For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved onion rings. As a kid, we’d go to the A&W drive-in for root beer floats and onion rings. Those were the days when you’d order from a parking space and a server would bring out your order on a tray to the car window. Anyone else remember that? It was pure junk food that I don’t care to eat today, but it brings back fond memories of my father taking us out.
Until now I’ve never recreated an onion ring recipe at home. I’ve also never cooked with deep frying (it scares me). When we do order onion rings at restaurants now, my memories of eating them are better than the actual thing. Do you know what I mean? I still love the idea of onion rings, but really don’t care for that greasy, heavy version anymore.
So, I wanted to makeover one of my favorite foods from childhood in a way that I could really enjoy again – and in a way that my family would enjoy too. Not just a vegan onion ring, but a crispy, tasty, vegan onion ring recipe that is actually healthy.
… and by George, I think I got it! The secret to this healthy onion ring recipe comes down to a couple of things. First, presoaking the sliced onions. Since the onion rings are baked, this step helps soften that raw flavor, for a more mellow, sweeter baked onion ring. Second, the magic of aquafaba. Yep, our beloved plant-based diet egg-white sub shines again!
I actually haven’t been been focusing on developing aquafaba recipes per se, but here it just seemed like the perfect fit – and it is. So, don’t skip the soaking – and don’t skip the bean water.
Finally, the extra step of separating the breadcrumbs helps keep these low-fat onion rings crispy. The 3-step coating takes a little bit of patience, but will be well worth it, I promise! Okay, enough talk. Time to eat some good vegan food!
Please let me know what you think of these, guys! x Dreena
(p.s. don’t you think these would be perfect for Father’s Day?)
Crispy Un-fried Onion Rings
1 large or 2 medium onions
1/3 cup chickpea flour
couple pinches sea salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup aquafaba (chickpea brine; the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
1 – 1 1/2 cups fine bread crumbs (of choice, I like panko)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or regular paprika, but smoked much tastier)
First, slice and soak the onions. Slice in rings, and place in a bowl covered with ice-cold water. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Let soak for 1/2 hour. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chickpea flour with the sea salt in a ziploc bag. Put the chickpea brine in a bowl. Finally, combine the breadcrumbs, sea salt, and paprika in a third bowl. Once mixing through, transfer roughly half of this mixture to another bowl. (The onion rings will be coated in three steps – first in the chickpea flour, then the chickpea brine, and finally the breadcrumbs. Separating the breadcrumbs into two batches will help keep them dry so they will adhere to the onion rings. So, work with one bowl of breadcrumbs and then about halfway through the coating process, move on to that second bowl of breadcrumbs.)
Place the soaked/dry onions in the ziploc bag, seal, and shake to coat the rings. Remove, and dip each ring in the chickpea brine (discard any remaining), and next into the breadcrumb mixture. Place rings on the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. After that time, rotate the trays (from bottom to top), flip the rings, and bake another 10-15 minutes until golden and crispy! Serve.
photo thanks to Marika Collins
Like this recipe? You might also enjoy…