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If you’re new to the world of air frying your food, welcome! Your life is about to change, in a good way. While air fryer sales have risen over the last few years, largely in part to consumers cooking at home more during the pandemic, it’s without question that this trendy appliance will continue to find a home in kitchens across America.
From making breakfast staples like bacon and eggs to quick-and-easy burgers to gourmet steak and shrimp, there are literally very few things the air fryer cannot do. The air fryer is certainly a compact, dreamboat of an appliance for the modern-day foodie.
With that said, I’ve seen that people new to air fryer cooking tend to play it safe and throw simple, pre-made frozen foods into their appliances. While the air fryer can certainly help you achieve that crisp texture you crave and significantly reduce the amount of oil needed to cook these items, it can do much more than frozen food fare.
I asked two air fryer experts who also happen to be registered dietitian nutritionists what their favorite (healthy) no-recipe recipes are to cook in the air fryer and they’re sharing the deets below! Remember to save this page so you have an easy reference when you’re trying to eat healthy fast this week.
Quick Veggie Chips
Culinary dietitian Wendy Jo Peterson, author of Meal Prep For Dummies and co-author of the Air Fryer Cookbook For Dummies, shares that air fried crispy kale chips (or whichever green is your fancy, swiss chard, beet greens, mustard greens, etc.) make a fun, festive, and flavorful green chip.
To make them, she suggests washing 4 to 5 large kale leaves under running water, removing the thick stems, patting dry with a clean towel then tearing them into medium size pieces. Toss kale pieces with a teaspoon of soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free version), ½ teaspoon of sesame oil, and 2 teaspoons of avocado oil. Air fryer at 375 degrees F for 3 to 4 minutes. Enjoy them with your favorite dip!
Build-Your-Own Egg Rolls
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, cookbook author of the Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook and the Healthy Vegan Air Fryer Cookbook, and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., shares that building your own egg rolls using what you have on hand in your refrigerator to help use up those proteins and veggies that are just about past their prime.
Simply add cooked veggies and proteins into an egg roll wrapper, roll, and lightly spray the outside with your favorite cooking oil to prevent sticking to the basket. Air fry at 300 degrees F for 5 to 6 minutes until golden brown. Serve with desired sauce and enjoy!
Quick & Easy Shrimp
Looking for a quick protein dish? Peterson suggests defrosting frozen shrimp in cold running water and patting dry. Mix together 1 cup of semolina flour with 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, a pinch of crushed red pepper, and ½ teaspoon of garlic powder. Toss the shrimp with the semolina flour mixture, pressing it into the shrimp. Spray the air fryer basket with your favorite cooking oil (like avocado or olive oil).
Place the shrimp in the air fryer basket and cook at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes or until pink and firm to touch. Serve with marinara sauce or squeeze with lemon and enjoy!
Breakfast or Lunch Chimichangas
For a fast and satisfying breakfast or lunch on the go, Peterson recommends topping a whole grain tortilla with canned beans and a little sprinkle of cheese. Fold one edge up, then the corners in and roll into a burrito. Spray the burrito with avocado or olive oil to prevent sticking to the air fryer basket, then bake at 400 degrees F for 5 to 7 minutes, or until outer edges appear lightly browned. Serve with salsa, plain Greek yogurt, and mashed avocado.
Getting more omega-3s into your diet has never been this easy! Angelo-White recommends popping a salmon filet in an air fryer basket set at 350 degrees F and lightly sprayed with your favorite cooking oil. Cook for 6 minutes, then brush with your favorite sauce, like BBQ, teriyaki, or chili sauce, then return to cook for 3 to 5 more minutes until done.
If cooking seafood is still new to you, don’t worry! You can easily take a thermometer and check the internal temperature. Salmon is cooked through when the internal temp reads 145 degrees F.