CookingLight diet CookingLight diet
Photo: Jason Wallis

We took that yummy Pinterest recipe you've been seeing, and made it lighter—without losing flavor.

Zee Krstic
March 16, 2018
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You may or may not be on the official pickle train that has rolled through many kitchens (and social feeds!) over the last year, but if there's one dish that might get you to hop aboard, it's a plate of piping hot fried pickles.

Foodies and home cooks are picking up on one of the best ways to enjoy this sour staple thanks to a simple recipe gone viral.

Blogger All She Cooks published a copycat recipe of the fried pickles available at fast-casual chain Texas Roadhouse: It's since gone straight bananas—Pinterest users have saved and pinned this recipe more than 100,000 times, according to Refinery29.

The recipe is enticing. It only takes 20 minutes to whip up (that's after All She Cooks walks you through how to create your own pickles). But while traditional deep-fried pickles may make a delicious rare treat, the recipe is too indulgent to keep in regular rotation: 267 calories for a serving isn't so bad, but the higher fat intake and 764mg of sodium are of concern.

Photo: Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Buy It: Philips Airfryer

We had an idea on how to make this dish just as sinfully delicious but a little more health-friendly—with one of 2018's hottest new additions in our kitchens, the air fryer.

After all, we've transformed a fair amount of classic comfort foods into better-for-you options using the air fryer: like our loaded cheesy fries; stuffed calzones; chocolate-covered churros; and even a classic glazed donut.

Gina DeSimone

Robin Bashinsky, a Cooking Light recipe developer and all-around star of Homemade vs. the Internet, said the first thing you tackle when approaching air-fried pickles is the shape of the pickle itself.

While the original recipe calls for cooks to slice pickles into bite sized portions, Bashinsky advises you to do that afterwards—split your pickle into quarter-sized spears in order to maximize the limited space in your air fryer. If you were to try and fry up pickle chips, you'd probably have to do multiple batches to get enough for a whole party, as All She Cooks notes in her recipe.

You'll also have to change the way you coat your pickles for frying—flour-based mixtures don't hold up in an air fryer as well, Bashinsky says.

Reach for a sodium-free mix of panko breadcrumbs, or consider an alternative to breadcrumbs altogether, like this chickpea-based coating.

Getty Images: Sfocato

Choose either a diet-friendly dijon mustard or canola-based mayonnaise to thin out with some water to act as a bonding agent for the pickle itself, and dredge your pickle spears right before you toss them into your air fryer.

RELATED: Baked Pickle Chips

Using a mere fraction of oil that you would normally use will help reduce the dietary impact of this delectable appetizer, as well as paring down calories and sodium levels in the breading and coating mixture.

This 20-minute appetizer is definitely the perfect iteration of the pickle trend, and with the help of an air fryer, healthy eaters don't need to feel left out!

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