If the bulk of your experience with vegetables thus far has been with bland, boiled side dish veggies, you’re in for a treat. Baked vegetables tend to retain some of the crunch that makes them so satisfying to eat, and can easily be jazzed up by tossing them with oils or seasonings. Plus, they make an excellent, healthier replacement for salt-laden, calorie-dense chips and French fries.
Here are a few recipes to get you started:
Parmesan Zucchini Fries
These breaded zucchini fries rock the satisfying crunch of zucchini (the thicker you cut them, the more crunch they’ll have) and the light crispiness of panko bread crumbs. Parmesan cheese (fresh-grated is best) and black pepper tie it all together with rich flavors.
Crispy Kale Chips
A little olive oil, a little salt, and some time in the oven is all it takes to transform kale into crispy chips. You can put your own spin on this dish by seasoning the kale with your favorite spice after you’ve laid it on the baking sheet. If you’re a fan of salt and vinegar potato chips, consider sprinkling some vinegar on the chips once they’re baked.
Remember: kale shrinks a ton when it’s baked, so you might want to make two trays’ worth or you’ll be left wishing you’d made more!
Deep fried pickles are a restaurant staple. If you want to approximate this classic dish with fewer calories and without the hassle of at-home deep frying, try baked breaded pickles instead.
Fair warning: baked carrot fries are unlikely to ever be crispy. There’s just something about carrots that makes them refuse to crisp up. They’re either soft or burnt.
That said, baked carrot fries are absolutely delicious if you’re able to put aside your desire for crunchiness and embrace the baked carrot fry’s natural wilt.
Baking enhances carrots’ natural sweetness and makes them nice and soft. A little oil and rosemary adds great flavor. If you like spice, try serving these with sriracha mayo dipping sauce. (You can make this by mixing together some mayo and sriracha in whatever proportions you prefer.) You won’t regret it.