This recipe is a LONG time coming. If you’ve been a reader here for a while, you might remember a recipe of mine from four years ago for Raw “Breaded” Italian Zucchini Chips. While I seriously adore that recipe and the bite size crispiness, not everyone has a dehydrator. And quite honestly,
sometimes most times I don’t have the patience to wait for something to be dehydrated. I love the idea of maintaining all of the wonderful nutrients and creating a healthy snack, but sometimes I just want something right away….Or fast enough.
Many years ago, when I was a vegetarian, one of my favorite things to order from the local pizza place was fried zucchini sticks. They had a thick, crispy (very greasy) breading with a tender middle, and they were SO delicious dipped in marinara sauce. I will be the first to admit that fried food tastes really good, but will often times leave you feeling heavy…Not to mention it’s not the best for you. Today I’m sharing with you a healthier way to make zucchini sticks, but you won’t feel like you’re missing out. Most zucchini stick recipes call for eggs and breadcrumbs, but I obviously found a way to replace both and maintain its form.
I’ve actually been making these for a couple of years now, but two things always happened: (1) I failed to write measurements and ingredients down, and (2) I constantly tweaked it and added something new or swapped something out. It wasn’t until about a month ago when I paid closer attention and took notes. When I say that I have trialed this recipe at least 25-30 times, I’m not making an exaggeration. Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables, so this never felt like a chore or daunting task – not only were they fun to make, but they were also really good to eat. Josh and I have yet to tire of them!
BAKED “BREADED” ZUCCHINI STICKS
These are gluten-free and vegan with the option to be grain-free and oil-free as well.
- 2-3 medium zucchini
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 Tablespoons runny tahini*
- 2 teaspoons ground flax
- 1 cup blanched almond flour
- 4 Tablespoons tapioca starch
- 2 Tablespoons rice crumbs (optional)*
- 2 heaping Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 heaping teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- avocado oil spray (optional)
*I use Whole Foods brand roasted and salted tahini. If you don’t have tahini on hand, or you’re not a fan of tahini, you can also use a plant-based mayo. The mayo version is also delicious, but I personally prefer tahini. It wasn’t until about a month ago where I tried adding in some rice crumbs, and while not necessary, it does help to add a little crunch to the breading. We found rice crumbs at Trader Joe’s. You can also use regular bread crumbs instead – use gluten-free if needed.
- Preheat your oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Wash and cut your zucchini into sticks, leaving the peel on. Make sure they’re not overly wet, blot dry if needed.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, tahini, and flax – set aside. This will be your “egg” wash.
- In a larger bowl (or a large container with a lid) whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Dip the zucchini sticks into the egg wash (I recommend using a fork here, one for the egg wash and one for the breading) and allow any excess to run off before transferring to the breading. I recommend dipping only a few at a time to ensure even coating. I tested out using a large Tupperware container with a lid to shake the breading onto the zucchini, and it worked really well. Once again, I would only put a few in at a time because otherwise clumps of breading form and some of the sticks won’t get coated. Gently tap any excess breading off before transferring to your prepared baking sheet.
- Once your baking sheet is full, and the zucchini sticks aren’t too crowded/close together, you can give them a spray of avocado oil, if using. Then bake for 15-20 minutes. Rotate the tray and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until desired level of golden/browned color is reached.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with extra Italian seasoning or fresh ground pepper. Enjoy right away with your favorite dipping sauce, such as marinara or a mayo-based dip.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. These reheat really well in the oven or toaster oven.
We have also made these without the Italian seasoning and amped up the garlic – instead of dipping them, we used them in our tacos!
If you give this recipe a try, please come back and let me know!
Lots of love,