When I was growing up in Shoreview, Minnesota (a suburb of St Paul), my Mom had the garden of my dreams. Her garden was her pride and joy and a source of fresh vegetables that feed us all summer long and many that were frozen or canned for the long, cold winter. One of the most abundant harvests was her summer squash, specifically the zucchini. By August, to excuse the cliché, we had zucchini coming out of our ears.
Unfortunately, my Mom, a great cook, had a minimal repertoire of zucchini recipes. To the best of my memory, it was actually limited to one recipe: zucchini bread. She filled an entire trunk freezer (which we had in our basement, like all good Minnesotans – something we don’t do in Florida, for starters, we don’t have basements) with zucchini bread. By the time March rolled around, I never wanted to see another loaf of zucchini bread ever again! Maybe someday I’ll try making zucchini bread, but for right now, I want to use this beautiful squash as a fun starter or game-day snack. Hey, pre-season football started today!
These crisps are so easy to make, they take no time at all. Other than the zucchini, there’s only a couple of pantry ingredients needed. However, keep in mind that these crisps are served best with a dipping sauce. If you have a jar of marinara (spaghetti sauce) in your pantry, it’s both colorful, and the flavors work well together. I have also served them with ranch dressing, spicy mustard and, even mayo. The outside is crispy, and the inside is juicy and soft.
One of my favorite qualities of the zucchini is that it doesn’t require peeling. Simply cut off ends and slice the squash into quarter-inch rounds.
Hints and Hacks – Grated Cheese
I used fresh parmesan as I always have a wedge in the freezer. It takes just seconds to grate in a food processor. However, store-bought grated cheese (in the green can) is a time-saver and works fine in this recipe. Panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, and salt are mixed with the parm to make the crispy coating. Panko breadcrumbs are dryer and flakier consistency than regular breadcrumbs giving the coating a lighter and crunchier texture.
Hints & Hacks – Non Stick Spray
The only other prep is to spray a baking rack with non-stick canola or olive oil spray. Non-stick spray can be messy. Eliminate covering counters in the oily spray by placing the rack inside the dishwasher door. During the next wash, the excess spray washes. Easy/breezy! Place the rack inside a rimmed baking sheet/pan.
Hints & Hacks – Dredging Station
Traditional dredging stations are a three bowl process—one for flour, one for the egg, and the last is for the breading. I don’t have the patience to dip all those rounds three times! To speed things up, I place the flour in a plastic ziplock bag and give it a couple of shakes. Ta-da! One bowl eliminated.
Using a fork will keep hands clean and makes it easier to handle the rounds. Dip them in the egg and then into the bread/cheese bowl. I use another fork to push the breadcrumbs on top and around the zucchini. I usually do about three rounds at a time, again – it’s a lack of patience thing. More than three get too crowded, and one at a time drives me crazy!
Place the covered rounds on the prepped rack and pop in a 450°F pre-heated oven for 17-20 minutes until the crisps are golden and browned.
Enjoy the crisps while warm with a dipping sauce of your choice. Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated in the oven or toaster oven. Enjoy!
Baked Zucchini CrispsCourse: Starter, SnackCuisine: American, Game DayDifficulty: Easy
Enjoy healthy zucchini as an easy snack or starter. Crispy on the outside with a soft and juicy center, these golden-brown rounds are ready to munch in 25 minutes. Dip in your favorite store-bought marinara sauce, ranch dressing, spicy mustard, or mayo.
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (fresh or canned)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch circles
Optional: Marinara sauce or Ranch dressing for dipping
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cut off the ends of the zucchini and slice into 1/4 rounds. If using fresh, grate parmesan. Spray a baking rack with non-stick oil and place in a baking sheet/pan.
- Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Whisk the egg in a second bowl. Place flour in a plastic bag or in a third bowl. Place the zucchini circles into the plastic bag with flour and gently shake until rounds are completely coated with flour. Using a fork, dip the rounds in the egg, and then into the. bread-crumb mixture, coating them evenly. Place the rounds on the sprayed baking rack.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 17-20 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden. Serve warm.