Zucchini is an incredibly versatile squash. Here, I give it a whirl as Parmesan Zucchini Fries.
Bonus: the pork rind substitute for bread crumbs adds over 80 g of protein to the recipe!
Zucchini vs potato fries
Sometimes I am extra curious regarding my keto recipes. How does my micronutrient intake compare to the pre-keto version? Exactly how much carbs am I cutting out? Here, I made a comparison table between 400 g zucchini vs 400 g potatoes.
Obviously, potatoes have almost 12 times as much net carbs. I highlighted other key differences. I defined a key nutrient difference as over 25% of the estimated daily recommended intake. Potatoes have a slight edge in vitamins B3, B6, and copper. Meanwhile, zucchini is stuffed with vitamin A and a bit more vitamin C.
The ultimate bread crumb substitute: pork rinds
I continued my comparison with the other key substitution from regular baked zucchini fries vs my keto version: pork rinds for bread crumbs or panko.
Panko contributes more net carbohydrates than actual potatoes. Other than having 14.2 g protein and a minimal amount of fiber, it is otherwise void of nutrients. Meanwhile, 5 oz pork rinds have as much protein as 11 ounces of chicken thigh and multiple vitamins. Their 2.2 mg of vitamin B3 and 1.2 mg iron (blue shading) help make up the small deficits of zucchini vs potatoes. They have over 100% of my daily recommended selenium intake. This is an important point. Ignoring the fat intake (which I typically do while following keto), pork rinds are more nutritionally sound than panko as a breading.
How to cut zucchini to make zucchini fries
My goal for this recipe was a tasty, attractive fry substitute. The first step to accomplish that goal was mimicking the fry shape. To make my zucchini fries as uniform as possible, I cut the ends of each zucchini. Next, I cut the zucchini into eighths lengthwise by cutting in half three times. This leaves you with a zucchini divided into eighths. However, the thinnest part of the zucchini wedge will not cook evenly with the rest of the zucchini. It also distracts from the typical fry shape. I slit off the thinnest half inch inner portions of the zucchini as well.
Suggestions for making crispy fries
This recipe makes delicious zucchini fries. Roasting brings out the zucchini’s sweetness. The pork rinds lose their porky flavoring but are still savory. My husband and I gobbled them so quickly that our toddler didn’t get the chance to try them. But I do wish they were a bit crispier. These are the tactics I plan to try in the future:
- Use an air fryer. My aunt Sandra has one. I shall try this recipe next time I visit her. If it is successful, I may finally hop on the air fryer bonanza.
- Bake on a rack that permits air circulation
- Use the convection function of my oven to circulate air
- Bake at a hotter temperature
Parmesan Zucchini Fries
- 4 Zucchini, Small
- 2 Large Eggs
- 5 oz Pork Rinds
- ⅓ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Place aluminum foil over a baking sheet.
- Wash the zucchini and cut off about half inch from either end. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then in half lengthwise again to make fourths, then in half again to make eighths. Trim off the very thin half inch of the wedge that was previously on the inside of the zucchini.
- Beat two eggs with a fork in a medium bowl with flat bottom until the eggs are frothy
- Crush the pork rinds until they are very fine. Five ounces of pork rinds made about 1.5 cups of pork rind crumbs for me.
- Combine the pork rinds with Parmesan cheese, stirring with a fork to break up clumps.
- Dip a zucchini wedge in the frothy eggs. Drop in the bowl with the pork rinds. Using a fork, spread the pork rinds over the zucchini. Lift with your fingertips, and place on the baking sheet. Spray the zucchini wedges with olive oil cooking spray.
- Bake at 425°F for 15-20 minutes. Flip each wedge onto the opposite side, and bake for another 15-20 minutes. The wedges will be golden tan. Remove from oven, and eat once they have cooled down either alone or with suggested dipping sauces.