Coming from the health-conscious camp, I generally eat deep-fried foods in only two scenarios: on a road trip when the only food for miles is from diners or fast-food joints, or on my very special cheat days — because what’s life without the occasional french fry, amiright? But out of all the deep-fried delights, vegan fried pickles are at the top of my cheat day loves.
The best part of fried pickles is that pickles are already a deliciously salty, crispy snack, so frying them is a double bonus — kind of like when you cut into a cake and discover ice cream inside. They’re an extra-special treat, too, because they’re not exactly common on diner and fast-food menus.
Fried pickles should be flavorful and tangy with a little zing. The vegan fried pickles from this recipe have everything you could want: a little beer, a little crunch, a whole lotta zest and a kicky Cajun sauce.
To make these, I set up a dredging station with a bowl of well-seasoned flour. In place of the traditional egg and buttermilk wash, I filled another bowl with a mixture of beer, non-dairy milk, flax seed (for thickness) and arrowroot flour (for extra crispiness). The results are like Pringles, and they’re just as addictive.
The other nice thing about these vegan fried pickles is that they’re small enough to attain deep-fried perfection without a deep fryer. All you need is a wok or a cast-iron pan with a little depth. The Cajun remoulade sauce packs a mildly spicy, wildly flavorful punch. If you aren’t a fan of spicy sauces, though, these fried pickles taste great with vegan ranch, barbecue sauce, or even just ketchup.
Be prepared for this recipe because it does require more ingredients. It’s not as crazy as it looks, though. We promise! There are a lot of spices.
Here’s what you need:
1/2 cup mayo
1 tablespoon German-style or dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
2 cloves finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely minced capers
1 tablespoon finely chopped scallions
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
Light oil for frying (vegetable, sunflower seed or grapeseed)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt (divided into two equal portions)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper (divided into two equal portions)
1 teaspoon garlic powder (divided into two equal portions)
1 teaspoon onion powder (divided into two equal portions)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (divided into two equal portions)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (divided into two equal portions)
1/4 cup beer
1/4 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 heaping tablespoon arrowroot flour
1 16-ounce jar pickle chips
Ok, now that we’ve braced you with your shopping list. Let’s get to cooking. First, make the Cajun remoulade sauce by combining the first 16 ingredients. Let the sauce sit for at least an hour to combine all the flavors.
While your remoulade is chilling, make the pickles. Start by heating the oil over medium-high heat to 375F. Be patient. It can take 10 minutes or more for the oil to heat to this temperature, but slow and steady wins the race so the oil doesn’t overheat.
An easy way to know if the oil is at the correct temperature: Stick a wooden spoon into the hot oil. If it bubbles and sizzles as a french fry would, the oil is ready.
Remove pickle chips from brine and lay on paper towel to dry.
My favorite pickles to use for this recipe are Trader Joe’s Kosher Hot and Spicy Dill Pickle Chips.
Next, set up your dredging station. In small bowl, mix beer, nondairy milk, apple cider vinegar, flax seed, arrowroot flour, and first half-portions of spices until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Let sit for 5–10 minutes.
In second small bowl, mix flour and remaining portions of divided spices until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Dip pickle chip in dry flour-based mixture and shake off excess. Dip in wet beer mixture and then in flour mixture again. Repeat with the remaining pickle chips.
Carefully transfer 10 or 12 pickle chips at a time into hot oil, making sure they don’t stick to each other in initial stages of frying. Fry the pickle chips until they are golden brown. It usually takes anywhere from 90 seconds to 3 minutes.
Remove the fried pickles from the pan using a strainer or slotted spoon to drain excess oil. Transfer the pickles onto a tray lined with paper towels to absorb any extra oil as well.
Salt the chips while they are still hot and serve them with the Cajun remoulade.