I knew I hit the jackpot when my self-described zucchini-hating son (M) sat in front of a plate of these baked zucchini fries and plowed through half of them in one sitting.
“Are you sure this is zucchini?” he asked for the fifth time, looking at me suspiciously as though I was trying to pull some sort of voodoo witch doctor wool over his eyes.
M is a very healthy eater and typically avoids anything that has the word “fried” in it or is laden with extra sugar. He’s a soccer player and a runner, and he is determined to eat well to help keep himself in shape. So, standard French fries are not something he chooses to indulge in.
Instead, we substitute baked versions for foods that are typically fried, such as baked French fries and crispy baked chicken tenders. Truth be told, we all enjoy them more than their fried counterparts. Less grease, better flavor. It’s a win-win.
This recipe really couldn’t be any easier. One medium zucchini produces several servings of fries, and the 3-ingredient pesto yogurt dipping sauce takes them from really good to awesome. The trick to the crispy, golden brown texture on the outside of the fries is cooking them in a hot oven and using panko bread crumbs, which lend much more crunch than standard bread crumbs.
If you have neither whole wheat panko bread crumbs nor whole wheat pastry flour on hand, don’t let that stop you from making these. Regular panko bread crumbs and all-purpose flour will still produce healthier zucchini fries (hey, they’re still not fried, right?), and great flavor and texture.
#EatSeasonal is the brainchild of my friend Becky of The Vintage Mixer , who has pulled together a group of bloggers to post seasonal recipes each month, using her produce guide as inspiration.
There’s a fantastic variety of recipes, some sweet and some savory, as you can see in the collage below, all inspired by produce that is fresh and seasonal in July. Be sure to click on the links to check out the recipes. For more seasonal recipe inspiration, follow the #EatSeasonal hashtag on Instagram.
Quick Pickled Strawberries with Black Pepper and Tarragon by Simple Bites
Pea and Arugula Pesto by Floating Kitchen
Creamy Grilled Corn Pasta by Completely Delicious
Chocolate Strawberry Protein Smoothie by The Lemon Bowl
Crispy Chicken & Cucumber Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette by Climbing Grier Mountain
Healthy Zucchini Muffins by Gimme Some Oven
Fresh Corn Salad by Bless this Mess
Apricot Glazed Chicken by Vintage Mixer
Spinach Pesto by Mountain Mama Cooks
Papaya Seed Vinaigrette Dressing by Kitchen Confidante
Peach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Raspberries by Well Plated
Poached Beets with Star Anise and Cinnamon by Project Domestication
Strawberry Fields Panzanella Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette by Flavor the Moments
How to Make Arugula Pesto by FoodieCrush
- 1 medium zucchini
- ⅔ c whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
- ¾ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- Olive oil cooking spray
- ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tbsp basil pesto
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and set a cooling rack on top of the baking sheet. Coat the cooling rack with cooking spray.
- Cut the zucchini into 3-inch long and ¼-inch thick pieces.
- Spoon the flour into a medium bowl. Whisk the egg in a separate bowl. In a third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, paprika, salt and pepper.
- Working with several zucchini pieces at a time, dredge the zucchini in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the zucchini in the egg, then place it in the bread crumb mixture, covering completely.
- Transfer the coated zucchini pieces to the prepared rack, in a single layer. Repeat with remaining zucchini pieces.
- Light coat the zucchini with the cooking spray.
- Bake in the oven until the zucchini is tender and the breading is browned and crisp, about 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.
- In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, pesto sand salt.
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