This one is definitely worth going out on a limb to try! And further, for those of you on WW or who are conscious of your calories/diet, the “substitute” ingredients we purchased were CLUTCH to making these healthy and low-point. One of the biggest diet traps is making stuff like this and thinking “OH IT’S JUST ZUCCHINI NOM NOM NOM I CAN EAT IT ALL NOM NOM NOM MOSTLY WATER ANYWAY NOM NOM NOM GUILT FREE NOM NOM NOM” because things like flour and bread crumbs are NOT free, not even A LITTLE. And so we’ve included the directions to the original recipe, and some notes about what we followed or tweaked.
Now, as a former fried-food-fan (these days, I genuinely don’t think I’d enjoy most actually fried foods if I were to eat them), I really miss things that have that salty, crispy casing on them. As I progress on my WW-journey, I’ve learned to become cool with things that have a semblance of that casing and are BAKED instead of fried. And so when I saw this recipe for zucchini fries, I thought, “Well, heck, it’s the weekend and I’ve got over 40 activity points saved up and all my weekly flex points, so let’s toss this recipe into the recipe builder on my iPad app and see what we’ve got.” Turns out, for 45 fries (our batch made 50), the way WE did it was only 4 PP a person if you split the spoils IN HALF. You heard me: 20-some of these zucchini fries (they are not small) for 4 PP.
Obviously, we had to try it.
So there I was, looking at the ingredient list for this recipe. It called for flour and bread crumbs. The author of the recipe (original format here) used something called “chickpea flour/besan,” which I had never heard of before. I did some point-sleuthing and, wouldn’t you know it, this miracle powder is LESS POINTS than regular flour! So we needed it. Hmph.
Chelsea, I declared, We’re going to the hippie store.
I affectionately call our local organic/whole foods grocery shop “the hippie store,” and I spend a lot of my time there these days. I’m really looking the part lately, too. Vegan Baggalinni? Check. Prius? Check. Lesbianism? Check. I fit right in. :-p
I’ve noticed that while not EVERYTHING at Down To Earth is at a reasonable or competitive price (their peanut butters cost nearly twice as much as the same brands do at Wegman’s!), their bulk foods and baking stuff cannot be beat. Plus, if ANYWHERE was gonna be selling chickpea flour, it was Down To Earth. So off we went. And we found it. And it was $2.00 for a pound of it. Success.
Now, bread crumbs… I looked into panko (which we have in the pantry) and wasn’t elated by how many points the recipe would become through its use. A cup of panko is no small amount of points, ya dig? Italian bread crumbs are even worse. So I endeavored to make my OWN bread crumbs, by buying a loaf of WW’s whole wheat bread, double toasting it, and then chopping it in the food processor. Success.
The recipe itself is so simple you’ll smack yourself for not having come up with it, and the results are so delicious that you’ll immediately wish you could un-smack yourself since now, you’ll be grateful SOMEONE came up with it.
— 2 or 3 small zucchini, cut into fry shapes. (I used 2 zucchini — small ones — and first cut them in half, then into quarters, then into fry shapes from there. Oh, and I cut off the ends before doing the above.)
— 1/4 cup chickpea flour (We ended up needing a little bit more than this. Probably about 1/2 a cup — but it didn’t all get used. When we were getting down to the bottom of the original 1/4, though, the fries were hard to coat because of the shape of the bowl. So more flour made for easier coating, even though we didn’t use it all. If that makes sense)
— 1/4 tsp garlic powder (HAHAHA I scoff at anyone who says I should use less than a tablespoon of garlic powder at any time for any reason. You KNOW Chelsea and I upped the ante on that ‘ish.)
— 1/2 cup milk of choice (we used flax milk, and we needed more than 1/2 a cup)
— 1 cup breadcrumbs (again, we needed more than this — but that’s in part because our crumbs were getting soggy from all the dippage. You’ll see. Maybe other types of crumbs are more resilient.)
— Preheat the oven to 420.
— Spray a bake-able cooling rack with cooking spray and put it on a pan. (Pics in the original recipe’s post will be helpful here).
— Make an assembly line: in one bowl, your flour, garlic powder, and any other seasonings. In a second bowl, your milk. In a final bowl, your breadcrumbs.
— Dip each little zucchini piece first in the flour, then the milk, then the breadcrumbs. Add to the cooling rack.
— Bake for about 20 minutes (in our experience).
The above recipe, using flax milk and WW crumbs and chickpea flour, made an 8-PP overall recipe that became 4 PP a person. And we couldn’t even eat them all in one sitting. And so, a point-friendly delicious snack.