We cannot deny the fact that air fryers are fantastic. They give crispy, ready dishes in a matter of a few minutes. You also get half the fat and calories than you would if you went with the traditional cooking methods or ordered food in your local restaurant while not compromising on the taste. Besides, you can always shake up your cooking by adding some out-of-the-box ingredients along with spices and herbs. As a vegan, you have hundreds of tasty, healthy dishes that you can prepare on the go and enjoy a combination of amazing texture and taste. This article looks at some popular air fryer dishes and advice on different air fryer sand how to get it going!
Tofu with Air Fryers
Does that crispy tofu make your mouth water? You can now prepare some at home with your air fryer. They cook fast and have low-fat content. Tofu is an excellent addition to your stew, wraps, and salads. You can also take it as a snack to calm your midday hunger pang before you have lunch. Preparing it is quite fast and easy and should be ready in less than twenty minutes. It tastes like it is straight out of the deep fryer without the ridiculous amount of fat involved in deep-frying.
Tips for Making Best Air Fryer Tofu
Where possible, go for firm tofu. Super firm tofu is also high in proteins. It gives better results on air fryer than the less secure options. If you do not get super firm one, be sure to squeeze as much moisture as possible before putting it into the air fryer. You can always use a tofu press to remove the excess moisture. To do this, remove tofu from the water pack and cut it into small cubes. Then, place the cubes on a flat surface lined with absorbent materials such as paper towels. Cover it with similar material before placing heavy stuff on top. This speeds up the draining process.
Consider marinating the tofu for a few minutes before placing it in an air fryer. Most people just put it in a bowl that has a mix of oil, pepper, and salt. Unfortunately, this marinating does away with the creamy consistency on the inside of the tofu cube. Instead, consider using a marinade made of a tablespoon of rice vinegar, a similar amount of sesame oil, and two tablespoons of soy source. Make sure you go for soy that is low in sodium. If looking for gluten-free alternatives, pick tamari sauce. The above proportions should work with an 8.oz batch. You can always increase the amount to cover other portions.
At this point, some people add some cornstarch to give the tofu an extra-crispy feel. However, that is only needed when you are deep-frying it. In an air fryer, it will get crispy without the starch. Just ensure that it sits in the marinade for at least 15 minutes. If you still want to add cornstarch (it is gluten-free), you can add to the tofu after marinating. However, you are likely to have a powdery coating on your tofu cubes. You can deal with the problem by spraying them with some olive oil after air frying.
You can add some seasoning to the marinade. For those going for the basics, a pinch of salt, pepper, and lemon juice will do. However, if you want to give it a taste twist or go the Indian way, add some paprika, ginger powder, turmeric, and garlic powder. The Indian type has an advantage when preparing tofu for snacking.
Do not put too much tofu on your air fryer basket. Just a few layers would do so that you can get even crispness all around the cubes. If you have lots of tofu, consider diving it into batches and frying each at a time. Since it takes a few minutes to have them ready, you can prepare the batches and have them taken together. Besides, it is good to turn our tofu midway into frying to help with even browning. An air fryer works by circulating hot air from all the sides of the basket, unlike cookers with a single heat source. Therefore, you need to turn your tofu and have it ready.
Sample Instructions for Air Fryer Tofu
- Using the marinade choices discussed in the section above, toss your drained or super firm tofu in a marinade for at least 30 minutes.
- Create batches of tofu such that you cook 8 to 10 oz of tofu in a batch. This helps increase exposure to hot air and enhance their crispness.
- Set your air fryer heat at 375 degrees F for about 15 to 18 minutes. However, if you want the creamy feel when you bite into the tofu cubes, air fry each batch for a maximum of 12 minutes. Chewier tofu should be ready in under 16 minutes.
- Toss your tofu by removing the air fryer basket after about 7 minutes of frying to ensure even frying
Can You Use other Oils?
Yes. You can use other oils to prepare your marinade other than the sesame oil. However, you need a high smoke point oil that will not burn and create smoke in your air fryer basket. You can use avocado oil instead of olive oil, as stated above, as it has a higher smoke point. Other alternatives include peanut oil, grape seed oil, and sunflower oil. Each of these oils has smoke points of above 400 degrees F.
Serving Air Fried Tofu
Tofu can be taken warm or rather cold if taking it as a snack. You can always warm tofu for about five minutes in an air fryer at temperatures of about 375 degrees F. You can serve your tofu as it is and take it with your favorite drink. However, it works well with salads and sauces and can be added to full vegan dishes. Some of the dishes it can be served include Thai kale salad, cucumber pea salad, and the vegetarian instant pot baked beans.
