Vegetarian Journal 2008 Issue 1

Vegan Cooking Tips

All About Oven-Frying

By Chef Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD, CCE

WHAT ATTRACTS US SO MUCH TO FRIED foods? Is it the crispy on the outside, steamy on the inside? Is it the taste, the texture, the color? Whatever it is, it keeps many of us coming back for more and more.

We all know that we should keep our indulgence in fried delights to a minimum. But if you can't stay away from fried fare, there's a healthier approach to preparing these favorite foods. Anything that you can deep-fry—potatoes, vegetables, and even breads—you can also oven-fry. It just takes a bit more cooking time. Oven-frying will spare some of the calories and fat while maintaining the taste, texture, and color of deep-fried foods. Plus, oven-frying will save you some money, as you won't have to purchase those big bottles of oil. And clean-up time will decrease, too.

Here are some oven-frying success tips:

Here are some ideas for simple dishes that will help you get started:


Prepare and cool mashed potatoes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll cold mashed potatoes into Tablespoonsized balls. Next, roll the potato balls first in bread crumbs; then in soymilk seasoned with onion powder, salt, and pepper; and then again in bread crumbs. Place the potato balls on a baking sheet and spray lightly with vegetable oil. Bake for approximately 5-10 minutes, depending on your oven, and turn several times so the potatoes bake evenly. Remove the potatoes from the oven, transfer to a serving dish, and eat immediately.


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut extra firm tofu into 1-inch cubes. Roll in nutritional yeast that has been flavored with dried parsley and black pepper. Dip the tofu into rice milk and then into bread crumbs or crushed corn flakes. Place tofu on a baking sheet and spray lightly with oil. Bake for approximately 5- 10 minutes, depending on your oven, and turn several times so the tofu bakes evenly. Remove the tofu from the oven, transfer to a serving dish, and eat immediately.


Say that you have partially cooked 'hard' vegetables, such as white or sweet potatoes, carrots, or beets, and don't feel like breading them. Instead, you can slice them, spray them with vegetable oil, and sprinkle on some seasonings. Oven-fry at 450 degrees for 5 minutes or until hot and crispy. Serve immediately.

Excerpts from the 2008 Issue 1

Cheesecake: Not Just for Dessert Anymore.
Chef Nancy Berkoff makes cheesecake part of any course.
An Updated Guide to Soy, Rice, Nut, and Other Non-Dairy Milks
Dietetic Intern Stephanie Gall, MS, RD, brings you all the facts.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About L-Cysteine But Were Afraid to Ask
Jeanne Yacoubou, MS, takes a closer look at the amino acid.
Vegan Fare from India
Sunita Pant Bansal shares some basic dishes from her country.
Veggie-Friendly Literature for Kids
Check out recommendations from The VRG Parents' E-Mail List.
Vegan Rocker Ted Leo Tours the World
Bobby Allyn interviews the indie rock veteran and vegan activist.
Nutrition Hotline
What are plant sterols, and what effects do they have on the human diet?
Note from the Coordinators
Letters to the Editors
Notes from The VRG Scientific Departmentm>
Veggie Bits
Scientific Update
Book Reviews
Vegetarian Action
Everything Natural, by Bobby Allyn

The Vegetarian Resource Group Logo © 1996- The Vegetarian Resource Group
PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203
(410) 366-8343   Email:

The contents of this website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

Web site questions or comments? Please email