Crispy fried artichoke hearts are a wonderful vegan appetizer for a romantic evening for two or as a starter to a dinner party. Serve them with garlic and lemon aioli for dunking.
Thank you to GoWISE for sponsoring today’s post! The content, photos, and opinions expressed are fully my own.
For many people, Valentine’s Day is all about sweets. There are chalky heart-shaped candies that say Be Mine, and heart-shaped boxes filled with delicate chocolate truffles.
While I have nothing against sweets, the way to my heart is through finger foods. Canapés, crostini, and vegan charcuterie boards spell romance to me.
After all, finger foods are inherently romantic. They don’t require fussy cutlery. It’s all hands-on and tactile.
Vegan fried artichoke hearts
Still, you don’t have to give up on hearts altogether. These fried artichoke hearts would be a wonderful starter for your Valentine’s Day gathering – whether it’s an intimate dinner or a Galentine’s Day party with your pals.
David and I had a head start on Valentine’s Day this past weekend when I made these vegan fried artichokes in the air fryer.
They are battered and then dipped in panko bread crumbs that have been spiced with basil, oregano, and paprika. The batter gets wonderfully crisp in the air fryer, and it really grabs a hold of the artichokes.
I served them with garlic and lemon aioli for a fried artichoke hearts dipping sauce.
My love affair with artichokes has been going on for decades, and it borders on obsession. I love them in spinach artichoke dip, added to pesto, as the final touch to artichoke crostini, or thrown into hummus.
But David tends to be indifferent about artichokes. The inherent brininess of jarred artichoke hearts doesn’t speak to him in the same way that it does me.
That changed with these vegan fried artichokes, though. He said it’s easily his favorite way of eating artichoke hearts, and that the crisp, flavorful coating balances the briny interior. The flavor of the artichoke hearts pops against the savory breading. He likened it to jalapeño poppers, except with artichoke hearts as the filling.
GoWISE Air Fryer XL
For these fried artichokes hearts, I turned to my favorite easy cooking method – the air fryer. I’ve been using a GoWISE air fryer for over a year now, and it gets daily use in my house.
I originally purchased a smaller sized air fryer, because we’re only a household of two humans. However, sometimes I’ve really wished I had a larger one.
Like any cooking method, you get better crispy results if you don’t overfill it. For example, if you overfill a skillet, a stir-fry doesn’t brown as well. And if you overfill a baking sheet, vegetables don’t roast as well.
In the same way, if you overfill an air fryer, it stops the air from flowing as freely, and you don’t get that beautiful crispiness. So there have been times when I’ve wanted to make multiple dishes in the air fryer or a bigger batch of something, and I’ve wished that I opted for a larger size.
Well, as luck would have it, GoWISE reached out to me about their Air Fryer XL.
The basket holds 5.8 quarts as opposed to my original air fryer, which holds 3.7 quarts. The air really whips through it, and I’m able to make larger batches of things when needed.
(Don’t worry, though. You can also cook smaller batches too. If you want one spring roll or air fryer baked potato, for example, you can still put it in there with nothing else – no problem.)
Even though the basket is larger, the Air Fryer XL doesn’t take up that much more room on the counter. In fact, since I got it about a month ago, I’ve left my original air fryer on the counter as well.
There have been a number of occasions when I’ve come home ravenously hungry, and just popped vegan chick’n strips in one, got them started, and then added broccoli florets to the other a few minutes later. I’m loving the convenience of two!
Plus, how cute is that chili red color of the air fryer?
Fried artichoke hearts recipe notes
For this recipe, it’s best to use artichoke hearts that come from a water-packed jar. I often enjoy oil-packed artichoke hearts in recipes, but they wouldn’t work particularly well here because the oil would keep the batter from sticking.
Make sure to dry the water-packed artichoke hearts thoroughly before breading.
These fried artichokes are made in the air fryer with just a spritz of oil, but they can be made oil-free if you prefer.
While the lemon garlic aioli can be eaten right away, it’s better once the flavors have melded. The garlic mellows and incorporates with the vegan mayonnaise.
So if you have time, plan on making the aioli the day before you’re serving the fried artichoke hearts.
Also, the fried artichokes reheat beautifully in the air fryer. So if you want to make a bunch before a party, you can just reheat them in the air fryer once guests arrive. That makes for some very low stress entertaining!
Fried artichoke hearts in the air fryer + vegan aioli
For air fried artichoke hearts
- 14 artichoke hearts from water-packed jar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 6 Tablespoons water + 2 more Tablespoons if needed
- 6 Tablespoons panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- Spritz organic canola oil optional
For vegan lemon garlic aioli
- 3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon granulated onion
- Pinch salt
- Remove artichoke hearts from water-packed jar and give each one a gentle squeeze to remove excess liquid. Lay the artichoke hearts on a clean towel to gently dry them.
- Now it's time to make a breading station for the artichoke hearts. In a cereal or soup bowl, use a fork or whisk to combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, pinch of salt, and 6 Tablespoons of water. After the batter is mixed, slowly add 1 or 2 more Tablespoons of water, as needed. You want the batter to have the consistency of pancake batter.
- Then on a dinner plate, combine panko bread crumbs, dried basil, dried oregano, paprika, granulated garlic, and a pinch of salt.
- One at a time, dip each artichoke heart into the batter and fully coat it. Tap off any excess batter. Then dredge it in the panko bread crumb mixture until it's covered. Put the artichoke heart into air fryer basket. Continue breading each artichoke heart until they are finished. Lightly spritz the breaded artichoke hearts with oil (optional). Then put the air fryer basket back into the air fryer.
- Air fry at 360 degrees for 8 minutes, stopping once to flip the artichoke hearts. Remove from air fryer and serve with vegan aioli.
To make vegan aioli
- Combine vegan mayonnaise, minced garlic, lemon juice, granulated onion, and pinch of salt in a blender. You may need to stop once or twice to scrape down the sides until it's fully incorporated. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt, if needed. (If you don't have a blender, the lemon garlic aioli can be made in a small bowl. Just a spoon or fork to mix it. However, it is lighter and airier in the blender, and the garlic is more broken down and blended throughout.)
- The aioli can be eaten right away, but it tastes best after the flavors have melded. If you have the time, move the aioli to a covered container and refrigerate for a day.
This is a sponsored post with a brand that I use in my own home. Posts like these help me keep fresh recipes coming your way!