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These grain-free fried green tomatoes with cajun lime aioli are a delicious spin on the classic recipe! Tangy green tomatoes covered in a crispy, crunchy grain-free batter served with a creamy, spicy aioli. It’s a taste explosion, perfect for using up the last of your summer harvest.
Ahhh, summer is drawing to a close and Fall is just around the corner. YAY! Fall is my favorite time of year. For those of us who are growing tomatoes, we may have a lot of green ones that won’t fully ripen before the cool weather hits. So, what’s a gal to do?
Make grain-free fried green tomatoes of course!
My tomato plants did not do well this year. As a matter of fact, every plant I tried to grow didn’t do well except for my beautiful rock roses (my all-time favorite garden flower!). I ended up with some green tomatoes that were simply not going to ripen before my plants gave up the ghost so I decided to make fried green tomatoes out of them.
If grain-free fried green tomatoes are not your thing, check out this recipe for how to make lactofermented green tomatoes!
Fried Green Tomato History
Fried green tomatoes are an iconic “Southern” dish. Funnily enough, I didn’t like them until I was an adult. I thought they were gross. Not sure why considering that I now think they are an amazingly delectable treat!
I grew up thinking of fried green tomatoes as a purely Southern dish. They were as Southern to me as fried okra, but as I was doing a brief dive into the history of this dish, I found that some folks don’t believe that it originated in the South and that a movie is actually what made it “Southern”.
Many of you probably had your first interaction with fried green tomatoes via a movie that came out in the early 90s by the same name. This movie, Fried Green Tomatoes, featured Mary Louise Parker, Mary Stuart Masterson, Kathy Bates, and Jessica Tandy. It was a feel-good movie all about deep friendships, love, loss, and support. It was also set in the deep South — 1920s in Alabama.
I remember watching that movie a few times as a child. I honestly can’t remember much about it, other than it made me cry. LOL! Maybe I should try to track it down and watch it again.
Some Say Southern, Some Say Not
In the debate over where this dish originated, some historians say that it is actually a Jewish dish that was created in the Northeast. Supposedly, it wasn’t until that movie came out that it really took off as being a southern thing. Via Smithsonian Magazine:
“…fried green tomatoes may have been as unusual in the South before 1991 as they were everywhere else. In fact, according to Robert F. Moss, a food historian and writer in South Carolina, “they entered the American culinary scene in the Northeast and Midwest, perhaps with a link to Jewish immigrants, and from there moved onto the menu of the home-economics school of cooking teachers who flourished in the United States in the early-to-mid 20th century.”
Wide Open Eats agrees:
“Though it may seem like a solely Southern thing, the origins of the fried green tomato aren’t derived from the South. That’s right, they just may have derived from a land far, far away: the Northeast.”
Robert F. Moss is the author of the out-of-print book, The Fried Green Tomato Swindle and Other Southern Culinary Adventures. He says, via Bon Appetit:
“…fried green tomatoes first appear in 19th century Northeastern and Midwestern cookbooks such as the 1877 Buckeye Cookbook and the 1873 Presbyterian Cookbook, which was put out by the First Presbyterian Church of Dayton, OH. Recipes can also be found in Jewish cookbooks from the early 20th century…”
My sister, however, was born and raised (she’s quite a bit older than me) in the South and grew up eating them all her life. She said she was definitely eating them prior to 1991 so I guess the jury is still out…
What do you say? Southern? Or not? I’ve love to hear from you in the comments below!
Grain-Free Fried Green Tomatoes with Cajun Lime Aioli
Despite the confusing history, one fact remains: fried green tomatoes taste good. And as an adult, I have no idea why I didn’t like them as a child. Especially when they are dipped in my Cajun lime aioli? Mmmm, that’s GOOD!
Traditionally, fried green tomatoes are made with a combo of wheat flour and cornmeal, both of which are things I can’t eat. Some are battered and some are breaded. It kind of depends on who’s making them. This time around I wanted to do grain-free fried green tomatoes using a batter, so that’s what I created. Truly, if you want to skip the batter part, you can just dust some flour, salt, and pepper on your tomato slices and fry away.
Speaking of flour, you are welcome to substitute in any flour you like for this grain-free friend green tomatoes recipe. Honestly, it’s so forgiving that you don’t need to worry about making them perfectly. Aren’t those types of recipes the best?! If the grain-free batter is too thick then just add in a little more liquid. Want more spice? Feel free to adjust the spices to suit your taste buds.
The tomatoes I used for this grain-free friend green tomatoes recipe were all small, about the size of a golf ball. If you have a lot of larger tomatoes, you might try doubling the recipe. They do keep really well in the fridge and they reheat perfectly. So if you have extras you can save them for another day.
Ready for the recipe? Let’s go ahead and dive in!
- FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
- Green tomatoes (for this recipe, I used about 8 golf-ball sized tomatoes)
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 2 tbsp full-fat coconut milk, or milk of your choice (I like this Aroy D brand in tetra paks)
- 2 tbsp water (could use all milk if you prefer)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- a generous pinch of black pepper
- 4 tbsp arrowroot powder, divided (I like Anthony's brand or Bob's Red Mill brand)
- ½ cup finely ground blanched almond flour (I like Anthony's brand or Bob's Red Mill brand)
- Coconut oil, avocado oil, or palm shortening for frying (I only buy palm shortening and palm products from Tropical Traditions because they DO NOT source it from areas where rainforest and animals are being destroyed).
- extra salt for when they come out of the pan
- CAJUN AIOLI
- ¼ cup of mayo of your choice (If I don't have homemade using this easy recipe, I like Sir Kensington's or Chosen Foods)
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp Cajun seasoning (I like Frontier brand or my own homemade blend)
- ¼ tsp sea salt (you may omit if your Cajun seasoning is already salty)
- FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
- Slice your green tomatoes into thick slices and set aside.
- In a bowl, combine the egg, coconut milk, water, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper.
- Divide your arrowroot powder, placing 2 tbsp in a separate bowl and 2 tbsp in the bowl with the egg mixture.
- Add your almond flour to the bowl with the egg mixture and stir well to combine.
- If the batter feels too thick, add a little more milk or water to thin it out until you get your desired consistency.
- Place your green tomatoes slices in the bowl with the 2 tbsp of arrowroot and toss until covered. If you have big slices, you may have to coat them by hand since tossing won't work well.
- In a large skillet (I use my biggest cast iron pan for this), heat your oil over medium heat until it glistens.
- Take the arrowroot covered tomato slices, dip in the batter, coating both sides and place in the hot pan.
- Cook until golden brown and then flip. Remove from oil when the other side is golden brown.
- Place on a towel-lined plate or a cooling rack so they can drain a little. Sprinkle with sea salt right after you bring them out of the pan.
- Repeat until they're all gone!
- Dip in your Cajun aioli and enjoy!
- Leftovers reheat wonderfully in an oven or an air fryer like this one (which is what I use to reheat them).
- CAJUN AIOLI
- Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.
- Can be made ahead and will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.