Can oil-free onion rings really be delicious? 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? Sure brings back memories. Many of my childhood memories and of my father are connected to food. Perhaps why I enjoy my work to this day.
Until now I’ve never recreated an onion ring recipe at home. I’ve also never cooked with deep frying (it scares me).
And when we have ordered vegan onion rings at restaurants, they haven’t been quite as good as my memories of eating them. 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.
But can vegan, oil-free onion rings be tasty?
After quite a few trials, I landed a delicious, crispy, irresistible, oil-free vegan onion ring!
The secret to these vegan onion rings comes down to a few 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 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 oil-free 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 dig into some scrumptious oil-free onion rings!
Please let me know what you think of these, guys – and if you have Dreena’s Kind Kitchen, you can also find this recipe tucked inside that book. x Dreena
Oven-Baked 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 (option to use gluten-free breadcrumbs)
- 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.
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This post was originally published in 2016 and updated for 2022.