labor day recipes by gina homolka of skinnytaste

as this weekend marks the unofficial end to the summer season, we’re bringing you a few highly recommended labor day & back-to-school recipes from one of our most cherished cookbook authors and recipe developers, the brilliant gina homolka of, who we are honored to call a friend and kai devotee! gina is the author of 5 bestselling cookbooks with over one million copies sold in the u.s. and a new cookbook coming soon. gina’s food philosophy is to eat seasonal, whole foods and maintain good portion control (everything in moderation!). 

gina’s work has been featured as a #1 new york times best seller, wall street journal, and usa today bestseller; she’s been named an iacp award finalist and james beard finalist. not only is gina an extraordinarily well-accomplished female entrepreneur, she is also a wonderful human! in her personal life, she is known to be an amazing, busy mom of two girls who resides on long island, ny with her husband and children.

her newest cookbook, skinnytaste air fryer dinners, celebrates the use of the incredibly versatile air fryer - which results in the crispiest, crunchiest foods with juiciness still locked in, thanks to hot air convection cooking. please enjoy these delightful recipes, and we encourage you to follow gina of skinnytaste for ongoing cooking inspiration!

 bon appetit and happy labor day!


eggplant fries

serves 4

i can vividly remember the day when karina, my oldest daughter who was such a picky eater as a kid, told me she liked eggplant. eggplant? really?! she was eating dinner at a friend’s house, and they served fried breaded eggplant for dinner. she loved it. kids are always more willing to try new foods when they are eating away from home, right? i was so excited about this new vegetable she was eating that i made her these breaded eggplant fries at least once a month! this is one of the easiest, tastiest ways to eat eggplant as a side dish, snack, or appetizer.

12 ounces eggplant (about 1 medium)

1 teaspoon extravirgin olive oil

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons italian seasoned bread crumbs, wheat or gluten-free

2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 large eggs

olive oil spray

marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade), warmed, for dipping (optional)


cut the eggplant into 24 sticks, 4 to 5 inches long and 1⁄2 inch thick. place the sticks in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.

in a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and parmesan. in another shallow bowl, beat the eggs.

spritz the air fryer basket with oil. working with a few pieces of eggplant at a time, dip the eggplant into the egg, then into the bread crumb mixture.

use a fork to remove the eggplant from the bread crumb mixture and place the eggplant in the air fryer basket in a single layer. spritz the strips with oil. cook at 350°f until the eggplant is golden and crisp, about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.

serve the eggplant with marinara sauce for dipping, if desired.

veggie french bread pizzas

serves 4

i created this recipe with the kiddos in mind, but to be honest, what adult wouldn’t want this delicious french bread pizza? growing up, french bread pizzas were a staple in our home. my mom always had a few boxes of stouffer’s stashed away in the freezer, and after school if we had friends over, we would pop them in the toaster oven and patiently wait for them to heat up. making these from scratch is quicker and so much healthier because you can control the ingredients you’re using. they take less than 5 minutes to cook in the air fryer and you can top them with whatever pizza toppings you love: mushrooms, pepperoni, sausage, and more.

8 ounces whole wheat

french or italian bread

1 cup marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)

1⁄3 cup sliced red onion

1⁄3 cup diced green bell pepper

1⁄3 cup finely chopped steamed broccoli florets (or thawed frozen)

1 cup shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese (4 ounces), such as polly-o, or mozzarellastyle nondairy cheese

1⁄4 cup freshly grated

parmesan cheese (or nondairy; see skinny scoop)


cut the bread in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into 2 pieces to give you 4 pieces total.

spread 1⁄4 cup of the marinara sauce on each piece. distribute the onion, pepper, and broccoli evenly among the tops of the bread, then sprinkle with the mozzarella and parmesan.

working in batches if needed, place the pizzas in the air fryer basket in a single layer. cook at 370°f until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the bread is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.

serve immediately.

skinny scoop: i’ve tested many brands of nondairy cheese and really love the taste of violife mozzarella-style cheese. if you don’t eat dairy, you can omit the parmesan and use a total of 11⁄4 cups vegan cheese.

credit line

“reprinted from skinnytaste air fryer dinners. copyright © 2021 gina homolka. photographs copyright © 2021 aubrie pick. published by clarkson potter, an imprint of random house.”

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