You have to try this Eggplant Eel Unagi! 

I recently shared this fun Eggplant Eel Unagi recipe over on TikTok, and included it in a YouTube video sharing everything I ate in a week. It was a fun, experimental meal I cooked up in my little Amsterdam Airbnb and it was surprisingly easy and successful. You really only need 4 ingredients to make this tender, faux eel smothered in a delicious unagi sauce. In my opinion, unagi is all about the sauce, which is actually very easy to make both vegan and gluten free. Eggplant is both meaty and soft enough to serve as the perfect faux eel so when paired together, you get a very realistic experience. 

Eggplant Eel Unagi Sushi

You can enjoy this Eggplant Eel Unagi over rice, donburi style (Japanese rice bowl), or chop into small pieces to create nigiri (sushi pieces). If you’re not a fan of eggplant, you can also just make the sauce and enjoy it with… well everything! It’s absolutely delicious, trust me. The best thing about this recipe is that you are guaranteed to save some money. Just think about it. Eggplant versus eel. Yup! This recipe is vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and oil free.

What’s in this Eggplant Eel Unagi?

  • Eggplant: The base of our recipe today! It’s easy to find and is excellent in texture once baked.
  • Gluten free soy sauce or tamari: This is a key ingredient to making unagi sauce, and to make it gluten free, I use gluten free soy sauce or tamari. You can also use liquid aminos.
  • Coconut sugar or maple syrup: To sweeten and help thicken the sauce, I opted for coconut sugar, but you can also use agave or maple syrup.
  • Mirin: To finish the sauce, a little bit of mirin.

You’ll also need salt to prepare your eggplant, and you can garnish with sesame seeds, green onions or toppings of choice.

Secrets to success

When baking your eggplant, I highly recommend lining your baking tray with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper to make cleanup easier. It will also help to avoid sticking to the baking dish, so you can preserve your large slices of eggplant and avoid tears.

It may be a little bit time consuming, but I highly recommend salting the eggplant before baking in order to tenderize and remove a little bit of bitterness.

If you like this recipe, try…

If you try this recipe out, tag me on Instagram @veggiekins so I can see your delicious re-creations and feature them! As always, I love when you share your reviews in the comments below, and if you make any fun substitutions, let me know how it worked out below too.

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Eggplant Eel Unagi Sushi

Eggplant “Eel” Unagi (vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, oil free)

  • Author: Remy
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 2-3 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


5 ingredient Eggplant “Eel” Unagi, a great alternative to conventional eel with all of the flavour you love! This easy recipe is vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and oil free.



Unagi Sauce

Other ingredients

  • 12 large eggplants
  • salt


  • Begin by preparing your eggplant. Cut lengthwise into 1/4″ slices and place into a colander.
  • Generously sprinkle salt over both sides of each eggplant slice, and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes, then rinse and dry with a kitchen towel.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F while you prepare your sauce.
  • To make sauce, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir intermittently and allow to cook down and reduce until glossy and thickened.
  • Once sauce is prepared, coat each eggplant slice with sauce on both sides and lay flat onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, flip and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Coat with additional sauce once removed from the oven.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: main dishes
  • Method: baking, boiling

Keywords: japanese, vegan, eggplant, sushi, sauce, gluten free, refined sugar free, oil free

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Filed under: Eat, Gluten Free, Main Dishes, Oil Free, Sauces and Dressings

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BY Remy • September 21, 2020

Eggplant “Eel” Unagi (vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, oil free)

Eggplant Eel Unagi Sushi

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  1. Nicole says:
    So delicious!! Made a vegan sushi bowl and was so good. Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

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Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.

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COPYRIGHT © 2020 Veggiekins   ☼   Website by Sunday Stories