15 Best Oil-Free Vegan Air Fryer Recipes You Need to Try
Make these 15 vegan recipes using an air fryer. | From My Bowl
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(Updated January 30, 2020) Want to trial a healthier cooking regime, expand your cooking knowledge, or just try something new in the kitchen? consider investing in an air-fryer and giving these nine vegan recipes a whirl.

What is An Air-Fryer?

An air-fryer can be used to make fried foods without the use of much oil. It works by circulating hot air around the food, giving it that crunchy, crispy fried texture. Only a tablespoon of oil is needed, a significantly smaller amount than a deep fat fryer, which completely submerges foods in oil.

According to dietician Rachael Link, MS, RD, this also results in a “chemical reaction known as the Maillard effect.” She writes for Healthline“[It] occurs between an amino acid and reducing sugar in the presence of heat. It leads to alterations in the color and flavor of foods.”

vegan air fryer recipes
Air-frying is a healthier alternative to deep-frying. 

Does an Air-Fryer Cut Fat Content From Food?

Oil-free food has a lower fat percentage, generally, than other foods. Due to its lower oil content, air-fried foods can contain up to 75 percent less fat than deep-fried foods.

“Deep fryers use up to 50 times more oil than air fryers,” says Link. “While not all of that oil is absorbed by the food, using an air fryer can significantly cut down on the overall fat content of your food.”

Fat on a Vegan Diet

While a whole-food-based vegan diet is naturally low in fat, some more processed foods, like potato chips or French fries, have a higher content. Some fats are healthy, but saturated fats, commonly found in fried foods, can raise cholesterol levels, contributing to a higher risk of heart disease or stroke.

Basically, vegan or not, excessive amounts of deep-fried foods are unhealthy. Lisa Sasson—a clinical assistant professor of nutrition in the NYU Department of Nutrition and Food Studies—told WebMD, “eating [deep] fried foods is not a healthy choice. Fried foods add a lot of calories to food and don’t offer healthy nutrients.”

She added, “moderation and variety with any food is the key to healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. It’s habitual consumption that could get you into trouble.”

If you choose to make fried foods at home, don’t reuse oil if you’re using a deep fat fryer. “Oils break down with each frying,” says WebMD. “[This] changes their composition and causes more oil to be absorbed into the food.” Alternatively, you could use an air-fryer.

vegan air fryer recipes
Deep frying food causes fat content to go up.

Is Cooking With An Air-Fryer Healthy?

Cooking with an air-fryer doesn’t just decrease the fat content, it also lowers the acrylamide content in your food. A compound, acrylamide is a “possible carcinogen” that forms during high heat cooking methods, like deep frying. Air frying, however, reduces acrylamide by 90 percent in comparison with deep frying.

However, air frying isn’t completely risk-free. Just like other high heat cooking methods, other potentially carcinogenic compounds, like aldehydes, heterocyclic amines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, can form when air frying.

On the whole, however, Link says air frying is the best choice when it comes to fried foods. “They are lower in fat, calories and even some potentially harmful compounds found in traditionally fried foods,” she says. “If you’re looking to lose weight or lower your fat intake without modifying or cutting down on fried foods, switching to an air fryer may be a good choice.”

Want to give air frying a go? Try one (or more) of these 15 vegan recipes.

15 Oil-Free Vegan Recipes to Make in an Air-Fryer


 

vegan air fryer recipes
Air fry these pasta chips for 10 minutes. | Healthy Slow Cooking

1. Bow Tie Pasta Chips

To make these crunchy pasta chips, simply cook the pasta, drain, season, and air fry for 10 minutes. The result is a unique and super tasty snack, great for sharing in front of a film or putting out for guests at a party.

Get the recipe here.

vegan air fryer recipes
Sweet potato fries are easy to make in the air fryer. | Kalyn’s Kitchen

2. Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

These crowd-pleasing spicy sweet potato fries are quick and easy to make. For a little extra kick, serve with some spicy vegan sriracha sauce.

