Recipe makeover: Baked zucchini fries
For Heart Month, why not try a healthier version of the classic French fry?
In the United States, people eat an average of 126 pounds of potatoes per person per year. The type of carbohydrate in the potato is the kind the body digests rapidly, causing blood sugar and insulin to surge and then drop.
Some studies have looked at the notion that potatoes may be a culprit for weight gain and diabetes. Weight gain and obesity are linked to increased risk of heart disease, according to the CDC.
High-sodium foods also contribute to high blood pressure, one of the leading risk factors for heart disease. Tips for controlling sodium in this particular recipe:
- Experiment with Salt for Life, which contains 75 percent less sodium than table salt. Potassium stands in for some of the sodium.
- Store-bought bread crumbs are often loaded with salt. Make your own by leaving a couple of bread slices on the counter to dry out, then process in a food processor.
Given the amount of potatoes Americans consume, why not reach for other veggies that are packed with nutrients and are more slowly digested, like the zucchini?
1 9-inch zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and cut into 3/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil, or more if needed
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and lightly grease with cooking spray.
Brush zucchini strips with olive oil.
In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, thyme, cayenne and freshly ground pepper.
Press the zucchini sticks into the bread crumb mixture, evenly coating the sticks. Place breaded sticks on prepared baking sheet.
Bake zucchini until the fries are golden and tender, about 15–20 minutes.
About The Author
Bev Utt, MS, MPH, RD, is a wellness nutritionist and health educator with MultiCare's Center for Healthy Living. More stories by this author