The “Bloomin’ Onion” is arguably the best appetizer at Outback Steakhouse, but as you could probably guess, it’s far from vegan-friendly – both the batter and the dipping sauce contain dairy and eggs – so we decided to veganize it!
While doing research for this recipe, we found a lot of conflicting information. There seemed to be some confusion over the exact method of preparation and the ingredients of the sauce. Jokingly, we called up Outback Steakhouse and asked them how they make it. We figured they’d probably tell us to get lost, but much to our surprise, they actually told us exactly how they prepare it, including how they make the sauce!
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Apart from veganizing the ingredients, we also modified the preparation a bit to make this an “at home” version. We assume, that like us, most people don’t have a deep fryer with a basket, which is what you need if you want to make it exactly like the Bloomin’ Onion you’d get at Outback. However, you can still get pretty good results frying it in a pot of oil on the stovetop. The only difference, really, is that you’ll lose some of the pedals and batter from over-handling it – getting it in and out of the pot without a basket is a precarious process, to say the least.
You can simplify the process even further by using an onion blossom cutter. It’s a simple contraption that cuts the onion perfectly for you. The cheap ones cost about $5 to $10, and have mixed reviews, but the industrial ones used in restaurants cost up to $400! Of course, the professional grade cutters are made to do what they do all day, every day for years and years. We decided a simple kitchen knife would be just fine for us.
We also learned that bigger is not better. We bought a massive onion from the farmers market, and we thought it was going to be perfect for a Bloomin Onion because of its size, but we now know we would have gotten better results from a much smaller onion – at least half the size or smaller. You can see the onion we used in the photos below. It was 2 lb!