My Top 3 Recipes in the Air-Fryer | Vegetarian and Gluten-free Air-Fryer | Are Air-Fryers Worth It? | Best Things to Make in Air Fryer




I admit that I was a skeptic of the air-fryer for much of the time that the craze blew up. In fact, my brother gave me a gift of an Air fryer in 2017 and I looked at it with a puzzled face. I thought to myself, oh gosh another gadget that I don't need. 

As a chef, I celebrate the traditional ways of cooking, even if it takes more time and more elbow grease. I go into a kind of trance cooking and somehow like the pain that standing and working brings. I admit that. 

So, a new convenient gadget just didn't fit my style. 


But, with the pandemic going on, I thought let's try out this thing. I took it out of the box after nearly 3 years- for the first time!


After a few uses I have to say that I am amazed. 


As a French-trained chef (think lots of cream and butter) who has been healthy-cook reformed, I have to admit the Air fryer is a great cooking appliance if you are looking to cook healthy. 


It is also a super convenient and safe gadget that kids can use. 


To be honest, the air-fryer is just a fancy name for "convection oven"- something that your oven probably already does. 


But the oven is big and takes 20 minutes or so to heat up. It's especially wasteful of energy if you are just cooking for one or two. 


So, that's where the air-fryer shines. Saving you time, energy, and turning fried delights into healthy ones.


Below are some of the uses and recipes that I think hands-down make the air-fryer an exciting 'new' tool for me (ok it took me some time to get convinced, but I finally caved. Thanks to a pandemic!)


Enjoy these recipes. Tag me @chefjoannas if you try them!

My Favorite Air-Fryer Recipes: 


1. Tacos Dorados de Papas (Potato Tacos)








I wasn't expecting for these tacos to get as crispy as they did, but they came out perfectly. I don't see any reason to fill a pot full of oil to fry these when the air-fryer does such an amazing job. 

These tacos or "taquitos" are filled with mashed potato and are a Mexican Vegetarian's delight. They get rolled up and closed with toothpicks to fry. (remember to remove them before eating) Then, they get topped with lettuce, tomato, red salsa, avocado and whatever your heart fancies. 

You'll never feel like you are eating an inferior potato taco from an Air-fryer because they are that good.

I don't know what my Abuelita would say, but it works!

They also re-heat amazingly well. Don't bother using a toaster oven or microwave to reheat these potato tacos, the air-fryer gets it crispy a second time so easily.

2. Pumpkin Arancini (gluten-free rice balls)




Arancini are one of the greatest things of Italian cuisine. They are fried rice balls often stuffed with meat or cheese in the middle. The outside is always amazingly crispy and the inside is soft from the sticky rice and cheese. 

You'll find these decadent rice balls at weddings and celebrations served hot or room temperature. 

When it comes to Italian cooking, I don't want to mess around. If you meet any Italian, they are super passionate about their food and culture and don't welcome substitutions or modifications easily. That is something I love about them too! They stay true to their culture. 

But, being an American, I can get away with trying new things- we are known for innovation so why not.

I was super impressed about how these rice balls came out. Again, why would I use a bunch of oil deep frying them, when the air-fryer does such a good job of making them crispy? 

I'm bucking Italian tradition here, but it works on this one!

The best thing is that traditionally fried or air-fryer Arancini re-heat in the air-fryer magically. A microwave will never get that crunchy result like the air-fryer does a second time. 

3. Trader Joe's Falafel Mix





My friend takes credit for this one. I am still not a pro at making my own falafels so I admit I use a boxed mix for now. I made the Trader Joe's mix and put them in the air fryer for a matter of 10 minutes or so and was very impressed. 

Served with hummus, tahini, and a Greek salad, it makes for a quick and healthy Mediterranean diet kind of dinner!

Also good for: 

  • Making your own corn tortillas chips for chilaquiles
  • Heating up waffles if you like them crispy
  • Heating up roasted potatoes from the day before

Looking Into the Future

I got a lot of cool ideas from Life by Mike G and will be trying some of his recommendations. He tried what doesn't work to- don't try the Air-Fryer for Popcorn.

I am most excited to try baking in there and these other recipes: 
  • Hand-held Apple Pies
  • Chicken Katsu (tempura fried Japanese chicken cutlet)
  • Milk Bread Buns
  • Apple Chips

Summary


Even though an air-fryer seems like a kiddie gadget to me, there is some fun to be had. I feel like its a ramped up version of my Easy bake oven in a way- the way I got my start. 

It's a new frontier so there is room to explore, create and test new recipes. 

I'm sure we will continue to see new creations from this bulky device that takes too much space on the counter! Lol

It doesn't replace fried foods pleasure exactly, but I think its as close we can get and still making it healthy and light. 

So, go out and explore!











To your happy and healthy life, 


Joanna



Did you make this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram! I'd love to see it! @chefjoannas 



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