Baked crispy zucchini parmesan fries with mustard basil dipping sauce are a delicious & flavorful treat!
Aren’t french fries one of the most awesome foods created by man? I was just having a convo with my husband Jason about how happy I am when I eat those tantalizing spuds, but also how guilty and oily I feel after consuming one too many. It was time for a solution. Of course, nothing can trump a crispy golden potato, but I have an alternative that I think you will enjoy and feel much better woofing down!
Enter, the great zucchini! Baked zucchini parmesan fries are crunchy and ready to be dipped and devoured in a mustard basil sauce. These oven-baked zucchini fries are a healthy, family friendly alternative for a delicious appetizer or side dish, so crank those temperatures up to 425°F so we can pop them in the oven! I’m hungry now, who’s ready to dig in?
To get a crunchy and flavorful coating, I tossed these cute little zucchini sticks in a mixture of traditional and Panko bread crumbs , and a hodgepodge of dried spices like garlic, onion, basil and paprika, yum!
I also used Kraft shredded Parmesan cheese in the coating for some tang. I like to dip each fry into flour first because it absorbs some of the surface moisture from the zucchini. Then I dip it in egg wash so that the breadcrumb mixture sticks and the fries become crunchy from the cooking of the proteins and coating.
I place the fries on a metal rack, sprayed with a little nonstick spray so that the hot air can evenly cook and crisp each piece. Now you have 15 minutes to make the dip, ready, set, go!
You can’t eat any fry without a good dipping sauce, am I right? I like a sweet, slightly spicy and tangy dip for these thick cut zucchini fries, so I just quickly whisk together spicy brown mustard, mayo, honey, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar and fresh chopped basil, and ta-dah! An easy and delish sauce in a matter of minutes.
You won’t want to eat just one so make a good size batch to share! I would recommend making these baked crispy zucchini Parmesan fries as a healthy appetizer alternative, just because it’s not fried doesn’t mean they aren’t flavorful and filling! Hmmm, I know the perfect time to make these tasty bites…
With the Superbowl lineup set, you can add these zucchini fries to your menu, as well as some wholesome white bean and chicken chili and blueberry skillet cornbread for a winning combo. Now all you have to decide is who you are going to root for in Superbowl XLIX, the Seahawks or Patriots? Okay, I am terrible at reading Roman numerals (Jason can attest to that), so who knows what number we’re on? Haha!
What are Panko breadcrumbs?
Panko is a Japanese style of bread crumbs made from crust-less bread. This type of breadcrumb tends to be lighter, crispier and crunchier because they are coarsely ground and shaped like flakes versus round crumbs. The flakes have a larger surface area that prevents the bread from compressing; instead, the layer of coating stays light, airy and crunchy when fried or baked. Panko can be used for coatings like for this zucchini fry recipe that has both round and flake breadcrumbs, also as a filler for burgers or crab cakes, or as a topping for macaroni and cheese and casseroles. Anyway, you use it, Panko provides the desired “crunch” you crave.
Baked Crispy Zucchini Parmesan Fries with Mustard Basil Dip
- 2 zucchini, (2 large or 4 small), cut 24 pieces about 3-4 inches long, ½-1 inch wide
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
Mustard Basil Dip-
- 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1/16 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1 tablespoon basil, chopped
Mustard Basil Dip-
- In a small bowl, combine all dip ingredients together. Set aside until ready to serve.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and place a metal rack on top. Lightly spray rack with nonstick cooking spray or grease with vegetable oil. Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, panko, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, dried basil and paprika. Set aside for the breading station.
- Create a breading station: 1 bowl containing the flour, 1 bowl containing the whisked eggs, and 1 bowl containing the breadcrumb mixture. Dip each piece of zucchini as follows; first in the flour and shake off excess flour, then in the egg, and in the bread crumb mixture pressing down and coating each side. Place on the metal rack once coated. Repeat with the remaining zucchini pieces.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. You do not need to flip the zucchini fries unless you are baking directly on the sheet tray (turn half way through baking if the metal rack is not used).
- Serve immediately and enjoy with the mustard basil dipping sauce.