Halogen countertop ovens are for vegetarians too!
Our halogen oven - great for vegetarians
The halogen oven we have is one of the most useful items in our kitchen. Or maybe it's the most useful. It's certainly used every day and yes, it's perfect for vegetarians.
I'd seen them for ages and thought how useful and money-saving they seemed to be but almost always, they are shown with meat dishes or a chicken in them. This somehow made me think that they were primarily for roasts but I was very wrong.
They're perfect for vegetarian and vegan recipes too.I think that most of us today are concerned about saving energy and this was one of the features that attracted me. They're available in different price ranges too; the lower priced versions are very inexpensive, particularly when you consider the savings in electricity. I love the flexibility too.
We've only had ours for a few weeks and I'm still experimenting with recipes but everything I've tried so far has been delicious and wonderful. I'll be adding recipes and linking them here but today, I want to let you know about the appliance itself and how useful it can be - even for vegetarians!
I have a very tiny kitchen but even so, this appliance takes up very little space on the countertop. And storing it? I've no idea because we use it every day! Ours takes up about 12 x 12 inches of countertop space (smaller ones are available) which is much less than a microwave or toaster oven.
I realized that the manufacturers probably show the appliance with chickens because this demonstrates the size and the capacity of the interior! If you don't eat meat, don't be put off by the images - scroll down to find out for about why these products are great for vegetarians and vegans.
Ways to use your appliance
This appliance takes the place of a regular stove, a broiler, a toaster, a steamer and even a microwave. Although it doesn't cook foods quite as quickly as a microwave, it's still faster than a regular one and only uses a fraction of the power.
- I've never had a proper vegetable steamer and before I got the this I would improvise with a metal colander over a pan of boiling water. Not very successful! But we all know that steaming is a great way to prepare vegetables and this little machine does the job beautifully.
- We both love pies such as Guinness and mushroom pie (I admit that I cheat and use frozen pastry). They cook much quicker than they would in the regular oven. We also buy some lovely frozen cheese and onion pasties occasionally and these cook from their frozen state in about fifteen minutes - half the time as the big oven.
- Almost every day we have cheese, fruit and salad for lunch. Sometimes we have fresh bread and on other days, toast. Don't ask me how (something to do with air circulation I believe) but the bread slices toast on both sides using this appliance. We don't have a toaster so using this rather than the broiler in the oven is much more economical.
- We love baked potatoes but I can never justify switching on the regular oven just to bake a bunch of spuds. We don't have a microwave any more but when we did, I tried making baked potatoes in the microwave and they just didn't compare to the real thing. This oven does! I usually do four large potatoes together. We eat two immediately, probably with a cheese topping, and keep the other two in the fridge. Then it takes only ten minutes to reheat them for a very quick, easy and healthy lunch.
- French fries have been banned in my household for many years because of the fat content. Using this though, I can make delicious fries without using gallons of oil. Actually, there's no need to use oil at all but I found that adding a little olive oil makes them even tastier. A great saving in calories as well as money.
- We love roasted vegetables but it's hard to justify the cost of using the regular oven so luckily vegetables roast beautifully in the halogen oven. I like to make a medley of various vegetables - whatever I have to hand - and roast them all together in the halogen oven with some fresh herbs and a little olive oil. I actually get better results than I did with the regular oven - now they are more restaurant-quality.
- I make a lot of curries and vegetable casseroles. To date, I haven't found anything that I haven't been able to cook using this appliance. I use fresh vegetables when I can but sometimes used canned (especially tomatoes and potatoes) when I'm in a hurry and both cook just as well as they do using the big oven. If you cook frozen vegetables, such as green beans, these cook beautifully too.
- I haven't tried this because I'm not much of a baker but my neighbor has used hers very successfully or cakes, cookies, cornbread and much more. We've compared notes a lot about our cooking experiences and we haven't found anything that can't be cooked in the halogen oven as opposed to the expensive large oven. She has even successfully make souflés.
I love the design of this oven and the manufacturers say that it will cook food three times faster than an ordinary oven. It's compact too so is ideal if you're going to use it in a tiny kitchen or an RV. There are some excellent reviews for this online and useful advice and information also.
- One huge advantage I find is that it doesn't heat up the kitchen. Of course, I'm in Florida so this is an important factor for me. But everyone will feel the same during warm weather. It's pretty crazy to use a regular oven and all the electricity that entails and then adjust the air-conditioning to cool things down! So the halogen oven saves energy in more ways than one.
- The oven keeps smells at bay. I tend to cook with the windows open so I hadn't really noticed this until my neighbor, who loves fish, told me that her house doesn't smell 'fishy' for days if she's cooked a salmon steak for dinner.
