I like to eat fruits and vegetables when they are in season and at this time of year there is nothing more seasonal than zucchini. These baked zucchini fries are easy to make and the marinara sauce is a perfect accompaniment.
Smaller zucchini work best for this recipe. The larger the zucchini the more water it contains and the larger the seeds. Those two issues aren’t compatible with a crispy end product. If you only have a large zucchini, try using the narrow end and save the larger, bulbous end for bread and zucchini noodles.
I like to cut the zucchini into wedges. This makes them easier to brush and coat and they stand up on the baking sheet so you don’t have to turn them over halfway through baking. Mayonnaise provides the “glue” to stick the crumb coating on the fries.
As I mentioned, zucchini contain a lot of water. The longer you bake these fries, the softer they will get. Bake them just until the coating is a nice golden color and eat them while still warm. They don’t hold well and for that reason I like to make the marinara sauce first so it’s ready when the fries come out of the oven.
The sauce is made with ingredients you may already have in your pantry. It’s something you can whip up any time and I prefer it to jarred or canned varieties. Plus, you control the ingredients; no salt, sugar, oil, preservatives, etc. My recipe has a little bit of a kick from the red pepper flakes. It makes a great dip for the fries and of course as a sauce for your favorite pasta.
Here are the recipes. You can watch me prepare both recipes in this video.
Quick and Easy Marinara
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 – 6 oz. cans tomato paste
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to low. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm or refrigerate up to one week.
Baked Zucchini Fries
3 small zucchini
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 cup Italian seasoned bread or panko crumbs (I prefer panko; it’s crispier)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the bread crumbs and Parmesan in a shallow dish. (A pie plate works great!) Cut the zucchini lengthwise into wedges. Brush each cut side with mayonnaise, one at a time. After each fry is brushed place it in the plate of bread crumbs. Turn and press the fry to coat it with crumbs and move it to the baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes until the coating is golden. Serve with marinara.
NOTE: I use this same recipe for “fried” green tomatoes and for eggplant slices which can be used as the basis of a healthy version of Eggplant Parmigiana.
Look for more healthy recipe videos on the CGH website. I’d love to know if you try any of them.