Super Bowl Snack Idea: Oven “Fried” Pickles

pickles 4Are you gearing up for the big game this weekend?  Anyone throwing a big Super Bowl bash?  I’m sure some of you out there are putting together your shopping lists and looking for some simple ideas for party food.  Amongst all the chips and dips and store-bought snackies, these delicious, crispy coated pickle spears will stand apart – and probably won’t last long.

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Serve them alongside a tasty vegan ranch dipping sauce, and these finger-food friendly “fried” pickles will be snatched up before you can say Go Seahawks! (or Go Patriots!)  Honestly, I’m more apt to watch the Kitten or Puppy Bowl.  Go Kittens!

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Although these pickles are baked in the oven, you’ll swear they were dunked in the deep fryer.  While I wouldn’t go so far as to claim these appetizers are beauty food, they certainly are a healthier option for your gathering than the traditional party fare.  Plus, they’re vegan and can be made gluten free, meaning everyone can enjoy.  When I think of fun, novelty, party foods, fried pickles are probably in my top five favorites.  If you love pickles like I do, then you will adore these crunchy spears

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The first time I ever tried a fried pickle, was years ago during a trip to one of my favorite places in Michigan, Mackinac Island.  I was visiting with my sisters, aunt, and mom for our big autumn girl’s weekend.  There are no cars allowed on the island, and if you want to explore, you rent a bike.  One day after bicycling all over the island, up and down hills, and through rough mountain bike paths, my sisters and I stopped at a little snack stand. It was cold, and I was famished.  I scanned the menu for something warm.  I thought I had settled on a hot pretzel, and then my sister ordered fried pickles.  Fried pickles?!  I was intrigued!  Not only was it pickles, which I love, and breaded/fried (which I also loved, at the time), but they came with ranch dressing for dipping.  I quickly switched my order!  I was not disappointed.  They were crispy, seasoned, and piping hot.  Dipped in the cool ranch, they were colossal!

fried pickes

I tried several other fried pickles after that, but it has been a long time.  And none were ever as good as those first ones!  For some reason I started thinking about them the other day.  I wanted a fried pickle, and not just any fried pickle, I wanted a Mackinac Island fried pickle!  I decided that coming up with a healthy Super Bowl party appetizer would be a perfect excuse to make some!  Most recipes call for dipping the pickles in an egg-based batter and then rolling in breadcrumbs and frying in oil.  I decided to replace the egg batter with a chickpea flour and almond milk mixture.  I attempted several different crispy coating ideas, using everything from cornmeal to coconut flour. Finally I landed on an authentic tasting coating using breadcrumbs, almond meal, and a variety of spices.  In order to give it that crispy fried taste, I drizzled in just 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil into the breadcrumb mixture before coating the spears and baking for 10 minutes. While this step is optional, I would recommend it for the most authentic flavor, and it keeps the coating from tasting too dry.  These pickles came out perfect, and despite being baked, were every bit as good as I remember those Mackinac Island fp’s.

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If you’re looking for a tasty bite for your party spread that isn’t loaded with gobs of cheese, oil, or salt, then definitely give these oven fried pickles a try!  Your guests will thank you.  Go Kittens!

Oven-Fried Pickles (Dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, gluten-free)

Makes about 12 spears

Ingredients:

4-5 large dill pickles, quartered lengthwise

Crispy Coating

1/2 cup whole grain or gluten free breadcrumbs (I just toasted a couple slices of bread and processed them in the food processor until they were course crumbs)

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp almond meal (I ground mine myself from raw almonds)

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp dried parsley

1/4 tsp dried dill

1/4 tsp salt

pinch of fresh round black pepper

1/2 tsp olive oil, optional

Batter

1/3 cup almond milk

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp chickpea flour

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp onion powder

pinch of nutritional yeast

dash of dried dill

pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Grease a cookie sheet.

2.  Combine crispy coating ingredients in a shallow bowl, drizzling the 1/2 tsp of olive oil over the combined items last.  Whisk batter ingredients very well in a separate bowl.

3.  Pat pickle spears dry with a paper towel.  One at a time, dredge the spears through the batter mixture, then roll them in the coating and place them on the greased cookie sheet.

4. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes, then flip the spears and bake for another 4-5 minutes, until golden.

5. Serve with store-bought or homemade vegan ranch dressing.  Yum!

 

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