Vegan baked onion rings that are crunchy, full of flavor, and oil-free! This plant-based appetizer is guilt-free and good for you too!
Hey Planteaters! I’ve got a fun recipe for you today. Who likes onion rings? For anyone who didn’t raise their hand, these might even convert you. I know, bold statement, but these are GOOD. And they’re super healthy, but in a way that makes you want to eat the whole batch because you know you won’t feel like trash a couple hours later. Let’s get started!
Ok, so I know you’re wondering why these are healthy. Well, they’re coated in breadcrumbs made from….drumroll please…chickpeas! Yep. I used chickpeas in peanut butter eggs and now I’m using them as breadcrumbs. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, folks. Chickpeas are super versatile, and they make amazingly crunchy breadcrumbs that form a fantastic breading for anything that would benefit from a crispy coating. Oh and all that without any oil at all. But to get the best breading coverage, I had to do some testing (it was tasty).
These chickpea crumbs are seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt, by the way. The recipe instructions below walk you through how to make the chickpea crumbs, and very soon there will be a separate tutorial on it as well.
What breading works best for baked onion rings?
The most important factor when it comes to breading onion rings is getting the crumbs to adhere. I did a bunch of different trials and you can see them above. Obviously with this being a vegan recipe I didn’t have the option of eggs, so I tested some egg replacers that have worked well for me in the past. In the end, I landed on aquafaba + flax, which work the best because the protein in the aquafaba bonds with the ground flax to make a perfectly goopy coating for the chickpea crumbs to cling to.
To get the best coating, a three-step breading method is used. Basically, it goes dry-wet-dry. First dry – something floury. All-purpose flour works great, but I really wanted these to be gluten-free and grain-free if needed, so potato starch works wonderfully too. First dip the onion rings (sweet onions, please) into the starch or flour, then into the aquafaba/flax mix, then into the chickpea crumbs. Make sure to designate one hand as “dry” and one as “wet” when doing the breading, otherwise you’ll end up with breaded fingers. Not tasty.
Then just toss them into a hot oven for 10 minutes, and you’ve got crispy baked onion rings just ready for a dipping sauce!
I hope you’ll make these onion rings and come back to tell me how it went! Hearing what you think of the recipes is one of my very favorite things. Thanks for every comment and review! You’re the best.
Now go make these and impress someone with secretly healthy onion rings! Shhhh….
Vegan Baked Onion Rings
- 2 large sweet onions, cut into 1” thick rings
- 2 15 oz cans chickpeas*, drained (reserve liquid)
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 1 cup potato starch, cornstarch, or all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
Make the Chickpea Crumbs
- Heat the oven to 350F (or 325F convection).
- Drain the chickpeas and add the liquid (aquafaba) to a bowl and set aside. Make sure the bowl is wide enough to dip an onion ring into the liquid.
- Add the chickpeas to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into coarse crumbs.
- Add the ground chickpeas to a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
- Add the roasted chickpeas back to the food processor (no need to rinse out), and pulse again to break up any clumps until the crumbs are even.
- Return to the baking sheet and roast again for 15 minutes.
- Return to the food processor and add the salt, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Roast for 5 minutes more or until the crumbs are fully dry.
- Remove the crumbs to a wide bowl.
- Raise the oven temperature to 450F.
Bread the onion rings
- While the chickpea crumbs are roasting, add the ground flax to the bowl with the chickpea liquid (aquafaba) and stir to combine.
- After the chickpea crumbs are finished roasting, preheat the oven to 450F.
- Add the potato starch or other dry coating to a bowl wide enough to accommodate an onion ring.
- Arrange the onion slices next to the breading ingredients from left to right - onion rings, starch, aquafaba/flax mixture, chickpea crumbs
- Designate one hand as “dry” one hand as “wet.”
- Using the “dry” hand, dip an onion ring into the starch until coated well on all sides.
- Using the “wet” hand, dip the onion ring into the aquafaba/flax mixture, making sure it is fully submerged and no dry floury parts are visible.
- Drop the coated onion ring into the chickpea crumbs, and use the “dry” hand to scoop the crumbs around and over the onion ring until it is fully coated.
- Place the breaded onion ring onto a wire rack fitted on a baking sheet (or place directly on the baking sheet).
- Bake at 450F for 10 minutes. If desired, broil for 1-2 minutes (watch carefully!) to brown the chickpea crumbs slightly. Do not overbake or the texture of the onions could be impacted.
- Place on a serving platter and dip into your favorite sauce!