Who would have thought zucchini spears could be spicy, crunchy and delicious? These healthy zucchini fries stay crisp with a seasoned cornmeal dredge. We like crispy, spicy zucchini fries as a snack or side dish.
Anything with the word “fries” in the title is bound to catch your attention, am-i-right? But unlike their oil-soaked potato cousins, these fries aren’t bad for you… You might even call them healthy. Yikes. Healthy fries? These Crispy Spicy Zucchini Fries are a singular wonder with an uber-crunchy exterior and firm-tender interior and they’re a great way to get the kids to eat their vegetables…
Whether you’re a green thumb kind of person (I’m not) and have your own vegetable garden or you’re just gearing up for the onslaught of summer squash that’s right around the corner, you’ll want to keep this recipe in rotation for the duration of the season. Of course, it starts with summer squash — zucchini to be exact. Our farmer’s market carries traditional green as well as yellow zucchini, so I got both to mix it up.
The simple gluten-free coating is nothing more than cornmeal, (don’t use a coarse or medium grind — otherwise you might lose a few teeth) salt, pepper and spices. Mix them up and set aside.
In order to get the coating to stick to the vegetables, you need a binder. I use egg whites, frothed with a fork. Roll the zucchini spears in the egg wash and coat them well.
Then dust them with the cornmeal coating, so that you’ve got an even layer over the zucchini.
Place the zucchini on a wire baking rack set over a sheet pan. This step is important — because if you place the zucchini directly on the baking sheet, they’ll get soft. You want the WHOLE baked zucchini spear to be crunchy — not just the top.
Bake the zucchini fries for 30 minutes, then roll them over and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown and extra crispy! As they bake, the zucchini spears fill the kitchen with a “something smells good” aroma… You know, the kind of smell that makes the tummy rumble?
Crunchy Spicy Zucchini Fries are just the thing for an afternoon snack or a fun side to grilled chicken or fish. You can absolutely eat them out of hand like this or if you’re like me and want a little something to go with them, I absolutely recommend this Sweet Bell Pepper Aioli or you could go with a fresh pesto to keep it uber healthy.
Either way, this easy baked zucchini recipe is far from ordinary and deliciously snackable.
I’d recommend a whole zucchini per person (for adults) and maybe half a zucchini for kids. But hey, it’s a vegetable — eat all you want!
Crispy Spicy Zucchini Fries
This easy to make side dish is a great way to put your summer squash to good use.
- 4 medium zucchini (I used green and gold colored)
- 3/4 cup finely ground cornmeal (preferably Bob's Red Mill)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 large egg whites
- vegetable spray
- 1/2 cup red pepper aioli (recipe on this site) optional
Preheat oven to 375°. Set a baking rack over a large sheet pan and set aside.
Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and in half again lengthwise so that you have 4 spears.
In a shallow bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk until light and foamy. In another shallow bowl, mix together the cornmeal, salt, pepper and cayenne until well blended.
Dip the zucchini spears one at a time into the egg white mixture to coat, then transfer spears to the cornmeal mixture and coat with cornmeal. Place on the baking rack. Continue with the remainder of the zucchini.
Bake for 30 minutes, then carefully roll the zucchini over and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes. Transfer zucchini to a serving platter and serve with red pepper aioli for dipping.
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