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Vegan Cooking With An Air Fryer

What if we said that you could easily create delicious, vegan, healthy, fried food in your own kitchen? You probably would think we were lying. 

Enter the air fryer. 

Anything you used to put on a baking sheet in the oven – air fry it. 

Frozen sweet potato fries? Throw em in. 

Potato wedges? Knock yourself out. 

Gardein crispy tenders? It will honestly scare you how good they taste. 

Gardein meatballs? Yes, seriously, the meatballs. We barely got them in the pasta. 

Tofu? You will never have to order deep fried tofu again in your life – and you won’t want to…ever. 

Game. Changer. 

Anything you want air fried is going to come out crispy and delicious, and will be actually healthy. And unlike the perils of a deep fryer, it’s SO easy to use. 

After this, you might as well just unplug your oven. 

The Air Fryer is a Convenient Way to Eat Healthier

With disturbing marketing images of whole chickens in the fry basket, air fryers aren’t necessarily marketed as a vegan cooking tool. But, their primary function of making hot crispy food without soaking in oil are absolutely part of eating healthier. Vegan or not, that’s a win. It is also a more energy efficient and convenient choice than firing up the oven for the four crispy tenders you want as a snack. 

What Took Us So Long?

We have been eyeing all the Instagram stories of yummy treats made with air fryers for a while, but we never really went for it until recently. Why? We’ve recently had limited kitchen space and figured we really did have plenty of appliances. But then all of a sudden, we stumbled on a really great deal for an air fryer* and knew it was time to test it out for you! 

(*this link, by the way, is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click it, and get a great deal on an air fryer, we get a few pennies and it costs you nothing extra.)

Air Fryers are Simple

Cooking basket inside the air fryer drawer

Cooking basket inside the air fryer drawer

Once it arrived and we got it out of the box, we were actually a bit surprised by its simplicity. After all, the air fryer is just an appliance with a large drawer that holds a removable basket inside. Thats it!

How does it work? Its really simple: an inner basket holds your food and sits inside a drawer that allows hot air to circulate around and between whatever you have in the basket. We are not making this up, it is really that simple. 

Air Fryers are Hot

One thing to remember about these devices is that they are hot! It’s essentially like a big giant hairdryer going continuously on your countertop for 20 minutes. So, you’ve been warned if you feel like munching on fried food in the summer. Because we live in Florida, we keep it out on the screen porch so it just makes the outside hotter, rather than our kitchen. 

Air Fryers are EASY

We really weren’t joking before. Cooking food in the air fryer could not be easier. You prepare your food as if you were going to place it in the oven or a fryer, pre-heat the air fryer at your desired temperature, drop the food into the basket, close the drawer, and let it go! Then, check the cooking progress after 5 minutes or so and give it a toss.

4 Tips for cooking with an Air Fryer

  1. Forget the timer. Seriously, our’s came with a little booklet that included suggestions for time and temperature. Whatever. We tossed it. No need to worry about danger of eating anything uncooked – just check every five minutes or so and see how its going.
  2. Don’t overfill the basket. This is important. When we saw how easy it was to make a batch of gloriously crispy potato wedges we went a little… overboard. If you fill the basket too full you can’t toss, or turn the food. Plus, the air doesn’t get all around and through so some stuff cooks,   some burns, some is undercooked. No fun. So, basically our only con is that instead of stuffing your face in one go, you may have to split it into two batches.
  3. Experiment with temperature. Everything is different and its worth the tweaking. That said, we have just put it on High (400F) and everything is just fine.
  4. Don’t be afraid to try things. We found ourselves asking each other “what do you think this will be like in the air fryer?” So far the answer has been: “awesome”. So, if you are wondering, just toss it in and try it!

So far, after having it for just a short time we have cooked the following: Gardein Crispy Tenders (which were amazing!), potato wedges (lots of these), fries – both hand-cut and from frozen, Gardein vegan Meatballs, tofu satay on skewers, the tofu for General Tso’s Tofu, straight up plain tofu blocks to add   to a stir fry, and literally anything else we could possibly think of air frying. 

The Takeaway

Moral of the story? Cooking with an Air fryer is worth the investment. It will help you make the perfect trifecta of food: vegan, healthy, and delicious. 

Do you have any ideas for food you want to see us air fry? Have any questions about times and temperatures? Leave a comment below!

Full of Beans

Husband and wife, father and mother, working adults – Greg and Georgia formed Full of Beans to share encouragement, inspiration, and tips to get you started on, and maintain, a plant-based vegan diet (even if you think you don't have the time/money/skills/energy). See the About page for more.

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