When it comes to snacks there’s not much better than a crispy fried onion ring, is there? It’s fun to share a basket with friends. Unfortunately, fried foods are often heavy and make me feel sluggish…not to mention I’m trying to avoid excess oil whenever I can. Oven Fried Onion Rings are a delicious alternative. Don’t stop with onions, though. You can use this technique with many other vegetables, like eggplant and butternut squash.
This recipe comes from Ellie Krieger via The Food Network. It appealed to me because there’s no hot oil involved and for that reason it’s the perfect recipe to make with children. Older children can prep the veggies while younger ones can help with the breading station. Everyone will enjoy picking out their favorite dipping sauce. We used a simple sriracha mayo and teriyaki sauce for ours. Rick also broke out the BBQ sauce.
You will have to set up a classic breading station. Ellie used crushed baked potato chips for the breading, but when reading through the comments I noticed many people substituted bread crumbs. This strikes me as the type of recipe that can be mixed and matched to suit a particular eating style. If you’re dairy-free use coconut milk or soy milk and curdle it with vinegar as a buttermilk substitute. Add a couple tablespoons of flour to thicken up the batter if necessary. If you’re gluten-free, use your favorite gluten free breading. Likewise for the low carb folks…instead of potato chips use your favorite crushed pork rinds and low carb baking mix for the breading. (If you’re eating low carb you probably aren’t too concerned with the amount of fat, but at least you won’t have to deal with hot oil).
For meal planning purposes you won’t need to use an entire eggplant or butternut squash. A large onion, half an eggplant and the neck of the butternut squash was sufficient for the two of us.
- 1 cup flour (all purpose, gluten free or low carb as desired)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne or hot paprika
- 1 cup buttermilk thickened with 2 tablespoons flour (1 cup of any type of milk can be soured with 1 tablespoon vinegar, I used cream and omitted the flour)
- 1½ cups panko bread crumbs, divided
- 1 large onion, sliced into ½" thick rings with the rings separated
- ½" thick slices of eggplant and butternut squash
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and prepare one or two baking sheets with cooking spray
- Put the flour into a bag and season with salt, pepper and cayenne.
- Pour the buttermilk into a large bowl and pour half the panko crumbs onto a plate.
- Set the baking sheet within easy reach.
- Working in batches, shake the onions or other veg with the flour, shake off the excess before dipping into the buttermilk batter then coating with bread crumbs. Arrange on the baking sheet.
- Dividing the bread crumbs into two portions helps prevent them from clumping up as you work. Add more as needed.
- When the tray is full spray the tops with more cooking spray and bake for about 20 minutes or until the coating is brown and crispy and the veggies have softened. Check after 10 minutes and turn the veggies and the tray as necessary for even cooking.
- Serve with your favorite sauces. We liked the sriracha mayo with the butternut squash and the BBQ sauce with the onion rings. The eggplant was great with the teriyaki.
- To make the sriracha mayo mix a teaspoon or so into a half cup of mayo. Add more if you like it hotter.
- Leftovers, if you have any, can be reheated/recrisped in the oven.
The key to getting good results with this recipe is to have a hot oven so the vegetables will be crisp/tender by the time the bread crumbs have browned.
I will be sharing this with the folks at I Heart Cooking Clubs for this month’s potluck. Come on over and see what everyone else has cooked up!