If you want delicious, healthy alternatives to quench your crunchy craving, then these Air Fryer Soy Curls that are masquerading as clam strips are for you!
These crispy bites are oil-free, gluten-free, guiltless, and tasty. Plus they’re just so versatile and jazz up any meal!
You may have already made my Southern Fried Vegan Air Fryer Soy Curls and this recipe is just as crunchy.
The coating is a little thicker and more flour based on the vegan clam strips, while it’s more cornmeal style on the southern-style recipe.
But the bottom line is you can mix and match herbs and spices to tailor this dish for your mood!
There’s no added oil but you’ll still get a crispy texture.
What Are Soy Curls?
Soy curls are made by Butler Foods and contain just one ingredient, non-GMO soybeans, and use whole beans.
They have a meaty texture like a chicken strip once reconstituted.
They are my favorite meat substitute, can be stored in your pantry, and are a whole food, easy vegan recipe hack for old family favorites.
Butler Soy Curls cooked in your air fryer is one of the best ways to fix them.
Are TVP and soy curls the same thing?
TVP or textured vegetable protein is not as clean a product as soy curls.
TVP can be genetically modified, but you can often find them labeled as non-GMO or if you are lucky, organic.
If you want crumbles it’s easy to make them from soy curls. You can either crush them dry or reconstitute them and pulse them in a food processor.
Where can you find soy curls?
The company that makes them, Butler Foods, is in the pacific northwest. So, if you live in that area you might find them in local stores and co-ops.
Do I have to cook soy curls?
Since they are dehydrated, crunchy, and don’t have much flavor on their own, cooking is needed!
Usually, you just reconstitute them in vegetable broth or hot water for about 15 minutes. Or until they plump up and look like chicken strips.
Then drain and squeeze out the excess liquid and use them in your favorite recipe.
Another way to cook them is to add them dry to soups and stews with extra water. That way the reconstitute right in the pot and soak up all the flavors.
I put dry soy curls in the slow cooker all the time, just make sure you add enough extra liquid.
What are soy curls made of?
Butler’s soy curls are created by dehydrating soybeans that have been cooked and extruded. They are made from non-GMO soybeans.
Do soy curls go bad? Do you have to refrigerate them?
Because they have no preservatives, the natural oils in the soy curls will go bad. They will have a rancid smell and taste if they are bad.
While you don’t have to refrigerate them, they will last longer in the fridge or freezer. If you notice them going bad fast, try freezing them for months-long storage.
How long do you soak soy curls?
In hot water or broth, it will take about 10 to 15 minutes for them to hydrate. But you can let them soak for much longer.
If you want them ready to go for the next day, soak them, then store them in the fridge until the next day.
Ingredients you need
You’ll start with 2 cups, about ½ a bag of soy curls. Then you will use non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar to make vegan buttermilk for dipping.
Finally, you’ll need the ingredients for the breading starting with gluten-free baking blend, oat flour, or whole wheat pastry flour.
Then add in some nutritional yeast, garlic powder, dulse, nori flakes, or other ground seaweed to make it taste like clams.
How to cook soy curls in the air fryer
Reconstitute the soy curls in a heat-proof pan on the stove and pour boiling water over them. Let them soak for 10 to 13 minutes, or until soft and plump.
Pour into a strainer in your sink to drain, then press the excess water out with a large spoon. Mix the vinegar with the plant-based milk to create a thick buttermilk substitute.
Mix the breading ingredients together well in a small bowl. Add the drained soy curls to a large bowl with the milk mixture. Then toss the wet soy curls to the breading and a handful or two at a time. You want to coat each piece well.
Add some parchment paper to your air fryer. Place the breaded soy curls into your air fryer in a single layer, and cook at 375 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove the parchment, shake and cook for 5 more minutes.
Depending on the size and type of air fryer you have, you may need to do multiple batches. Make sure to not overcrowd your air fryer basket if that’s the kind you have.
Can I bake them in the oven instead?
You sure can. Just preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place the battered soy pieces on a prepared baking sheet – either covered with parchment paper or sprayed with oil if you use oil.
Air fried soy curl variations
There are so many different ways to season soy curls, and the seasoning blend in this recipe is just one way. You can toss them in a sauce, or change up the spice mixture in this recipe.
Try one of these:
- Cajun seasoning blend with fine-ground cornmeal
- Garam Masala and use chickpea flour in the breading
- Italian seasoning
- Old Bay seasoning
- Make a mixture of broth, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and a little maple syrup to make air fryer soy curls jerky!
- Toss in vegan BBQ sauce to make bbq soy curls
- Toss in Buffalo sauce or hot sauce
- Enchilada sauce
- and anything else your imagination comes up with!
More Air Fryer Recipes to Try
- Air Fryer Seitan Vegan Riblets
- Sesame, Ginger and Garlic Air Fryer Edamame
- Vegan Air Fryer French Toast
- Air Fryer Vegan Stuffed Potatoes
- Air Fryer Carrot Cake
- French Fry Po’ Boy
- Air Fryer Salsa Verde
- Vegan Air Fryer Pasta Chips
- Air Fryer Potato Chips
Favorite Soy Curl Recipes to Try
- Pad Thai with Soy Curls
- Oil-Free Vegan Butter Chicken Soy Curls
- Date-Sweetened Teriyaki Soy Curls
- General Tso’s Soy Curls
Amazing Air Fryer Soy Curls Vegan Clam Strips: Gluten-free & Oil-Free
- 2 cups dry soy curl reconstituted and strained (about ½ a package)
- ⅓ cup nondairy milk plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup gluten-free baking blend oat flour, or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dulse nori flakes, or other ground seaweed
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Put the soy curls in a heat-proof pan on the stove and pour the boiling water over them. Let them soak for 5 to 10 minutes, or until soft and plump.
- Pour into a strainer in your sink to drain, then press the extra water out with a large spoon.
- Mix the breading ingredients together well in a small bowl.
- Add the drained soy culls to a large bowl and mix with the milk, then add the breading. You want to coat each piece well.
- Add some parchment paper to your air fryer. Place the breaded soy curls into your air fryer and cook at 375 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove the parchment, shake and cook for 5 more minutes.
1⁄2 cup unsweetened plain vegan yogurt (*use coconut or almond)
1⁄4 cup dill pickle relish 2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp fresh tarragon (or 1⁄2 tsp dried) Mix all the ingredients together. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.