Cheesy Baked Zucchini Fries

fullsizeoutput_a154Oh my gosh y’all, some days it feels impossible to eat well when there is so much time to sit in the house and ponder what’s in the pantry. I try not to keep a lot of temptations within reach, but then I get to Whole Foods and the chocolate section starts to tempt me.  In any case, I’ve been searching for recipes that are healthy, but taste like fan food – ya know, like curly fries and corn dogs.

Zucchini fries might seem like a stretch, but they have the perfect crunch and cheesy flavor that all my favorite foods do. Usually, I am not a huge fan of gimmicky foods (cauliflower pizza crust, zucchini pizza boats, etc.) because I end up anticipating that when I dig in, they will taste just like the real deal.  However, to say these are fries really just refers to their shape. If anything, they remind me more of a mozzarella stick with the breaded coating and cheesy flavor, but calling them mozzarella sticks would just be a flat out lie. Imagine thinking you were biting into a cheesy center, only to find out it is zucchini in the middle! Sometimes it is better just to acknowledge that yes, you are eating zucchini, and wow, it’s so delicious!

Squash is one of those veggies that tend to be a little more polarizing like eggplant – some people absolutely love and some absolutely hate it. I think the texture is a contributing factor for those who don’t like it, but I also think preparation is key. Nothing is less appetizing than mushy steamed squash. However, add some panko, and broil it? It’s a game-changer. Light and crispy, these baked zucchini “fries” are wonderfully snackable and so easy to make!

Cheesy Baked Zucchini Fries

Cheesy Baked Zucchini Fries

Yield: 16 fries
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini squash
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cracked pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise. Cut each half in half again and repeat once more to create a total of 16 fries.
  3. In one bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan, lemon zest, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and whisk to incorporate the dry ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites and olive oil.
  5. Using one hand, take the first fry and dip it in the egg mixture. Shake off any extra moisture and drop it into the bowl with the dry mixture.
  6. Using your other hand, dredge the zucchini in the panko parmesan mixture and place it onto the baking sheet.
  7. Repeat the dredging process with the other fries. Once complete, bake in the oven for 20-22 min, broiling for the last 5-7 minutes until the fries are nice and golden.

Notes

The calorie calculation reflects using all of the dredge for the fries, but you will almost certainly have an excess of the panko parmesan mixture.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 fries
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 247Total Fat: 16.4gSaturated Fat: 7.1gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 801mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1.3gSugar: 2.1gProtein: 15.3g

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