10 super easy vegan recipes to try using your air fryer (2024)

10 super easy vegan recipes to try using your air fryer (1)

10 super easy vegan recipes to try using your air fryer (2)

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If you own an air fryer—aka the kitchen tool of the moment that everyone from your neighbor to mother-in-law can't stop talking about—and have spent any time researching recipes, you know that the majority of them fall into two categories: Healthier meatballs and breaded chicken.

While the appliance certainly does work its magic to amp up these two food categories, for vegan eaters looking to use their air fryer to make a plant-forward meal, the recipes may take a bit more digging to find. And chances are, you don't really have time to do a deep dive (which is, ahem, one of the key reasons why you invested in an air fryer in the first place). Truly a shame, seeing as your air fryer is a great tool for crisping up vegetables and other plant-based foods like tofu or chickpeas quickly.

To take a step back, remember that an air fryer is not a fryer at all. Unlike deep fryers that submerge ingredients in a vat of hot oil, an air fryer is really just a small-sized convection oven that circulates hot air around food to give it a crispy, almost fried-like texture. Think about the oven fries you loved so much as a kid—air frying is same idea without the lengthy preheat time or need to fuss with a sheet pan. When using an air fryer, you typically need just a couple of tablespoons of oil plus seasonings to coat your Brussels sprouts, eggplant fries, or cauliflower florets before tossing them in the basket to cook. While they won't taste deep fried, they will come out perfectly tender on the inside with a crunchy exterior. Pro tip: Don't forget to shake the food that's inside your air fryer basket around at least once throughout the cooking process so everything cooks evenly.

Ready to get started air frying veggies, plant-based protein, and more to perfection? Here, the hard work is all done for you. (Except for, you know, the cooking part.) Below are 10 air fryer-based recipes that are 100-percent vegan, and 100-percent easy.

Scroll down for 10 vegan air fryer recipes.

10 super easy vegan recipes to try using your air fryer (4)

1. Cauliflower chickpea tacos

All vegans have experienced a well-meaning friend co*cking an eyebrow and asking, "But, do you get enough protein?" Spoiler alert: Chicken isn't the only way to ensure your taco dinner helps you reach your daily needs. In this recipe, chickpeas are the protein source, and they're paired with cauliflower for fiber (this is the part where the air fryer comes in handy) and avocado for some good healthy fats. Balanced and delicious.

10 super easy vegan recipes to try using your air fryer (5)

2. Green beans

It's easy to get into the same routine of using rice as a base for tofu-based meals. For a veggie-centric twist, try green beans, made perfectly crispy in the air fryer. Besides the beans, all you need is literally half a teaspoon of oil and the cooking tool takes care of the rest.

10 super easy vegan recipes to try using your air fryer (6)

3. Tofu bowl

Without an air fryer, it's a bit tricky to get tofu perfectly crisp, but the kitchen tool makes it so much easier. It's the starring ingredient in this meal. If you want to amp up the protein, use quinoa or brown rice instead of white rice.

10 super easy vegan recipes to try using your air fryer (7)

4. Baked potatoes

Baked potatoes taste delicious no matter what, but when you use your air fryer to make them, they come out light, airy, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. To keep it vegan, top it off with olive oil instead of butter, and don't forget the salt and pepper.

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5. Fried green tomatoes

Here, your favorite Southern staple gets reimagined in the air fryer, and there's nothing not to love about the comfort food classic.

10 super easy vegan recipes to try using your air fryer (9)

6. Buffalo cauliflower

Buffalo chicken is a popular air fryer-based dish, but using cauliflower ups the fiber while still satisfying that craving. (Because, let's be honest, it's all in the sauce.) Show up to game day with these babies and you're sure to head home with an empty plate.

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7. Turmeric cauliflower steaks

Another smart way to use your air fryer to make a cauliflower-based dish is by giving it an anti-inflammatory twist—using turmeric, of course. Look how gorgeous these cauli-steaks turn out. This is dinner party *gold.*

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8. Vegan omelettes

Because they're so nutrient-rich, traditional omelettes make a great go-to dinner as well as breakfast—and this vegan makeover made using the air fryer is no different. Made with tofu, chickpea flour, and an array of spices, it's just as good for you and delish.

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9. Crispy falafel

This Middle Eastern staple is full of flavor and protein, making them a great post-workout lunch or dunner. The key to getting the consistency just right is soaking the dried chickpeas before putting them in the food processor and air fryer. Don't forget the spices, too!

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10. Barbecue lentil meatballs

Clearly the air fryer is a clutch tool for making crispy protein balls of all sorts, and this is another one to add to your arsenal. Using vegetable broth as a base will ensure the flavor comes through in every bite.

Article originally published on August 3, 2019 with additional reporting by Betty Gold.

For more vegan recipes, here are some to make using your Instant Pot and ones that are ready in less than 10 minutes.

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10 super easy vegan recipes to try using your air fryer (2024)


Is the air fryer good for vegans? ›

Air fryers give you the ability to prep a larger volume of food at once, and use minimal pieces of equipment while doing so. Alongside that, they're a dream for prepping vegan protein sources like tofu, tempeh, or your favourite plant-based meat alternative.

