I’ve been curious about the air fryer craze ever since it began. I often see one of my favorite family chefs, Catherine McCord (@weelicious), using one for her weeknight meals. And I like the fact that using an air fryer means your food’s not deep-fried in fat or oil.
Now, I am lover of comfort foods, but for most people that includes fried foods. It’s not that I don’t like fried foods, but I’ve always had a hard time digesting foods that are heavy in oils. They’re just difficult to enjoy because I always feel sick afterwards.
Since my daughter, Jude, is very much like me when it comes to her digestive system, and because she’s also sensitive to dairy—and some fried foods are dredged in buttermilk—air frying sounded like a great solution!
Making food in an air fryer would be a way to show Jude that she can eat things other kids eat without all the stomach upset!
Being a non-dairy, non-meat-eating kiddo doesn’t leave a lot of options for Jude when we go to public events or even family and friend gatherings.
I like to find ways for her to enjoy the same, or similar, foods that people around us are eating so she doesn’t always feel like she’s missing out.
While I realize it’s the healthier foods that matter anyway, she’s still a small kid who doesn’t always understand why she’s not eating what everyone else is; it’s hard when she notices her food is different.
Solidarity is a wonderful thing to have with others when sharing food and quality time together!
So I decided to make Jude her first ever “fried” cheese sticks. Because she’s dairy-free, she has never had a mozzarella stick.
But mozzarella sticks are a much-loved kid food staple!
So I got to work finding a way to make some “cheese” sticks that were totally vegan and still very delicious.
I was happy with what I came up with, and best of all, it’s a super simple ingredient list!
The total time spent making the cheese sticks isn’t as fast as some air fryer recipes, since this recipe requires an hour or more of freezing time, but, I mean, we get to eat cheese sticks!
So I’ll trade the time for the taste!
I hope you decide to try these for your next fun get together, game night, or movie night!
(Vegan) “Fried” Cheese Sticks
- 1½ cups non-dairy milk (I used oat milk)
- 1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
- ¼ cup finely grated vegan Violife Parmesan cheese (optional)
- One 7-ounce package vegan Violife mature cheddar cheese slices, stacked + sliced into ¼ to ½-inch “sticks” (see pictures above)
- Sea salt
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil to place the cheese sticks on for freezing.
- Add the milk to a shallow tray or bowl—just deep enough to dip and cover the cheese sticks.
- Add the bread crumbs and parmesan (if desired) to another tray or bowl and mix together until combined.
- Dip each cheese strip into the milk to coat it, then roll the cheese strip in the bread crumb mixture and coat it completely. Repeat this step with all cheese strips.
- Place each coated cheese strip onto the prepared baking sheet and then place the baking sheet in the freezer. Allow the cheese strips to freeze for at least one hour.
- Set the air fryer to 380°F. Place the frozen cheese sticks in the fryer basket and cook for about 10 minutes. Depending on your air fryer, you can check the cheese sticks after 6 minutes and flip them if needed.
- Season with sea salt to taste, and serve warm with marinara or pizza sauce for dipping.