Vegan MoFo IV, Day #28, Week #4: Vegan Mish Mash and Whatnot
I was never really interested in onion rings until just recently when I noticed an influx of low fat onion ring recipes popping up on the vegan blogs of the world. What’s the deal with onion rings? I asked myself this question while I watched people who could detect the tiniest sliver of onion in pasta sauce (and remove it, post haste) devour the mysterious deep fried circles. So, I tried a few of the recipes.
In the words the most revered Sir Larry David, they were pretty, pretty, pretty pretty good. I could understand the allure, but I wasn’t smitten. Each recipe had something that I adored and something that turned me off.
Then I had an epiphany. Chickpea flour. That stuff adds crispy flavour and texture galore to vegan french toast; could it not offer its services to the humble onion ring as well? Well, not to the outside, it turns out. Too stiff, too dry. But add it to the inner “adhesive” layer and then enrobe the whole deal in spicy, toasty breadcrumbs and bingo bango, Bob’s your uncle and you’ve got a the perfect “o” coming at you in a mere 20 minutes time.
Is it wrong to compare this seasoning combo to the evil that is KFC? No! It’s more of a public service, in fact. Get your fix without even a hint of death and suffering. This recipe hasn’t killed a single, living being, to my knowledge. And you can quote me on that.
- 2 large Vidalia, Walla Walla or other huge, sweet onions, sliced into 3/4cm thick rings
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, I use almond as it reigns supreme
- 3 heaping tbs chickpea flour
- 8-10 shak-a-roos Louisiana Hot Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, coarse grind
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- a few shakes Montreal Steak Spice or Seasoned Salt, optional
- olive oil cooking spray, a spritz-er-inos
- parchment paper
1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. In a medium-large flat-bottomed bowl, stir together non-dairy milk, chickpea flour and hot sauce. In an equally medium-large and equally flat-bottomed bowl, mix together bread crumbs, nutritional yeast and spices.
2. On your counter, from left to right, place plate of onion slices (separated into individual rings*), bowl of un-milk mixture, crumb bowl and cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (or spritz-ed with olive oil cooking spray).
3. Talk to your hands for a second. Tell Mr. Left to stick to his business and Lady Miss Right-hand to heed the very same advice. As long as everyone keeps to themselves, this will all go down real smooth. The minute someone tries to get “helpful” is when trouble starts. Keep your hand-noses to the grindstone and we’ll avoid a mucky mess.
Place as many onion slices as you can completely immerse into your spicy un-milk. Use Mr. Left to stir them up and make sure they are nice and soakified. Let Mr. Left drop one ring into the crumbs. Now it’s Miss Right’s turn. Let her shake and toss the crumbs around until the ring is totally covered. Then use Miss Right to remove ring to waiting cookie sheet. Repeat process with remaining rings. If your hands get too friendly, wash, dry and start again. Stupid, know-it-all hands. Learn to take direction!
4. Spritz cookie sheets of coated rings very lightly with olive oil spray and bake for 14 minutes, turning halfway through. Sprinkle with a touch more salt if you are salty like I am and serve them with ketchup, because that is a very delicious way to eat them.
* Lot’s of recipes will tell you to only use the biggest rings, but I think tiny rings are the living end of snacking cuteness, so go as small as you dare and save the very innards to dice fine for other recipes. As long as all the rings are sliced the same width, they will bake up at the same rate of baked-ness.
Serves 2-4 depending on the level of hungry in the house.