Don’t know which air fryer to use or choose? Here are some of the best options I’ve come across and put together for you!
1. Air Fryers with Racks
Most common air fryers just allow you to cook a single type in one go, especially where you have green leafy vegetables. This is different for air fryers with multiple racks that enable you to place various items on different ranks. You may have your veggie pizza on one rack, corn on another, and vegetables on the third compartment. This allows you to cook your meals fast and can prepare different meals at the same time. Several air fryers have one rack, but there are a few with multiple racks. Here is a look at some of the most popular ones.
(i) Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Air Fryer
The Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Air Fryer has several internal components that enable you to cook various portions or different food types. These components include a baking pan, an air fryer rack, and an oven rack. Cuisinart is one of the largest oven manufacturers today. This model is designed as a specialty air fryer. It also comes with seven cook functions: toast, broil, warm, bake, air fry, and convection bake.
For oven cooking, the warm, baking, toasting and broiling functions work well. However, if you would like to have even crisping on your backed food, go for the conventional oven instead. The function we are most interested in is the air fryer feature that gives you unlimited possibilities. When air frying large potatoes and veggies such as broccoli, you may use the two rack positions on the appliance.
You also do not need to stay and wait for food to get ready. You can set the cooking timer for up to one hour. On reaching this time, the appliance will shut off. Besides, the appliance allows you to see the browning thanks to the interior light. It also has enough heat thanks to its six-element heating with a cooking power of 1,800W. One thing that sets this one apart is the location of the controls on the top of the door rather than the side for most air fryers.
(ii) Best Choice Products 11.6qt 1700W 8-in-1 XL
Best Choice Products 11.6qt 1700W 8-in-1 XL is a three-rack fryer that allows you to air fry various food items on one go. It comes with several features that make the process a lot easier. It has a rotating basket for air frying small food items such as French fries. The basket has a handle for ease of removal. It also has a wire rack that you can use to dehydrate your fruits or grill vegetables, tubers, and bread.
If you love a rotisserie type of cooking, there are forks to hold your food in place for ease of cooking. The fryer also has a ten-skewer rack to cook your kebabs and vegetables. It works with a rotisserie shaft. Finally, there is a drip tray at the bottom of the fryer, which catches all the debris and oil from your foods to ease cleaning.
You can use the pre-set cooking options to get your dishes ready without little hustle. The options can make cookies, broiling, pressure cooking, and baking, among others. Changing the options is easy, thanks to the large LCD touchscreen display. Besides, the fryer has an oven style design where the door has a window, which you remove to check on the food without letting all the air out. It also has heat resistant housing and overheat protection.
(iii) Modern Home Air Fryer
Modern Home fryers are loved for their portable designs. They may look like they cannot hold a lot of food. On the contrary, with its two-tier rack made of stainless steel, the total amount of food that it can hold at any given time is amazing. It also comes with a non-stick baking pan that you can use for cakes, cookies, omelets, and cakes.
The air fryer function allows you to fry, bake, roast, and grill vegetables and pastries (such as the peanut butter cookie bars) faster than you would do on a conventional oven or your traditional one. A combination of hot air and rapidly circulating fans drive the internal temperature to 400 degrees F in less than a minute. This will get your dishes cooking faster and more evenly. There are eleven other presents in the air fryer, allowing you to enjoy everything from toasting to warming and broiling specific kinds of food. Therefore, apart from air frying, you can bale your cake warm and prepare sandwiches for your snacks. All the removable components of this appliance are dishwasher safe, making the cleanup a lot easier and faster.
(iv) NUWAVE BRIO 14-Quart Large Capacity Air Fryer Oven
The 14-quart capacity Nuwave Brio air fryer comes with three racks, a fry pan basket, and a rotisserie kit. It also has an integrated digital temperature probe that helps you ensure that the food is cooked right. Besides, you can use warm, reheat, and delay programs to get your food at the right temperature when you are ready to eat it. As for temperatures, you can air fry on anything between 60 degrees F and 400 degrees F with five degrees increments from one level to another.
You can also use the preheat function to get the fryer ready before placing your food and the sear function to cook food at high temperatures within a short time. Besides, it has 100 pre-programmed recipes that you can try by just clicking the touchpad control panel. Alternatively, you can air fry with your custom settings by clicking the stage function. With all these controls and settings, you can prepare your dishes like a pro without having to carry a recipe book to the kitchen.
These are some of the leading air fryers with racks. Depending on your family size or preferences, you can go with these or go with smaller ones with just a single space. The price difference is not much compared to the functions and features that you get when you go big.
