I roast zucchini all the time in chunks or round slices with just olive oil and salt & pepper. Sometimes I add a little grated Parmesan, and more often than not other vegetables (carrots, onions, mushrooms). Just thought I’d go for sticks today to resemble the french fries we’re not having with our hamburgers. I’ve seen the recipes for sticks that are breaded with the traditional flour-egg-breadcrumb breading, but I really don’t want to hide the vegetable in breading nor add more starch to the meal than is necessary. I mean, we’re already having buns with the burgers. I’m one of those people who likes to limit the starch to just one per meal. That generally means either a bun or potato/rice/noodle but not both together. Yes, vegetables are carbs, but usually low to moderate on the glycemic index. Zucchini is very low.
Still, I wanted to add a little something to the zucchini sticks, so I mixed a combination of finely grated Parmesan and finely ground almond meal in a 4/1 ratio to sprinkle on over the olive oil. In addition—and this is a step that I don’t usually do for roasted zucchini—I salted and drained the zucchini sticks to remove some of the excess water in them before roasting. For 3 zucchini, I got about 1/4 cup water drained out. The idea is to help them crisp up a bit more easily, but don’t expect them to be like fried breaded veggies. It’s zucchini and it won’t be crispy except on a few edges, especially where the cheese adheres, but you can pick them up with your fingers like fries.
Parmesan Zucchini Sticks
3 medium-large zucchini
about 2 teaspoons salt
- Cut each zucchini in half crosswise so resulting sticks are about 3 inches long.
- Cut each of those halves in half lengthwise.
- Cut each of those into four strips lengthwise starting from the center with each cut so each strip is triangular on end.
- Place the strips in a strainer or colander over a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Shake to distribute the salt. Let it sit for about an hour and drain off the water in the bowl.
- Dry the strips on paper towels, then refrigerate until ready to bake, or use immedieately.
Preheat oven to 425°
1 heaping cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (I use a plane grater)
1/4 cup finely ground almond meal (you could substitute bread crumbs or Panko)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Place a rack on the pan. I think you can place the sticks directly on parchment, but they might be more soggy that way from sitting in some of the olive oil.
- Mix the grated cheese, almond meal, and pepper together.
- Set out the zucchini sticks on the rack. Drizzle or brush with olive oil, or toss them in a bowl with olive oil.
- Sprinkle the cheese/almond mixture over the zucchini. It will fall through the rack, which is why you need either paper or foil underneath. Dredging oil-coated zucchini in the cheese will most likely just coat your fingers
- Bake for 25 minutes, checking for browning near the end. Depending on your oven, you might go as long as 30 minutes. the edges will brown, mostly where the cheese is. The cheese that falls through the rack will burn; just ignore it. At least it’s not burning on your pan.