Are Air Fryers Healthy For Vegans, Vegetarians, And Plant Based Dieters?

French fries made with an air fryer

An air fryer, sometimes referred to as airfryer, has many benefits. It is a great and necessary tool to use in a vegan, vegetarian, or plan-based dieter’s kitchen, and can also be helpful in cooking foods such as chicken wings and meats for paleo and ketogenic dieters. 

What is an air fryer? It is an electrical cooking tool that circulates hot air around food to cook it. We all know that potatoes are healthy, delicious, and fairly inexpensive as long as they’re not mixed up with fat, frying oil, cheese, or butter… They can be boiled, baked, and made into delicious French fries with the help of a good airfryer.

For vegans, vegetarians, and plant-based followers, baking, boiling, and air frying foods is probably crucial to staying true to this way of living. You can enjoy your vegetables and your French fries with as little oil (or no oil- see tips below) as possible while adding crispiness to the outer surface and reducing cooking time.

How healthy is an air fryer? It is much (much) healthier than cooking with frying oil. Take French fries, for example… Instead of using half a liter of frying oil, you can air fry food without adding much oil, saving you about 75% to 100% of the fat that can clog your arteries, especially if combined with carbohydrates!

READ MORE: Top 5 Air Fryer Reviews: Best Air Fryers On The Market

You can add spices and herbs to kick in the taste a notch. For French fries, for example, the taste will be as good as cooking potatoes in your oven, but with less time. Use our techniques below to make amazing French fries and an excellent Aioli dipping sauce with healthy ingredients and you have yourself a winner that everybody will love.

You can add air fryers to the list of useful tools and gifts you can give to a person suffering from arthritis.

People with arthritis who choose not to eat meat follow a strict vegan, vegetarian, or plant based diet to help them reduce inflammation. The bottom line is that the combination of both fat and carbs do not mix well and should not be added in equal amounts for people trying to lose weight or reduce inflammation in their bodies.

Air fried foods use little to no oil

best air fryerAir fried food can be delicious and fast to prepare. Add spices and follow some recipes, and you can feed your family with succulent foods.

Air fryers have gained popularity lately and you can easily find recipes online or use specific recipe books, designed especially with air fryers in mind. All air frying recipe books usually include the basic foods that we love. Most air fryers include their own air frying guides and recipe books. You can make chicken wings in the air fryer, cheesecake, or delicious shrimp dishes; just make sure to add some spices and herbs to make the taste burst out.

Are air fryers healthy? Yes they are. You certainly don’t want to eat burned fat in an air fryer, so it is best to avoid cooking very fatty foods in them, such as bacon, but for general foods like potatoes, onion rings, making dessert, or cooking chicken wings, you can certainly save a lot of fat.

Whether you like your po-tay-toes, or po-tah-toes, they are all made of the same composition. A potato may not be the healthiest most super food on the face of the planet, but it is loved all around the world. It is classified as a vegetable, and it’s nutritionally a starchy food. It is not bad when eaten in its natural form, and without combining it with fats, but it could absolutely turn against you when you fry it with oils.

Other terms used for an air fryer include: Airfryer, air frier, air cooking, hot air fryer, deep air fryer, and air fyer (cute).

Air fryer benefits: Great for plant based dieters, vegans, and vegetarians

Delicious potatoes

A lot of people advocate a plant-based, vegan, or vegetarian diet. They keep their fat intake to a minimum. We’re not talking about good fats from avocados, or other natural foods like coconuts. We are talking about foods that use frying oils, and a lot of fat to make them taste good.

So, in essence, an air fryer could be your new best friend if you want good food (especially French fries) that tastes like baked fries, but without much of the hassle of baking and making a huge mess. I totally dislike baking because I use my oven space to hold pots and pans, and baking means emptying ALL that space… Ugggh.

The health benefits of a potato

In this day and age, the potatoes are debated left and right. Are they good? Are they bad? Are they healthy? Should they be avoided?

The potato by itself is not bad.

Since it’s a starch, you really don’t want to mix it with other starches or oils, such as breads, pastas, or frying oil. That would make you fall right to sleep at your desk, not to mention that the mix of oils and carbs can produce inflammation in your body.

If you want to enjoy a potato in French fries form you can buy already cut frozen potatoes, or cut your own from fresh potatoes, and air fry them.

Our primary goal here is to make delicious French fries that can help you keep your whole foods, vegan, or vegetarian diet intact and your arteries clear from the combination of the oils and carbs.

If you’re on a restricted caloric diet, you can also benefit from keeping your calories within the limits of the potato, without introducing added calories from oils.

