Since the beginning of the pandemic, people have discovered new hobbies and created DIY projects at home with gardening being one of them.

These newly green thumbs planted raised-bed, in-ground and container gardens with all sorts of beautiful summer vegetables that brought me back to my childhood.

My grandmother had a humble in-ground tomato garden in her Orange Mound backyard along with a pear and an apple tree. Every summer, we would pick a few green tomatoes before they would ripen, can chowchow or make fried green tomatoes for breakfast.

Of course, her fried green tomatoes weren’t the healthiest by dredging them in white all-purpose flour, buttermilk or regular milk, eggs, white cornmeal and then deep frying them in vegetable oil, but they sure were good! Living in the South, we love our fried foods, but our hearts not so much. Now that I’m older and more health conscious, I still want to carry on the tradition of cooking my grandmother’s fried green tomatoes without raising my LDL or “bad” cholesterol or increasing my risk for heart disease or stroke. I knew there had to be a better way for me to prepare this delicious recipe while still preserving the memory of having breakfast with my grandmother.

Air fryers appear to be the newest kitchen gadget found in thousands of Southern homes when it comes to wanting to cook and eat fried foods minus the oil. While I love finding new gadgets that will save me time or calories in the kitchen, I’m still an old-school cook and will use either my oven or toaster oven for oven frying.

sept food

Panko Breaded Oven Fried Green Tomatoes with Sriracha Aioli

This month, I’ve created a healthier recipe for my grandmother’s fried green tomatoes you can prepare either in your air fryer, oven or toaster oven that’s still flavorful and crispy without the oil. Paired with my sriracha aioli dipping sauce, these panko breaded oven fried green tomatoes are the perfect appetizer before any meal, breakfast or brunch. Your heart and taste buds will thank you for it. Enjoy! Live and be well.

Sriracha aioli

3 tbsp olive oil mayonnaise

1/4 tsp sriracha sauce

1/4 tsp minced garlic

1/4 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp raw honey

1/4 tsp chili garlic sauce

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix ingredients until well blended. Season to taste. Refrigerate until use.

Panko breaded oven-fried green tomatoes

2 medium unripened green tomatoes sliced

1/2 cup plain Japanese panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 eggs beaten

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp Kroger zesty table blend

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp paprika

Olive oil cooking spray Mixed greens or arugula and chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash and cut tomatoes into 1/2 slices. Discard the ends. Pat the tomatoes dry. Mix all the seasonings in a bowl and season the tomatoes evenly on both sides. Create a dredging station with a shallow plate of whole wheat flour, bowl of beaten eggs, and a swallow plate for the panko bread crumbs. Dredge the tomatoes evenly on both sides in the flour. Shake off any excess. Then, dredge them into the eggs and shake off any excess. Finally, dredge and coat them evenly into the panko bread crumbs. Place them 1 inch apart on a lined baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil lightly sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. Do not spray the parchment paper with oil. Gently spray the top of the tomatoes. Bake on 400°F for 30 mins. Using a spatula, gently flip them over after 15 mins and lightly spray the other side with olive oil cooking spray. Cook until done or desired golden brown. Place them onto a plate of mixed greens or arugula. Garnish on top with chopped parsley. Serve with sriracha aioli.

Enjoy!

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