Get the recipe here.

vegan air fryer recipes
Serve vegan baked apples with sugar and ice cream. | Skip the Salt

3. Stuffed Baked Apples

Got a sweet tooth? Once air-fried, serve these stuffed baked apples with cinnamon, sugar, and a little bit of your favorite dairy-free ice cream.

Get the recipe here.

vegan air fryer recipes
Ditch burgers for cauliflower steaks. | Olives for Dinner

4. Buffalo Cauliflower Steaks

Tired of normal burgers? Try something a little different with these air-fried buffalo cauliflower steaks. They’re so crispy and satisfying, even your meat-loving friends will gobble them up.

Get the recipe here.

Kale chips are quick, easy, and healthy. | Glue and Glitter

5. Ranch Kale Chips

Fancy something a little different than your usual potato chip snack? Try these kale chips. They’re healthy, easy to make, and they only take 10 minutes to make.

Get the recipe here.

vegan air fryer recipes
These vegan stuffed potatoes are the ideal comfort food. | Healthy Slow Cooking

6. Twice Air-Fried Vegan Stuffed Potatoes

These vegan cheesy stuffed potatoes are hearty and delicious. The perfect comfort food. As recipe creator Kathy Hester says, “the only thing better than a baked potato is a baked potato filled with a cheesy mash and baked again.”

Get the recipe here.

vegan air fryer recipes
Ditch the takeout menu and make Chinese-inspired food at home. | Elle Talk

7. Wontons

Instead of ordering takeout Chinese food, try making your own version at home, like these veggie wontons. They’re “crunchy, spicy, and packed full of vegetable goodness.”

Get the recipe here.

These creamy avocado fries are easy to make. | Glue and Glitter

8. Avocado Fries

These avocado fries are creamy on the inside yet crisp and bready on the outside. All you need is an air-fryer, a spare 20 minutes, and three ingredients.

Get the recipe here.

vegan air fryer recipes
Chickpeas are high in protein. | One Arab Vegan

9. Garlic and Herb Roasted Chickpeas

These protein-packed garlic and herb-roasted crispy chickpeas are perfect for snacking on-the-go.

Get the recipe here.

vegan air fryer recipes
This air-fried Italian tofu is chewy and crispy. | Fat Free Vegan

10. Air Fried Italian Tofu

According to Fat Free Vegan, this Italian tofu is ideal for filling up a wrap. The air-fryer makes it “chewy and slightly crispy.” You could also to a salad or pasta dish, whatever takes your fancy.

Get the recipe here.

vegan air fryer recipes
These air-fried onion rings are crispy without the need for oil. | From My Bowl

11. Healthy Vegan Onion Rings

Craving onion rings but don’t fancy the grease? This air-fried version is perfectly crispy and satisfying, without the added oil.

Get the recipe here.

vegan air fryer recipes
Add vegan parmesan and mozzarella to air-fried eggplant. | The Veg Life

12. Vegan Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan

If you’re in the mood to experiment with different recipes, this vegan eggplant parmesan dish is a good place to start. Serve with vegan mozzarella and marinara sauce for a really indulgent appetizer.

Get the recipe here.

Use tofu to make these vegan omelets. | Vegan Dollhouse

13. Vegan Air Fryer Omelets

Want to jazz up your breakfast? Try making these tofu-based vegan omelets in the air fryer. Heart shapes optional.

Get the recipe here.

vegan air fryer recipes
Try this sugar-free vegan French toast. | Veg Annie

14. Air Fryer Vegan French Toast

Omelets aren’t your thing? Maybe this air-fried French toast is. It takes only 20 minutes to prepare, and it’s gluten-free, sugar-free, and super tasty.

Get the recipe here.

vegan air fryer recipes
Try this vegan seitan instead of meat. | Very Vegan Val

15. BBQ-Braised Vegan Seitan

In the mood for something meaty? This BBQ-braised air-fried seitan is sure to satisfy that craving. “There’s no reason being vegan should mean you can’t get all the flavors and textures you love in food,” says Very Vegan Val. “Vegan BBQ here we come!”

Get the recipe here.