Nutrients in potatoesHere’s what potatoes are all about… Each potato has approximately the following:

  • About 110 calories.
  • 0 grams of fat (and we want to keep it this way for vegans, vegetarians, calorie conscious dieters, and plant based dieters).
  • No cholesterol.
  • About 25 grams of carbohydrates. This high amount of carbs makes it a risky food for people on paleo or ketogenic diets, since most of their calories come from fats and protein.
  • Small amounts of calcium, iron, and fiber.
  • Excellent source of vitamin C (close to 40% of your daily needs).
  • Excellent source of potassium (about 15% of your daily needs and more than the potassium in a banana).
  • Vitamin B6 (10% of your daily needs).

Tips on cooking oil free with an air fryer

Now that we are ready to fall in love with making healthy French fries on a daily basis, here are additional tips you can use around oil.

  • You can use oil spray. You can spray cooking spray with your air fryer instead of using the suggested 1 tablespoon of oil (for easy cleaning and even less fat).
  • You can use parchment paper. Use parchment paper under your food instead of oil (for easy cleaning).
  • It is best NOT to use fatty meats with these products. Foods such as fatty bacon are best cooked with other tools, such as in a microwave, or on a stove. The combination of excess heat and fat can produce a lot of smoke, which can become a potential fire hazard. Check the product’s user manual for instructions and best usage.

How to make the tastiest French fries with an air fryer (Belgian style) 

Belgian FriesPotatoes are comfort foods, don’t you agree? Just have someone bring in some French fries to the office, and observe how the whole staff lights up and searches for the source of the aroma! Ah, French fries. Of course, you will need to get the best air fryer to do the task.

I have not encountered one culture that does not love potatoes or French fries!

  • In French speaking countries, French fries are called “frites” (pronounced freet). If you studied French, then you probably know the potato as “pommes frites”. A lot of people mistake French fries as originally being “French”, but this comfy way of cooking potatoes originated from Belgium, not France… The Belgians can speak French, Dutch, and German.
  • In certain parts of Europe, and especially in Belgium, French fries with amazing dipping sauces are sold in kiosks called “Friterie” (pronounced Freetree) and you can pick and choose a variety of delicious dipping sauces to accompany your snack.
  • French fries are very popular in Belgium, in the north of France, and in The Netherlands and they are absolutely delicious there because they are crisp. There might be other countries that use the same methods as well. The trick of their crispness is to double fry them, but you really don’t need to do that to get the better quality, healthier French fries these days, with no oil. You can use an air fryer and work on getting great dipping sauces to enhance the flavor.
  • Other French names for French fries: Pommes de terre frites, pommes frites, frites, or patates frites. Sometimes they are also called aiguillettes (needle-like) or allumettes (matchstick like), especially when they are very thin and very small.
  • Potatoes made their way from Europe to the U.S. around 1719, when the first patch of potatoes was planted. The state of Idaho, famous for their potatoes, began growing them in 1836 and the rest is history!

Here are some very creative ways of making your French fries taste absolutely delicious before putting them in an air fryer. 

Method #1: Soaking.

One method of making great French fries is to soak them for a while before air frying them.

  • Cut the potatoes into French fries cuts.
  • Soak them in cold water for about 30 minutes to hydrate them.
  • Rinse the potatoes before using them in the air fryer to eliminate starch residue.
  • Place the freshly cut and hydrated French fries inside the air fryer basket and cook them between 18-22 minutes (or check the user manual of your air fryer for best results).
  • Add salt and enjoy!

You can make dips to dip your French fries before devouring them (see our delicious healthy Aioli dipping sauce below), or use ketchup that is not loaded with sugar, and enjoy a healthier version of French fries.

Method #2: Blanching (fast method)

A faster method is to blanch the potatoes for about 4 minutes before preparing them.

Meredith Laurence's air fry recipes cookbook. Check price on Amazon
Meredith Laurence’s air fry recipes cookbook. Check price on Amazon

In her book “Air Fry Everything“, Chef Meredith Lawrence (Blue Jean Chef) talks about her favorite way of preparing potatoes before putting them in the air frying machine: Blanching.

  • She boils water with salt and places the peeled and cut potatoes in the boiling water for about 4 minutes.
  • After that, the potatoes go in the air fryer.

This method is very similar to the way French fries are made in Belgium, where they are double fried, but here we are making a healthier version.

You can experiment with both soaking and blanching methods, and they will both produce delicious French fries, but the blanching method may be more suited for busy people, since it will save about 25 minutes of soaking time.

