If you’re like me, you get excited when you see fried zucchini on a restaurant menu. It always feels so sinful to enjoy deep fried vegetables. But the idea of using enough oil at home to actually fry these to a crisp makes me feel a bit icky. Don’t worry friends, I’ve got you covered. I have healthy fried zucchini to share with you today!
With a very hot beginning to our summer, and then a long-lasting cooldown, our garden has gotten off to a wonky start. In addition to the weather, I did a terrible job adding compost to sections of the garden, and thus some of our plants look decent, and some are looking…interesting.
As such, spotting fresh zucchini at the farmer’s market made my eyes open wide in excitement, knowing our own harvest was at least a few weeks off. I grabbed them up greedily, without giving much thought of how we were going to use them that week. A few days of grilled zukes left me wanting something different. A scan of our pantry inspired me to create a new family favorite. We’re eating them at least once a week, and they currently taste delicious and I look forward to them. Ask me again in August, when we have zucchini coming out of our ears and I never want to see it grace my table again. So, make these soon…before you curse the day you ever decided to grow that devil plant.
Quick note about the recipe below. I make it using my Misto (I got it at Costco years ago, but it also available online), because it offers a heavier olive oil spray. I’ve made this with cooking spray when we were on vacation and that is what was available, but it produced subpar results. Spring for the Misto, because it is so handy for other uses.
Healthy Fried Zucchini – Without the Frying
- 2 small to medium zucchini
- 1 cup panko
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1 egg, beaten
- Olive oil spray
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Slice the end off of the zucchini, and then cut the rest of the veggie in to rounds.
Mix the panko, parmesan, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg.
Place foil on a rimmed baking sheet, and place a baking rack on the sheet. Spray the rack liberally with olive oil.
Set up a little assembly line - bowl with egg, then panko mix, and baking sheet. Throw a few rounds in the egg bowl with your left hand, and remove and dip in the panko mix with your right hand. Place on the baking rack.
Spray the exposed zucchini with olive oil like a freaking boss. Coat those bad boys.
Bake for 25 minutes, and serve right away with a side of marinara sauce.
Jack is my veggie hating kid (for the most part), but actually, will eat these fried zucchinis and ask for more. The first time he tried them and declared them delicious, I hunted around my house for the pod which had body-snatched my boy. When we were on vacation with our friends, their three-year-old announced he didn’t like fried zucchini, yet ate at least two and kept grabbing for more.
So go forth and enjoy these, and remember them fondly when you’re dropping off a sackful of zucchini on your neighbor’s porch, ringing the bell, and running as fast as you can.
This post was originally published in July 2016, and updated in July 2017 to make the recipe printable.