Yes! I took the plunge and jumped on the air fryer bandwagon. I had been seeing so many posts and photos showing fabulous culinary creations using this device so I just couldn’t pass up a great Black Friday deal last week.
I got this Krups XL air fryer . I had to try it out the minute it was delivered, so I quickly cut up some potatoes to make French fries and they were absolutely delicious. If you haven’t seen or heard about the air fryer-it’s a magical machine that “fries” food without the use of any oil. For those of us in the plant based world who avoid adding any oil to foods-this is simply wonderful!
Today in the kitchen I am making arancini-which are Italian rice balls. The first time I had ever had Arancini was at Giada DeLaurentis’ restaurant in Las Vegas years ago (before I was vegan-and I ate cheese!!) I can still remember the delicious appetizer we all shared at our table-creamy risotto-like rice and cheese and Italian seasonings all breaded and lightly fried. I decided, hmmm..I can duplicate that, right?
I used my old standby-Aquafaba- to mimic the egg that you would normally use to coat the balls in the breadcrumbs. I also used a coating mixture of cornmeal and ground flaxseed meal which is a super easy way to get those Omega 3s into your plant based diet.
Here is my plant based version of Italian Arancini:
- 2 C. cooked short grain brown rice-can be made ahead and room temperature
- 1/2 C. frozen peas, thawed
- 1/2 C. finely chopped red pepper
- 1/4 C. finely chopped raw kale or spinach (I used kale)
- 2 T. walnut parmesan (recipe below)
- 2-3 T. marinara sauce–plus additional marinara for dipping
- 1 t. garlic powder
- 2 t. dried oregano
For the coating:
- The aquafaba from one can of chickpeas
- 1/3 C. ground flaxseed meal
- 1/3 c. finely ground cornmeal
- 1 T. walnut parmesan
- 1 t. kosher salt
For the Walnut parmesan–you take 1/2 cup of raw walnuts, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pulse in a high speed blender or food processor so that it resembles parmesan cheese.
First, I added all the ingredients (rice through oregano) in a large mixing bowl and stirred to combine everything. I used my hands to mix it really well and then formed balls and placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. In a small bowl combine the flaxseed, cornmeal, parmesan and salt. In a separate bowl, pour in the aquafaba. Next, take one ball at a time and dip in the aquafaba and then roll in the breading and place back on the parchment until all the balls are coated. Set your air fryer to 350 degrees and place the balls on the rack in the basket and set the timer for 18 minutes. I turned the balls over at 9 minutes so that they would brown evenly. I ended up with 12 balls and cooked them in two batches of 6 so that the basket wasn’t overcrowded.
These are absolutely delicious served with some marinara on the side. You can certainly tweak the seasonings to your taste. I think the next time, I’ll add some red pepper flakes and maybe a touch more salt, but aside from that, I thought they were a very close replication of the cheesy and fried version I remembered.
And now I have these chickpeas leftover from the can I opened to use the aquafaba. Next up in the air fryer…fried chickpeas! Stay tuned for the next post and I’ll show you how I made a crispy, crunchy snack with those leftover chickpeas.
Leave me a comment and let me know if you’ve got an air fryer and what fabulous foods you’ve made with yours. See you in the kitchen soon,