Now, you don’t really need to use any of these methods with your air fryer, since you can literally empty your frozen French fries bag in the air fryer and cook away, but if you use either soaking or blanching before air frying, you will definitely taste the difference.

How to make a healthy Belgian-style Aioli dipping sauce 

Healthy-Aioli-SauceOf all the times I visited Belgium, and all the dipping sauces I tried, my favorite is by far the classical Belgian Aioli sauce (pronounced ayy-oh-lee).

“Ail” means garlic in French. Belgium has French as well as Flemish communities, and they all love their “frites”… And if you visit Belgium one day, make sure to get their classic meal of “Moules-frites” (French fries and mussels… yum).

Traditionally, this recipe uses either olive oil or mayonnaise, but here… we will have a healthier version with Greek yogurt instead. This sauce mixes the Mediterranean craving for garlic and a savory taste of a creamy sauce, but in our version it will be without the harmful fats that counteract with the carbs found in the potatoes.

Our healthy Aioli dipping sauce uses better ingredients and is fit for kings and queens.

For the healthiest Aioli dipping sauce you will need:

  • 1 cup of plain yogurt. The 150 calories of this batch will be a fraction of the calories you would consume if you use mayonnaise (which is a saving of close to 1,500 calories!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (you can use more or less. I usually use more!)
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Celtic salt. You can use any salt, really, but Celtic salt has better nutrients that work better with the health of your cells.
  • Optional: 1/4 to 1 teaspoon dried dill. Use your preference for the quantity.
  • Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (this will definitely give it a nice kick, but it’s optional).

The method: Don’t complicate this. Blend all the ingredients in your blender. If you don’t have a blender, just crush the garlic using a Ziploc bag and a heavy tool and add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix manually.

When done, cover the bowl and place the mix in the fridge until your French fries are air fried and ready to be devoured. Make sure to make a big batch of sauce and fries, because I assure you, you will want more.

Tips on making the best evenly cooked meats with an air fryer

Is air fried food healthy for cooking meat as well?

If you are not on a restrictive low fat diet or plant-based diet and just don’t want the added oils, air fried foods can include meats as well.

Usually you want to follow the user manual for instructions. It may tell you to avoid cooking bacon and very fatty meats inside the air fryer. You can cook meats, shrimp dishes, chicken wings, and all sorts of animal protein in these air fryers.

cooking meat with an air fryerThese air fryer products are not “fryers” in the sense of a fryer, since we are not using oil. They healthfully mimic the functionality of a fryer with as little damaging effects as possible.

Here are some tips on making great, evenly cooked meats in an air fryer.

  • Poke about 10 slits into your meat before cooking it to make the food cook evenly.
  • You can’t expect these products to produce the same taste as an oil fryer. Remember, there’s NO OIL that is being used as a main ingredient. You must use some herbs and spices to kick the taste a notch. You are trading bad oils for health here.

The bottom line on the benefits of cooking with air fryers

Frying oils and reusing frying oil can lead to carcinogenic effects, including free radicals that can cause cancers.

Using oils to fry foods that are high in carbohydrates (i.e. potatoes or French fries) can lead to clogged arteries, heart disease, and inflammation. This is because you’re combining carbs and fats together.

Are air fryers good for vegans, vegetarians, and plant based dieters? In a nutshell, yes. They can also work for meat eaters, such as those on keto or paleo, and for general use even when you’re not on a diet. If you still don’t have an air fryer, check out our top 5 best air fryers review.

If you look at a cross section of the Japanese culture, they eat a lot of carbohydrates, and not much fat at all. If you also take a look at what the Inuit ate, you will find that they ate a lot of animal products, and not a lot of produce, fruits, or vegetables high in carbohydrates combined with their fatty caribou meat and fats.

The reality is that both ways of eating help in reducing inflammation, because new science has proven the combination of some of the macronutrients can aggravate inflammation. These macronutrients are carbohydrates + fats combined together in one diet regimen.

If you love your carbohydrates, your French fries, potatoes, and foods that are high in carbs, it is best to cook them with very little oil, to no oil at all. This is when you definitely want to use one of the best air fryers.

People often ask… “Are air fryers healthy?” The answer is “yes.” They are much healthier than actually frying foods and can be a great tool for vegans and vegetarians. You can air fry French fries, onion rings, chicken wings and meats. Learn how to make the best French fries and a delicious Aioli dipping sauce without the added fat, and make these staple foods a part of your low fat diet.

Everybody wins with an air fryer and air fried foods are healthy for everyone!

Be well.

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