I'm a sucker for french fries. We all have our weaknesses, though, especially when it comes to food. Those salty, sweet, devilishly delicious snacks, desserts or meals where, when temptation comes a knockin', we let her right in. Well friends, that food for me is french fries and I'm constantly finding myself at their salty, fried mercy.
As you know, french fries are not really that healthy, and if eaten in excess, are a surefire way to increase your waistline and pop that top button right off your favorite pair of skinny jeans. Although it's perfectly fine to splurge every now and then, an abundance of these diet pitfalls can wreak havoc on your svelte figure. Because I can't say no to a crunchy, salty fry, I've decided to make a much healthier version using zucchini instead of potatoes and baking instead of frying. Plus, I added a bit of extra zest (with spices, herbs and a dash of crushed red pepper) to intensify the flavor. The result? The best snack since the french fry and infinitely better for you. A small order of zucchini fries (about 8-9 fries, depending on size) has merely 110 calories and less than five grams of fat while a small order of regular potato fries has about 230 calories and 13 grams of fat.
You had better watch out potato frite, the zucchini fry is giving you a run for your money. It won't be long now until McDonald's replaces their beloved fry with these tasty alternatives.
Zesty baked zucchini fries
Yields 24 fries
1 large zucchini
1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
1 cup of panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon (or more) of crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning
Liberal dashes of salt and pepper
1/4 cup of marinara sauce?
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a baking sheet with olive oil.
Cut the zucchini into fries (or nuggets) by slicing it in half so you have two short pieces. Then, cut each of those in half lengthwise. This should give you shorter planks. Then, cut the planks into skinny fries.
Mix panko, cheese and spices together.
Dip each fry into egg. Be sure to let excess drip off. Then drench the fry into the panko mixture, being sure to heavily coat. Repeat until all fries are covered.
Bake for 12 minutes on each side (be sure to flip fries after initial 12 minutes) or until zucchini is no longer soggy or soft and the panko is browned and crispy.
Serve with marinara sauce and dip, dunk and enjoy!