Oven-Baked Zucchini Sticks

Hello Food Lifers! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m beginning to think about my plans for 2019. Personal goals, fitness goals, and business goals are all swirling in my mind. With these thoughts in mind, I recently read @iamwellandgood’s top wellness trends of 2019. Among them are trends such as CBD oil, oat milk, home technology (Hello, Alexa), and cauliflower maintaining its reign as king of the vegetables.

Which brings me to an important announcement: I have a strong dislike of cauliflower. Seriously you guys, it’s flavourless and has a weird texture. Am I in an emporer’s new clothes situation? I’ll say it. Cauliflower. Is. Gross. It’s not the same as rice. It doesn’t make an adequate substitute for pizza crust. And it’s not fooling anyone as a chicken wing.  

In light of my official statement on this bland and boring vegetable, I dedicating this post to my mission to end the rule of cauliflower. In its place, I would like to propose a new leader – ZUCCHINI!  Zucchini is high in vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin (which are important for maintenance of eye health and good vision), and fibre. And most importantly, it’s not gross.

In case you need convincing, here is a delightful recipe for oven-baked zucchini sticks (inspired by White Spot, for those who live in BC). I love these as a side with chicken, or a burger, or even alone as a snack. Paired with a Greek-yogurt based dip, this recipe will have you calling for the beheading of cauliflower in no time.

Oven-Baked Zucchini Sticks

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the zucchini:

 4 medium zucchini, cut into sticks approximately 3” (7.5 cm) long and ½ inch (1.5 cm) wide

3 tbsp neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as canola, sunflower, or avocado

¼ cup flour (I used all-purpose, but any variety will do for those who are gluten free)

¼ cup cornmeal

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne (depending on how spicy you like it)

½ tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the dip:

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill (or 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh)

1 tablespoon dried parsley (or 2 tablespoons fresh), or you can substitute basil, or mint

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place zucchini in a large bowl and toss with oil until evenly coated.

Combine flour, cornmeal, spices, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Then sprinkle on top of the zucchini and toss again to coat.

Line one to two cookie sheets with parchment (I found I needed one large baking sheet and one small sheet to fit all the zucchini). Spread out the zucchini in an even layer. I find they crisp up nicely if they aren’t touching each other. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until just starting to brown (I start checking them at about 25 minutes).

While the zucchini in cooking, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl until well mixed. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Serve immediately. Yum!