“Fried” Zucchini Popables


You were warned previously, Sporkers: I am on a zucchini binge. I have yet to try fried blossoms because, alas, the Farmer’s Markets don’t open until June. Oh, well. For now, let’s talk appetizers.

With long summer days rapidly approaching, you may be in need of some delicious munchies for parties and picnics. Lays potato chips are always an option but with all the alcohol usually consumed given the renewed interest in day-drinking, you might consider offering a healthy alternative so you can give yourself an excuse to binge on other summer goodies.

These are a ridiculously low calorie snack! A whole cup of sliced zucchini has only about 19 calories. The recipe uses quotation marks around the fried because they are actually baked! Crunchy, flavorful, and just freakin’ yum!

This recipe is meant to be an ersatz breaded mozzarella. Now if we were to compare zucchini and mozzarella sticks… Wait, go ahead and sit down. I don’t want you to faint! The “suggested” serving size for the mozzarella sticks is wait for it…two. For this you can expect 190 calories. Now, the serving size for zucchini is…wait, grab the smelling salts… approximately half a cup. Now this adds up to a whopping 16 calories. No need to loosen those corsets ladies and gents, that was not a typo. To have an equivalent amount of calories you would have to eat over 5 cups of zucchini. A word of caution to this tale, with copious amounts of cheese your low-calorie snack will fail (hehe, a Hercules reference). I can live with that compromise–what about you Sporkers?

“Fried” Zucchini Popables

1/3 cup egg whites
3/4 cup Italian Panko Bread Crumbs
3 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 medium-large zucchini, cut lengthwise, halved and chopped into 1″ wedges

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line baking sheet with tin foil and pour a tablespoon of olive oil evenly over the sheet.

In a shallow dish, lightly beat the egg whites.

In a separate shallow dish mix the panko, cheese, Italian seasoning, and salt.

Dip each zucchini in egg white, letting the excess mixture drip back off into the bowl (this will keep your dry mixture from getting too clumpy).

Roll the newly egged zucchini in the crumbs, pressing firmly so they stick.

Arrange the zucchini on the baking sheet with a little bit of space between them.

Spray or drizzle the zucchini with olive oil (a Misto works pretty well for this purpose.)

Bake 25-30 minutes until zucchini is crisp and golden.

Additionally – Feel free to further extend the mozzarella stick metaphor and drown in warm marinara sauce. Not necessary, but why not? Enjoy!

Post and photo by Alex Castanon. Recipe adapted from Prevention Magazine article “Flat Belly Foods-Party Starters “Fried” Zucchini Sticks with Mariana Sauce” by Miriam Rubin (Jan 2009).