Fair season is here! In fact, the big Iowa State Fair kicks off on Thursday. Despite living in the state for my entire life (minus two years), I attended the state fair for the first time last year. Not to stereotype, but I think that I can sum it up in about five bullet points:
- Farm animals
- The largest gathering of cowboy boots I’ve ever seen north of Tennessee
- Rides for the kiddos
- Concerts, most often by country artists
- Fried foods
Considering the most time I have spent with farms has been driving past them, I’m currently cowboy boot-less and can’t remember the last time I ate anything deep fried, it’s not exactly my scene. It’s good to step outside my comfort zone sometimes, though!
And the new surroundings can spark fun ideas, too. On Friday, I grabbed some farm fresh zucchini and some pinspiration from Pinch of Yum to create a fried food makeover. Despite being baked, these vegetable fries have a nice crunch thanks to a coat of breadcrumbs. Who needs deep fried pickles, pineapple or Twinkies when you can have these with just a trip to the farmers market, some pantry staples and half an hour?
Crispy Zucchini Fries, slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum
- 1 large or 2 small zucchini
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 cup egg whites
- 1/2 cup marinara sauce, warmed
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Cut zucchini in half vertically, then horizontally to create four even pieces. Cut into long, thin “fries” and discard pieces that are filled with seeds—these don’t crisp up during the cooking process.
- Stir garlic and onion powder into breadcrumbs. Split this mixture in half and spread onto separate plates. The egg whites tend to cause clumping, so it’s helpful to have a fresh batch of breadcrumbs to swap in halfway through.
- Set up a breading station with your zucchini first, egg whites next and breadcrumb mix last. Dip a couple zucchini at a time into the egg whites, roll around to coat evenly, then coat in breadcrumbs. Place coated fries onto a foil-lined baking sheet. When breadcrumbs run out or start to clump, swap in the other plate.
- Once all fries are breaded and evenly spaced on the baking sheet, put them in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until breadcrumbs begin to brown slightly.
- Eat while warm with marinara sauce for dipping.
Nutrition information per serving (estimate, since this will vary based on your specific breadcrumbs and marinara): 128 calories, 1.5 g fat, 23 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 7 g protein, 360 mg sodium
Some notes on this recipe:
- If you like your fries really crispy, slice them, sprinkle with salt and allow to drain in a colander so they release some water.
- I toasted a couple slices of bread and pulsed in a food processor for a DIY breadcrumb, but panko would work great here too.
- Add whatever spices you’d like to this recipe. Anything Italian-inspired would be delicious!
- The nutrition information above takes into account all of the ingredient amounts listed, although you’ll likely have some egg whites and breadcrumbs left over (so this is a slight overestimate).
More foods that show baked can be better…
- Fried Shell-Free Taco Salad
- Sweet and Savory Sweet Potato Chips
- Chicken Nugget Swap
- Sweet Potato Fries
Do you ever visit your state’s fair? If so, what’s the one food you must have while there?
Last year, I felt it would be practically sacrilegious to leave the Iowa State Fair without some roasted sweet corn. It was the best ear I had all year!