- It is so very easy to clean. If I'm making anything that might splatter or sizzle, I use a lid on the baking dish. This prevents getting splashes on food on the glass walls of the oven. But on the few occasions I have found a couple of splatters, they wipe away quickly and easily. The glass bowl is dishwasher friendly too.
- It's a much healthier way of cooking. There are foods on our menu now, such as fries, that we haven't eaten in the home for years.
- Because it is a relatively light appliance. it's very portable. It would be perfect for an RV or boat. It doesn't need much space at all. In fact, ours served double duty because when we're not using it, we keep our bread in there!
- There are other advantages to the glass bowl in addition to easy cleaning. You can see the food as it's cooking and so there's no bending down to peer into the conventional oven. It also has no coatings that might be harmful to health - something many people are concerned about today. I've also used the bowl on its own as a punch bowl at a party. I do love multi-purpose appliances!
- Although I cook my regular dishes in the appliance, it's also encouraged me to be more experimental particularly with roasted vegetables and I'm certain that this has reduced our calorie and fat intake.
- It doesn't need pre-heating so that's yet further savings when it comes to electricity. My conventional oven, which admittedly is getting a little old, takes about twenty minutes to heat up - wasting electricity and heating up the kitchen at the same time.
- I enjoy cooking but I imagine that a halogen oven would be incredibly useful for people who don't like to cook or anyone in a hurry to enjoy their meal. If you're busy and on the go, frozen convenience food will cook quickly.
- Although the glass bowl can be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, this is rarely needed. You can put water and a little dishsoap into the bowl and run the machine for about ten minutes. This cleans it beautifully.
- We are a two person household and there's more than enough room in our appliance to cook our meals. Because of the racks available for using inside the oven, I've cooked baked apples on the bottom and roasted vegetables on the top. I imagine that most halogen ovens are more than sizable enough to prepare meals for a family of four.
This has a good capacity and is also a stylish looking appliance which looks great with any decor. As with all ovens of this type, it will save money on your electricity bills and keep your kitchen cool in warmer weather. I love the look of the black framework.
When you receive your halogen oven, it's likely that recipe cards or a recipe booklet will be included. However, many of these will be for meat or fish dishes. Here are some meat-free ideas.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions to prepare fries made with sweet potato. Serve with a simple dip made by whizzing an avocado, a little mayo and some cream cheese in a blender.
- Roasted vegetables are so beautiful when cooked in a halogen oven. Cube or chop baby potatoes, butternut squash, onion and red or green pepper. Add fresh herbs and a little lime juice. These will cook in about twenty minutes in your halogen oven.
- Clean asparagus and put into a ziplock bag with a little olive oil. shake so that the asparagus is lightly coated then roast for ten minutes. Serve with slivers of almonds and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
- When you're cooking your main dish, place whole unpeeled bananas on a lower rack and cook them until the skins go black. Split them lengthwise and serve with honey and a little fresh cream.
- Bake whole potatoes. When they're cooked, cut in half and scoop out the potato from the skin. Purée in a blender with a little yogurt or cream. Fill the potato skins with this, add grated cheese on top and cook in the halogen oven for about five minutes. This is wonderful sprinkled with vegetarian bacon bits!
- Cube sweet potatoes and add to a ziplock bag. Add a little olive oil, cinnamon, cayenne and ground cloves. Cook in the oven for about fifteen minutes.
- Prepare vegetables of your choice such as sliced zucchini, carrots, tomato, asparagus and green pepper. Mix in a bowl. Seal in foil with a little water and fresh herbs. Cook gently for about five minutes or until the vegetables are cooked to your taste.
- To make cheese toasties, simply make cheese sandwiches and cook until the bread is golden brown. Great additions are any sort of chutney, sliced tomatoes, sliced onion or the vegetables of your choice.
- Clean portabello mushrooms and stuff the cavities with a stuffing made from a slice of wholewheat bread, some shredded cheese and some sliced scallions whizzed in a blender. Add a slice of tomato to the top of each and bake for about 10 minutes. Add a spoonful of goats cheese to the top of each and cook for a further couple of minutes until the goats cheese is runny. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
This model comes complete with tongs which is an added advantage when you are moving the food around within the glass bowl. You'll soon be cooking in a much more healthy way, which will also help to reduce power usage. What a shame it's demonstrated with the ubiquitous chicken!
You'll be able to use your regular recipes with your oven but it's a great idea to buy a specialized book too. This is especially the case if you are buying this for a gift for someone who has just started cooking.
Above, I've chosen my favorites but if you'd like to explore further, there are other halogen ovens available for you to compare.
All images from Amazon.
© 2013 Jackie Jackson