My vice? French fries.
No matter what, I just can’t say no to the crispy potato slivers dusted with salty goodness and drenched in finger licking traces of oil for frying. Ahh – I know I have a problem, and I know I need to solve it, but french fried potatoes are one of the foods I could probably eat for the rest of my life. With that said, I surely would have a much shorter and “wider” life if I decided to go that route. Taking my fate into consideration, I decided to try to follow one of my very own food rules. Let’s take a trip back in time to my baked blueberry donut recipe, specifically rule number 4: When craving food that will leave you feeling guilty, AVOID IT. Instead, satisfy the craving by substituting the bad for the good.
What a great rule, right? Well, applying it to my mission of healthifying french fries, I determined that the carb loaded potatoes and the fatty oil must be terminated. Instead, I decided to replaces these horrible little devils with luscious vitamin-filled zucchini squash and an oven instead of a fryer.
Zucchini is an extremely beneficial food that is very low in calories and high in dietary fiber. Eating zucchini has also proven to decrease and curb the instances of overeating. The manganese in this vegetable is also responsible for giving you beautifully healthy skin and proper wound healing. Sounds much better than a plain old white potato, right?
Now let’s compare this dish with a medium order of McDonald’s french fries. The classic Micky D’s treat contains 380 calories (171 from fat), nearly 20 grams of fat and close to 50 grams of carbohydrates. Ouch.
A serving of these baked zucchini fries will only add about 90 calories to your daily intake, about half a gram of fat and only 17 carbohydrates.
I spy with my little eye a healthier way of eating french fries – do you?
And don’t worry, the flavor and crunch is still bound to blow your mind. You won’t miss a single one of the 380 calories.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Non-stick cooking spray
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons of all-purpose flour (unbleached)
3/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of dried plain panko breadcrumbs
2 medium raw zucchini
2 large egg whites, whipped until soft peaks have formed
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with a generous coating of non-stick cooking spray.
In a shallow dish, mix together the Italian seasoning, flour, and salt.
Place the breadcrumbs in a separate shallow dish. Panko breadcrumbs are Japanese flaky breadcrumbs that leave any food with a crunching coating. I love these breadcrumbs for this dish because they give the zucchini a distinct crisp that resembles a frying technique even though they’re baked in the oven.
Beat the egg whites by hand or with an electric mixer until they turn white in color and form soft peaks.
Next, slice each zucchini lengthwise and then in half. With the skin on, slice each half into pieces that are approximately the size of thick-cut french fries.
Lightly coat each piece of zucchini in the flour mixture, and then dip in the egg whites. Lastly, coat each piece with breadcrumbs and place on your prepared baking sheet. I lined my baking sheet with tin-foil and then sprayed the foil with cooking spray in order to make clean-up a bit easier for me. Foil or no foil, just be sure to spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking, and you’ll be in the clear!
Bake your fries for 12 minutes, turning them over one time at 6 minutes. When turning, be careful not to knock off too much of the breading. I used a fork to turn my zucchini and it worked like a charm.
I adored these zucchini fries and was pleasantly surprised with my love for them over the classic potato french fry. I even dipped mine in ketchup and it was DELICIOUS! I can’t wait to make some fun dipping sauces for these babies in the future – I’m thinking mango, barbecue, or even a creamy ranch.
I hope you all get the chance (and courage) to try these out very soon. You’re going to love them.