Vegan Mozzarella Sticks

Guest post by Amanda Spinosa

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One of the first questions I am always asked when someone finds out I’m vegan is “Don’t you miss ____?” And the short answer is no. This is often a surprising answer because A. “How can you live without cheese?!” and B. I am a born and raised New Yorker living in a multi-cultural foodist’s mecca.

However, there are some foods that I don’t miss in a traditional sense, but rather the personal associations I have with them or the feelings I get from eating them, and one of those is mozzarella sticks. It’s one of the ultimate junk foods for people of all ages, and can make the worst marinara sauce taste great. I went to Champ’s Diner in Brooklyn, and to my obnoxious delight, they had mozzarella sticks on the menu! For me, vegan cheese is a hit or miss, so I was skeptical to say the least. To make a long story short, they were out of this world and I knew I had to try to replicate them. Here’s my recipe for delicious vegan mozzarella sticks
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 block vegan mozzarella*
  • 1/2 C flour + 1/4 C
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 C vegan seasoned Italian bread crumbs**
  • 1 C panko
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Neutral frying oil
* Although we all love Miyoko’s mozzarella, it’s too soft so I opted for Follow Your Heart
**Most seasoned Italian breadcrumbs contain milk, so be careful! If you can’t find vegan, just use panko in its place and give it some extra seasoning
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METHOD:

  1. Mix 1/2 C flour, water and corn starch in a large bowl to create a batter, then on a separate plate combine the breadcrumbs, herbs and spices. Place the remaining 1/4 C flour into a ziplock bag and set aside.
  2. Cut the mozzarella block into 1/2 inch sticks – I very annoyingly ended up with nine, so after it was fried I immediately ate it to make it an even number.
  3. Place all mozzarella pieces into the ziplock bag with the flour and give it a good shake to ensure they’re all evenly coated.
  4. Shaking off the excess flour, one at a time, dip each piece into the batter and allow the excess to drip off. Toss it in the breadcrumbs, leaving no breadless spots.
  5. Repeat step four until each mozzarella stick is breaded, lay them out on a small cookie sheet and place it in the freezer for at least one hour. I would imagine these can be prepped the night before.
  6. When it comes time to cook them, if you’re like me and don’t have a deep fryer, heat an inch of neutral oil (I used canola) in a deep pot. To see if it’s hot enough I like to throw in a few bread crumbs to see if they sizzle right away.
  7. Once hot, fry mozzarella sticks in batches for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown and a tiny bit of melted cheese peeks out, then place on a paper towel to drain off the excess oil. Keeping the oil hot is what keeps them from falling apart.
Serve immediately with hot marinara sauce. The cheese stretches like the real thing, so you’ll want to show it off to everyone. If you’re like me, it serves one, but I guess it could serve two people if you really want it to.
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