By Marygrace Taylor
It’s a pretty good bet that when a food is battered and fried, called “fingers,” and served with a dipping sauce, kids will gobble it up. In fact, if there was a Parenting 101 Guidebook (anyone planning on writing such a thing anytime soon?), this tip would probably top the list of Things All Parents Know For Sure.
On it’s own, zucchini doesn’t have a whole lot going for it. It’s sort of bland and can get soggy and waterlogged if you cook it the wrong way. But practically every garden and farmer’s market in the country is overflowing with the veggie right now, pressuring cooks everywhere to come up with interesting ways to eat it.
My favorite way? Cheesy Zucchini Fingers, because you can get them on the table in less than a half hour and they win kids over every time. And they’re delicious, of course. Fresh herbs and a crunchy, salty outer coating make these just as tasty as those mozzarella sticks every kid (and grown up) loves, but way healthier. If you’ve got yellow squash on hand instead, feel free to substitute.
Cheesy Zucchini Fingers
Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 1/2 teaspoons each fresh thyme and oregano (or 3/4 teaspoon dried each)
1/2 teaspoon fresh sage (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
3 tablespoons safflower oil, divided
Tomato or marinara sauce, for dipping
1. Slice each zucchini in half, width-wise, then slice each half length-wise. Slice each of these halves into 8 to 10 1/2-inch thick matchsticks, for a total of 16 to 20 matchsticks per zucchini.
2. Set out three medium bowls. Place the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in the first bowl, and the beaten egg in the second bowl. In the third bowl, place the breadcrumbs, cheese, remaining salt, and herbs and mix to combine.
3. Dredge each zucchini matchstick into the flour, egg, then breadcrumb mixture and place on a large plate or baking sheet.
4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the safflower oil over medium-high heat. Add a third of the zucchini fingers and cook 3-4 minutes. Flip the zucchini fingers and cook 1-2 minutes more, or until golden brown. Remove from the pan and repeat with remaining zucchini fingers.
5. Serve hot, with tomato or marinara sauce for dipping.
Per serving: calories 299, fat 15 g, protein 11 g, carbohydrates 30 g, dietary fiber 4 g
Marygrace Taylor is the staff writer and recipe developer for KIWI Magazine. She lives and cooks in Austin, Texas, with her husband and dog, Charlie.