2. Best Air Fryer for Vegetables
A good number of people still fry their vegetables in oil. Doing so not only leads to the loss of some of the trace nutrients but also makes you eat high amounts of fat, which may not be good for your health as it can get deposited in your circulatory system or lead to a rapid increase in weight. Fortunately, the new generation of air fryers allow you to enjoy your veggies without adding unhealthy oil. In addition, they give them a crunchy texture and an excellent dry taste. You can air fry just any vegetable, whether green leafy ones, green corn, spring onions, cauliflower, plantain, and carrots, among others.
There are tens of air fryers in the market, each with different features and functions. Not all of them may do a great job on your veggies. This section takes you some of the best air fryers for your vegetables with a detailed look at their features, strong and weak points.
(i) Cosori Air Fryer 3.7 Quart
The 3.7-quart capacity air fryer capacity works well for a small to medium family. The Cosori brand has come up with a unique square design that allows you to fit more food than you would in a round or oblate-shaped one. Besides, it has an LED touchscreen top face, again different from the small LED touchscreens found in many brands. This one allows you to make your settings with ease according to your recipe. Besides, it has eleven pre-set options that enable you to try everything from tofu to vegan pizza with a few clicks.
The interior frying basket comes with a handle that you can pull with ease when your food is done. It is also replaceable should you ever need to change it in the future. This air fryer has a wattage of 1700 watts that will get your vegetables cooking fast. It is also FDA approved and ETL certified as safe. The temperature ranges between 180 degrees F and 400 degrees F with a 10-degree difference between different levels. You can also use the self-timer for up to 60 minutes if you might not be around to check on the food. On the other hand, you may switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit if you are not comfortable with the current setting.
(ii) Linsion Air Fryer Electric Hot Air Fryer
If you are looking for a basic fryer that can feed up to five people at a go, then Linsion Air Fryer is the model to pick. It has a beautiful oblate design and polished black outer. Despite the compact design, it has a 5.8-quart basket, which is impressive. Besides, it comes with seven pre-sets, among which is an air fry setting. You just need to prepare your veggies, click the right setting, and voila!
Besides, it has a high-temperature range of up to 400 degrees F with increments of 10 degrees for precise setting. If you are not sure how to prepare the vegetables, check one of the 50 recipes on the recipe book that comes with the appliance. To ensure that it sustains the heat, Linsion has created a 1400-watts hot air system with a unique circulation system that enables you to reach the target temperature in less than three minutes. Finally, once you are done cooking your food, you may detach the cooking pot for the ease of cleaning.
(iii) Yedi Total Package Air Fryer XL
If you are looking for a medium-capacity air fryer that gives you additional features, then the Yedi Total Package Air Fryer XL is the model to consider. The 5.8-quart cooking appliance comes with a divider for the cooking basket and 50 perforated parchment papers and a multi-purpose lack. If besides cooking your vegetables you would like skewers, cake, and pan, you will get a cupcake silicon pan, a cake carrel, and three skewers.
On the outside, the air fryer has a sleek, scratch-resistant black paint. It also has a touchscreen top face to allow you to make your food settings with ease. If you want something unique at the dinner table, you may use the 100-recipe cookbook that comes with the unit. On the cook program list, you will find options for preparing hard and soft vegetables as well as searing.
(iv) Ninja Air Fryer AF100UK
Ninja is a renowned household appliance manufacturer with ovens and air fryers on its list of items. The AF100UK is a 3.8-quart unit and one of the best air fryers in terms of reliability and no-fuss air frying mechanism. This medium air fryer comes with a few functions to make you air frying easy and fast. You can select among dehydrate, reheat, roast, and air fry at the touch buttons on the side of the appliance. You not only prepare your vegetable really well, but you can also reheat the left offers to incorporate then in your next meal. Besides, the dehydrate feature can be used to dry out your fruits so that you can add them to your dishes.
Its compact, clean design makes it ideal for individuals who have little space at home. However, despite its small size, it packs a whopping 1550 watts of power to get your food ready fast. The temperature ranges between 105 degrees F and 400 degrees F, enough to cook any hard veggies well. Another feature that stands out is its ceramic-coated basket with a need pullout insert that you can use to rest your food once you have pulled it from the fryer.
These are some of the best veggie air fryers in the market for small to medium families. You can check bigger versions or upgraded versions of the same brands that are listed here. You may go for brands with specific cook settings so that you can prepare one on the go. However, a good number allows you to make and save the best settings so that you do not have to redo it the next time you want to cook the same dish. However, we recommend trying various recipes using these appliances to vary tastes at your dinner table.