Indian Inspired Side Dish #1: Tender and delicious healthy Onion Bhajis (VG, GF, Oil-Free)

Something that I have found myself missing and craving considerably during lockdown has been good quality Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine. There are a couple of places in our town and nearby where you can get a decent, well spiced and tasty meal but via a takeaway it’s never quite the same.

Your poppadums are broken, mango chutney has leaked everywhere in the bag, there’s a random bag of salad that has no business being there – and saddest of all, the Onion Bhajis are cold, wet and floppy.

I’ll wait and give you a chance to stop giggling at cold, wet and floppy.

I’ve wanted to make my own onion bhajis for the longest time but the problem is they’re… well, not the healthiest food going. Not even a little bit. Mostly thanks to the oil of course they’re a deep fried delicacy and often, even at classy restaurants I can probably rub a couple against a wall and it will go translucent!

Fortunately though I found a few ideas online and we had already agreed to do an Indian-inspired curry night so it just seemed natural to make some! I do have a couple of tips though, and they are pretty important:

1 – COOK YOUR ONIONS, don’t get sloppy – these onions need to be cooked really well, nice and soft and ready to go. They will be unforgiving and bitter if you get bored or lazy.

2 – They are not going to want to leave the baking paper. I’m sorry but that’s how it is. You’re going to need some patience and they are going to rip a bit each time you flip them.

3 – Mix it up. Feel free to play around with the spices, I added extra ground turmeric and cumin to mine, because I love a great color and the taste of cumin!

If you hold out though I promise it will be worth it, as you’ll start out with this:

…and end up with 9 of these little beauties:

Heavenly oil-free Onion Bhajis.

  • Servings: 9-10 Pieces
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Your favorite takeaway side dish, reimagined for a healthier diet!



  • 3 medium-large Brown or White Onions (somewhere between 500-600g total), chopped into thin half-moon slices
  • 1 heaped tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 100g Gram Flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Medium Curry Powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • Filtered water, for the mixture


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C (375F) and line a baking tray with non-stick paper
  2. Pre-heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium temperature and once hot enough start cooking the onions – cook them for a little bit longer than when they become translucent (~8-10mins), add water if they start to stick.
  3. In the meantime, add all of the spices and the tomato paste to the gram flour and then gradually mix in water with a whisk until it all comes together in a thick, almost pancake or smooth peanut butter consistency (see pic above)
  4. Once cooked, add the onions to the gram flour and spices mixture and stir well to evenly distribute the onions
  5. Using two tablespoons, measure out 9-10 evenly sized portions onto your baking tray, being sure to leave enough space between them
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip the bhajis to cook for another 15 minutes on the other side – be warned, they will not want to flip, so use your best methods of spatula-based persuasion with them!
  7. Flip one further time and bake for 5-10 more minutes until edges are slightly blackened and crispy, then serve hot, or allow to cool and store in the fridge for up to a couple of days.
  8. Would be tasty served alongside some delicious curry and with a side of garlic yogurt dip!

Buon Appetito!

The world is a pretty crazy place at the moment so hopefully this post inspires you, and we would love to hear what you’re cooking and also we’d love to see your attempts at the above dish and how you change it to be yours, so tweet us @rockinblues and @PlantBasedSQL on Twitter and let us know your snug story!