What is the easiest thing to cook in an air fryer? ›

Salmon fillets cook beautifully in an air fryer – check out our salmon fillet recipes for more ideas.
  • Air-fryer roasted canned potatoes.
  • Air-fryer tofu (popcorn nuggets)
  • Air-fryer chips.
  • Air-fryer chicken thighs.
  • Air-fryer sweet potato fries.
  • Air-fryer sausages.
  • Air-fryer halloumi.
  • Air-fryer steak.

What 5 foods should you not put in an air fryer? ›

Take a gander of this list of top foods that should never make their way into your air fryer.
  • Wet Batters. ...
  • Cheesy Items. ...
  • Large, Bone-In Meat Cuts. ...
  • Baked Goods. ...
  • Greens. ...
  • Raw Rice and Other Grains. ...
  • Too Much of Anything.
Apr 14, 2023

What are the top 10 foods to cook in an air fryer? ›

How to Cook and Season the Best Air-Fryer Foods With Ease
  • Chicken Breasts. Everyone has cooked or eaten a rubbery, dried-out chicken breast and there's just nothing about that experience that you want to repeat. ...
  • Tofu. ...
  • Zoodles. ...
  • Cauliflower Gnocchi. ...
  • Salmon (chopped) ...
  • Chickpeas. ...
  • Personal Pizzas. ...
  • Frozen Cauliflower.
Feb 18, 2020

What are the negatives of an air fryer? ›

The main disadvantages of air fryer use include limited cooking capacity, which might require cooking in batches for larger families, and the initial cost, as high-quality models can be an investment.

Why is air fried food not healthy? ›

In one study, air frying of fish raised the amount of a substance called "cholesterol oxidation products" (COPs). COPs form when the cholesterol in meat or fish breaks down during cooking. Studies connect these substances to coronary heart disease, hardening of the arteries, cancer, and other diseases.

What is the first thing I should try in my air fryer? ›

Brussels sprouts are the best place to start your air-fried vegetable journey. They crisp up beautifully and take no time at all. If you're making these for a crowd, we suggest frying them up in batches as overcrowding the basket can lead to soggy results.

Why are people getting rid of air fryers? ›

Summary. In conclusion, while air fryers offer certain benefits such as reduced calorie intake and faster cooking times, they are not without their limitations. Size constraints, limited cooking options, and concerns about crispiness are driving some people to look for alternatives.

What is the controversy with air fryers? ›

Increased air fryer recalls since 2021

But that doesn't mean air fryers pose no risk. Faulty wiring or user error can cause air fryers to overheat, burn the food inside or melt the machine itself, leading to several reported cases of kitchen fires and burns. To date, there have been no deaths reported.

Can you put aluminum foil in an air fryer? ›

Foil is safe to use in an air fryer so long as you follow three basic rules: never let foil touch the heating element; make sure the foil is weighted so it doesn't blow around the basket; and avoid contact with acidic ingredients, which can cause the foil to leach onto your food.

Why shouldn't you cook hamburgers in an air fryer? ›

The air fryer isn't perfect when it comes to burgers, and the drawbacks as I experienced are twofold. First, since you can't really access the patty while it cooks, you're unable to smash it down in such a way that it doesn't shrink up significantly while cooking.

What is number 1 air fryer? ›

The Instant Vortex Plus 6-Quart Air Fryer has impressed us time and time again as the best air fryer available. It's the right balance of a generous capacity with a manageable overall size, boasts the blasting convection power necessary for crispy results, and, of course, has a user-friendly interface.

What do I wish I knew before I get an air fryer? ›

6 things I wish I'd known before I bought an air fryer
  • Air fryers do not fry. Deep fried foods: not like air fried ones. ...
  • The air fryer parts you use most are easy to clean but the outer parts… not so much. ...
  • There's a war going on in the air fryer community! ...
  • Air fryers can be quite large.

What is the best thing you can make in an air fryer? ›

Veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms & onions, and cauliflower all turn out incredible in the air fryer. You can also make your main dish IN the air fryer. It works magic with proteins like tofu, chicken drumsticks, meatballs, pork chops, fried chicken… even steak.

Can you cook vegan meat in an air fryer? ›

Air frying! It's a MUST in a vegan kitchen for transforming veggies, tofu, and even frozen meatless meats into delicious side dishes and main meals, FAST. Whether you're a die-hard fan of your air fryer or haven't taken the plunge and purchased one yet, we've got recipes here for you.

Is it worth buying an air fryer if you are vegetarian? ›

Air-fryers are brilliant for embracing low-energy cooking and an easy way for vegetarians to give new veggie recipes a go. We've gathered together the best vegetarian air-fryer recipes for you, so get cooking!

Why not to buy an air fryer? ›

Inconsistent cooking

As air fryers produce intense blasts of heat and circulate this heat rapidly, they can cook your food in record time and add that perfect crisp texture to foods like chips. But as the heat is so intense, an air fryer also has the potential to over-crisp or burn your food.

Is An air fryer Eco Friendly? ›

Air fryers are generally more energy-efficient than traditional ovens, especially for cooking small quantities of food. For example, cooking chicken in an air fryer can use less than half the energy an oven requires.


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