried eggplant meets hearty chickpeas in this vibrant salad. Perfect for meal prep!

You know what’s been stealing the spotlight in our kitchen lately? Eggplant! As a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, I could dive deep into the whole eggplant discussion—its nutrition, health benefits, and even some FAQs. But before we get into that, I have to confess: there’s been a wave of eggplant enthusiasm at home. The kids have fallen for the Indian Eggplant Curry (Brinjal Curry), while Mr. D’s unwavering favourite remains the classic Baingan Bharta. And honestly, I’m not complaining—I’ve got a soft spot for eggplant too!

And that’s why diving into the world of eggplant has been a recent kitchen obsession at our place. When you nail the ‘eggplant in air fryer’ technique, it will transform those simple pieces into irresistible, charred cubes that boast a crispy exterior and a melt-in-your-mouth inner center.

Now, imagine this flavour powerhouse joining forces in a salad—smoky notes from the eggplant mingle with the freshness of parsley, onion, cucumber, and tomatoes. Then, the chickpeas bring their hearty touch, while the avocado adds creamy richness and those essential healthy fats. And it’s all bundled together with tart lemon and tangy sumac.

Ingredients

Today’s healthy Asian eggplant recipe takes a different route—no breading, batter or frying involved. It’s all about a drizzle of avocado oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a touch of turmeric for that delightful kick of flavour to create an anti inflammatory recipe.

Here’s the twist—I’ve found that cutting the raw eggplant into small cubes, rather than slices, works like a charm in the air fryer. The result? Crispy eggplant cubes with a beautiful char that’s hard to resist. I’ll admit, more than a few find their way from the air fryer straight into my mouth—they’re just that tempting!

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: I go for Asian eggplant in this recipe—it’s that long, slender type.
  • Oil: Think avocado oil or even olive oil with a high smoke point. A good old cooking spray works too!
  • Salt: Does two jobs here: pulls out moisture from the eggplant and seasons it up.
  • Turmeric: This spice? Adds a lovely colour and a pop of flavour. Paprika or smoked paprika could rock it too.
  • Chickpeas: Canned is convenient, just rinse them well to avoid extra moisture. Or go DIY with dry chickpeas.
  • Parsley: Freshness booster! If you’re not into parsley, cilantro or mint could do the trick.
  • Onion: I’m all about the red onion vibe here, but it’s totally okay to skip it if onions aren’t your thing.
  • Cucumber: Crunch master! I swear by English cucumbers—they bring the perfect crunch factor.
  • Tomatoes: Firm and sweet grape or cherry tomatoes steal the show without going all mushy.
  • Lemon: A splash of lemon juice controls the oil and salt—lime or orange juice could work too.
  • Sumac: You’ve got to try this—adds a zesty citrus kick. Check out your local or Persian shop to grab some. It’s the secret sauce for this salad’s vibe!

Tip for the beginner cook

Truth be told, the real effort lies in the chopping, dicing, and slicing of the salad fixings. Here’s a pro tip: tackle all that prep work ahead of time or multitask while the eggplant works its magic in the air fryer. This prep-ahead strategy makes assembling the salad a breeze, with everything prepped and ready to go.

Instructions

Now, let’s get started on crafting that irresistible air fryer eggplant and chickpeas salad. For the best results, aim for small, evenly-sized eggplant cubes. I find it helpful to begin by quartering the eggplant lengthwise and then slicing it into neat, small cubes. This way, we ensure even cooking and a delightful texture.

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.

Nutrition highlights

Eggplant is a powerhouse of nutrition:

  • Antioxidant-Rich Support: Eggplant brings a wealth of antioxidants, acting as a shield for your cells.
  • Potential Blood Pressure Aid: It shows the potential to help lower blood pressure levels.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Benefits: Eggplant’s properties lend a hand in combating inflammation.
  • Impact on Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: It plays a noteworthy role in managing diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

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.

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

Food safe storage

While this air fryer eggplant and chickpea salad is delightful when freshly made, it truly shines the following day. The flavours meld and evolve beautifully over time. If you happen to have leftovers, storing them in the fridge in a sealed reusable container keeps it fresh for two to three days. The key is a tightly fitted lid to maintain its deliciousness.

I’d love to hear about your experience with this recipe! Leave a comment, rate the recipe, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram (@DesiliciousRD) when you recreate this delicious breakfast. Share your photos for a chance to be featured!

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Get the Recipe:

Healthy Air Fryer Eggplant And Chickpeas Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
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.

Ingredients
  

  • 3 eggplant, Asian, washed. To prepare the eggplant, cut off the ends and then cube the eggplant into small pieces. I find it easiest to do this by cutting the eggplant in quarters lengthwise and then slicing it into cubes.
  • tsp salt, sea salt
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cucumber, washed, sliced into cubes
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, washed, cut in half lengthways
  • 1 cup parsley, packed cup, washed, finely chopped
  • 4 cups chickpeas, canned, drained and thoroughly washed
  • 2 avocados, cut into medium chunks
  • ½ red onion, large, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, fresh juice
  • 1 tbsp sumac, powder

Equipment

  • 1 air fryer

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

Tips for recipe success

  • Even Cooking: Opting for smaller eggplant cubes ensures uniform cooking.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: Cooking the eggplant in batches allows proper air circulation in the air fryer, ensuring each cube crisps up evenly, delivering a satisfying crunch in every bite.
  • Prep Chickpeas: Draining and rinsing canned chickpeas removes excess starch and moisture to prevent sogginess.
  • Herbaceous Touch: Incorporating fresh herbs like parsley, mint, or cilantro adds not only a pop of colour but also a layer of complexity and freshness to elevate the overall taste profile of your salad.
     
     
     

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 478kcal (24%)Carbohydrates: 57g (19%)Protein: 16g (32%)Fat: 26g (40%)Saturated Fat: 3g (15%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gSodium: 896mg (37%)Potassium: 1346mg (38%)Fiber: 21g (84%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 1653IU (33%)Vitamin C: 58mg (70%)Calcium: 119mg (12%)Iron: 4mg (22%)

Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions, and might fluctuate depending on ingredient variations, portion sizes, and recipe adjustments. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.

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

Cuisine: Mediterranean
Course: Salad, Side
Did you make this recipe?Mention @desiliciousrd on Instagram or tag #desiliciousrd.