ring of onion

Easter is my least favorite eating holiday. It’s always ham or lamb or pasta. Mehh. Even the subordinate Easter staple — the hard-boiled egg — grosses me out. I’m much more interested in a big turkey dinner with stuffing and mashed potatoes, followed by a long nap and an entire weekend to recover. Because I’m so dispassionate about Easter food, I’m focusing this post on my recent trials involving Lent and sacrificing beloved french fries for 40 straight days.

For starters, it was much more difficult than I thought it would be, especially when I’d join my friends at a local restaurant for quizzo every week, and I was surrounded by gigantic piles of salty waffle fries (my favorite). I felt dejected every time I went out to eat — substituting out french fries for some lukewarm soup or some poorly cooked excuse for broccoli. I was in such a state of withdrawal, I would have been willing to eat any or all of the bucket of Chickie’s and Pete’s Crabfries the guy in front of me at the Flyers game dropped on the ground.

Lent may have brought me [almost literally] to my knees this year, but sacrificing fried taters (yes, I avoided potato chips, too) obviously had its health benefits, and it also had me exercising a bit of creativity when it came to my casual side dishes. And thus, I give you baked barbecue onion rings (adapted from Recipe Girl).

These are the perfect complement to a burger or sandwich, and pack much more flavor than your typical onion ring. The barbecue sauce base can be in the flavor of your choosing, so experiment with smoky and sweet. If you don’t have panko crumbs in your pantry, I would highly recommend buying some. Panko crumbs are larger and flakier, and crisp better because they don’t hold as much grease. I just can’t see these being as good without them. The best part about this recipe? No deep frying required. Hooray, semi-healthy!

1 c. barbecue sauce, any flavor
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tbs. flour
2 c. panko (add more if mixture is skimping)
2 sweet red onions, sliced into rings 

Whisk together BBQ sauce, egg and flour. Pour panko into separate bowl. Using tongs to avoid a mess, dip each onion slice into the sauce mix, then coat with crumbs. Place on a sprayed baking sheet. Before placing in oven, lightly spray tops of rings with cooking spray for added crunch. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes, flipping rings once during cook time.

Total time? 7 minutes prep, 12 minutes cook.
Cost? $1.25 sweet red onions, $1.50 barbecue sauce, $2 panko crumbs.
Overall success relative to expect? 9 out of 10. I didn’t have the highest hopes for these because I’m so used to fast-food onion rings and their thick coatings, and I didn’t think this would stand up. Not only was this a healthier alternative, but there was an incredible amount of flavor. I used a honey BBQ sauce, so next time I’ll go smoky. I’ll also make sure I cut the onion slices a bit thicker so they hold their shape a little better. The biggest drawback (other than crying like a baby whilst slicing onions) was that my house smelled like onion for approximately three days. Sorry, roomies!


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