Plant a zucchini, feed a neighborhood. If you garden or have neighbors that do, chances are you have some zucchini waiting to be used. I know a lot of people dislike zucchini, but I actually enjoy it and have no problem coming up with ways to use it.
Even if you don’t care for it, chances are there are two ways you’ll eat it: zucchini bread and fried zucchini sticks. Maybe. No? Come on, who doesn’t like a quick-bread. And anything fried is better right? With enough crispy, crunchy coating and red sauce it’s not so bad. You know it’s true.
Well, fried zucchini might get your family to eat their veggies, but it’s messy and not exactly the recommended way to get your 5 a day. I came across a baked zucchini recipe from King Arthur Flour. Of course, with panko crumbs, it was full of gluten.
Lucky for me a local store carries gluten-free panko crumbs (Kinnikinnick Crumbs – Panko Style Gluten Free). And since I mentioned the brand, what’s with the name Kinnikinnick? Sorry, that name is insane to spell and pronounce (just saying).
These gluten-free panko crumbs look and feel like traditional panko crumbs and are gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free (unfortunately they do contain egg though, so they are a no-go for my oldest kid). With some modifications to the original recipe I was able to make some excellent gluten-free baked zucchini sticks that were a huge hit at a recent family dinner. In fact they were so popular they were gone before I got a chance to take any pictures. Oh well, it just meant I had to make them again. I am not complaining though, these are super tasty and way less messy than frying.
The coating has Parmesan cheese and pizza seasoning, which really gives a nice flavor. However, if you are dairy-free, I think skipping the cheese altogether would be fine.
Baked Zucchini Sticks
These are really easy to prepare, but it does dirty a few dishes.
- 2 small-medium zucchinis, unpeeled, ends trimmed and cut into 3 inch sticks
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup panko style bread crumbs (I used kinnikinnick gluten-free)
- 1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I didn’t really measure, just guessed)
- 1 tablespoon pizza seaoning (Italian Seasoning would also work)
- 2 large eggs
- about 1/2 cup cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 425 (if you have a convection setting use it). Line a baking sheet with silpat mat or parchement (or at least grease it really well).
- Place the zucchini sticks in a colander over a bowl (or in the sink) and sprinkle evenly with salt. Allow to set for at least 15 minutes (and up to an hour). Rinse zucchini with water and allow to drain.
- In a shallow dish or bowl, combine panko, Parmesan, and pizza seasoning.
- In another shallow container, add eggs and lightly beat.
- In yet another shallow container add cornstarch.
- Dredge a few zucchini sticks at a time in cornstarch, then egg, then crumb mixture. (As the mixture gets wet, I noticed I had to press the crumbs onto the zucchini to make it stick). Place on prepared sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned and crisp, about 12-15 minutes (I like them crisp-tender; but they could be cooked a few minutes longer if you prefer them soft). I don’t need to turn these, but I have a convection setting on my oven, so you might want to watch these and turn if needed.
- Serve immediately with a marinara sauce or an onion dip.I linked this recipe up to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.