By Ben Abramowitz, Noom Content Writer
A few months back, I took the opportunity here to wax poetic about the air fryer I’d just bought. In case you missed the love fest, here’s a quick recap: compared with a conventional oven, food is ready in half the time or less; my go-to dishes are tastier and more satisfying; and it inspires me to try new things in the kitchen. I’ve made myself some delectable dishes in less time than it takes for takeout to arrive—and today I’m going to share my favorite ones with you.
Here are my 10 favorite air-fried meals, less calorie-dense than anything fried conventionally. Each one can be ready in about 15 minutes or less!
Disclaimer: This list is subject to change as my appliance and I continue experimenting.
- Honey mustard salmon. Look, there’s nothing bad I can say about baked salmon, and no matter how you prepare the fish it’s going to be rich in protein and healthy fatty acids. But the crispiness you’ll achieve by air frying your filet is something that you should try to experience if you can.
- Italian-style chicken breast. At this point, this is a staple for me. After the simplest prep, plop the meat in the air fryer and you’ll get the classic, protein-packed dish with a crunch on the outside and extra-juicy insides.
- Tuna steaks with lime dipping sauce. What’s particularly great about this one is that it shows you just how tasty air-fried foods can be without any seasoning at all. But the dip makes the lean fish even more satisfying.
- Sweet potato fries. This is currently my favorite side dish on our planet. Sometimes, I can’t believe that I’m capable of making fries that satisfy my cravings for fried carbs so nicely. What am I, a restaurant? (Actually, these fries contain a lot less oil than most restaurant fries.)
- Zucchini medallions with Parmesan. Confession: I literally don’t even like zucchini. And yes, I work at Noom. But combine that air-fried crisp with a touch of my favorite cheese, and you might find yourself enjoying anywhere from two to 87 mouthfuls of the nutrient-rich gourd.
- Turkey burgers. Sometimes, nothing is going to make my mouth happier than opening it so wide that it feels like my jaws are unhinging in order to chomp down on a big burger, like some kind of boa constrictor that practices mindful eating. This turkey burger recipe offers tons of lean protein. Plus, you can use frozen patties, which are super-convenient.
- Spicy tofu cubes. Tofu can be hard. Before you say, “I believe the term is firm,” that’s not what I mean—what I mean is that no matter how you season or garnish it, its watery texture can make it difficult to work with and less fun to eat (at least in my experience). Maybe you can guess where this is going: The air fryer gives your antioxidant-rich, jiggly soybean cubes deliciously crispy sides, solving tofu’s problems once and for all. Personally, this is the only way I cook tofu now.
- Asian-style bok choy. To me, bok choy used to sound a bit too farmers market–y for my taste, like it was too much trouble to seek out and prepare considering I wasn’t 100% sure what it was. But thanks to my air fryer, I now frequently pair this crispy, hearty side dish with my favorite proteins. And oh, it’s a vitamin C–rich cabbage that can be grown indoors!
- Honey soy chicken thighs. This chicken is crispy, sweet, savory, and easy. Need I say more? Actually, I’ll say just one more thing: If you’re trying to decrease your sodium intake, try swapping out the soy sauce for these coconut aminos.
- Crispy Brussel sprouts. Are you looking for ways to get your kids more excited about vegetables? Are you secretly looking for ways to get yourself more excited about vegetables? You’re going to want to not-so-secretly make these Brussel sprouts. These fun, forkable hemispheres are crowd-pleasers—and high in fiber, which helps with digestion and satisfaction.
Suffice it to say, my relationship with my air fryer is still going strong. In fact, my feelings of gratitude have only grown. I can’t help but think that an air fryer pairs very well with the Noom Weight program. They both can help you enjoy satisfying, nutritious foods in the context of your real life, while giving you plenty of ways to continue eating your favorites.