Baked Zucchini Fries (Courgette Fries) with Parmesan cheese are healthy and ridiculously moreish. They’re also easy to make and naturally gluten free.
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Baked Zucchini Fries with Parmesan… Healthy, easy, delicious
Have you ever had Baked Zucchini Fries with Parmesan? They are one of the most incredible ways to eat courgette… Super-healthy and easy to make too! But beware… They are also extremely addictive. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. There are far worse things to be addicted to. And let’s be honest… If it’s a recipe that gets us eating more of the green stuff, then it’s not all bad. Even the kids love these morsels!!
In this post, I’ll give you the low down on how and why Baked Zucchini Fries are a recipe you HAVE to make… And if you haven’t got garden courgettes to hand, then grab some next time you’re at the grocer. You won’t regret it. 😁
Baked Zucchini Fries or Baked Courgette Fries? The confusion of international terminology
But first things first. Yet again, we need to deal with the confusion of international terminology… Are we talking Baked Zucchini Fries or Baked Courgette Fries?
Well… I guess that depends on where you live. Here in the UK, we call zucchini ‘courgette’. However, in North America, Canada and Australia, courgettes are apparently ‘zucchini’. 🤔 So, I guess, It’s both or either…
But why is a Brit like me choosing to use the term ‘zucchini’? Well, quite simply, I just love the word! It sings and seems so much more exotic than ‘courgette’. So cheers lovely American people… You have me on this one!
Either way, whether you eat courgette or zucchini, make sure you turn them into baked fries and you honestly won’t care what they’re called.
What’s in Baked Zucchini Fries?
To make Baked Zucchini Fries with Parmesan, I use…
- Zucchini (or courgettes) – obviously!
- Parmesan (or a similar hard cheese – dairy free if needed).
- Polenta (ground cornmeal – fine, coarse or I use a combination of both).
- Beaten egg with a drop of oil (I use olive oil) – to coat and stick the breadcrumbs and ensure the fries are perfectly cooked.
- Smoked Paprika and Chopped Dried Garlic (or other flavourings – see suggestions below)
- Table Salt – for taking some of the moisture out of the courgettes
Getting the balance right… a coating of cheese and polenta for the best Zucchini Fries
There are a number of recipes for Zucchini Fries on the internet. So what makes these different?
Well… While some of the oven-baked recipes include cheese in the coating, most of them use flour or breadcrumbs in addition. I’ve chosen to use polenta (ground corn meal), which is a naturally gluten free flour and which has the most delicious ability to add crunch to the chips. And yes… there are plenty of recipes that also use polenta… But most of them seem to then fry the chips, rather than oven-bake.
Ultimately… Combining the deliciousness of polenta with the ability to keep them healthier by oven baking, comes down to getting the balance right. I’ve tested the recipe with various ratios on your behalf to get the best bake, crunch and flavour. Too much polenta, too little cheese and a drop less oil and the fries are dry and gritty. But get it right and Baked Zucchini Fries will have you dipping into the serving dish for more, over and over again.
But don’t take my word for it… Follow the recipe I’ve shared and try them for yourself.
I can’t eat corn, what can I use instead of polenta when making Courgette Fries?
Since I know some of you can’t tolerate corn and this will be a question you’ll ask, these are the best alternatives to using polenta when making Baked Zucchini Fries…
For a straight flour switch, use Gram Flour (also known as Besan and chickpea flour). It’s an extremely versatile flour that has a lightly earthy flavour and works well against Parmesan cheese. More familiar in Indian cooking, I have used it extensively when cooking gluten free… Most perfectly in the recipes for my Gluten Free Tortilla Wraps, my wonderfully malleable pie and Cornish Pasty Pastry and utterly delicious, super-easy Gluten Free Roti (Soft Flatbread). But it’s also great when making Zucchini Fries.
Or… you can head down the traditional breadcrumb route… Gluten free or not as you require. They are relatively easy to buy and exceptionally easy to make… If you need to check out how, head over to my post on how to make Gluten Free Bread Crumbs (Fresh or Dried) at home.
Even better… Try using super-crunchy Panko Breadcrumbs. And yes! You can make them gluten free too. Find out how in my post on how to make Gluten Free Panko Breadcrumbs.
Why take the moisture out of zucchini?
One of the key things I do when making Baked Zucchini Fries is to draw out some of the moisture from the courgette before coating. The reason for this is simple. Zucchini are quite a ‘wet’ fruit. Removing some of the liquid, ensures that when baked, they cook crunchier (the moisture doesn’t make the coating soggy). While you can omit this part of the process, I personally think it makes all the difference…
How to take moisture out of the zucchini…
Even better, removing the moisture is super-easy. Simply…
- Cut the courgette into chip sticks ready to coat…
- Lay them on a bed of kitchen paper (to soak up the moisture as it is released)…
- Sprinkle with salt (which naturally draws the liquid out by osmosis)…
- Leave to sit for a while… Then, when ready…
- Dab or wipe off the excess moisture. And because the salt dissolves in the juice, any excess ‘saltiness’ will also be removed in the final drying-off, leaving just enough to season the zucchini fries. 😘
Are Baked Zucchini Fries Gluten Free?
Providing they are made using polenta, gram flour, or gluten free bread crumbs, then yes… Baked Zucchini Fries are gluten free. That also means they are safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac Disease). Just remember to check ingredient packs and labels for any cross-contamination warnings (‘may contain’ warnings) and hidden gluten. The most likely suspects for factory production risk and sneaky gluten in this recipe will be the polenta and seasonings.
Is it possible to make this recipe dairy free?
I don’t see why not… The only sub required to make courgette fries dairy free would be the cheese. And some great dairy-free hard cheese alternatives are now available, ready to grate and throw into the mix.
How to make Baked Zucchini Fries
I put together a speedy video giving a quick run-through on how to make Baked Zucchini Fries. You can find it either on YouTube…
Or via this ➡️ Instagram Link.
Tip for coating
Although in the video I used my hand for coating the zucchini, it can get very messy. It’s much easier if using fine-pointed kitchen tongs… because it’s cleaner and the coating gets less ‘clumpy’.
Adding extra flavour to courgette chips
Although it’s fine to bake Courgette Fries with a simple parmesan and polenta coating, I like them when they have been flavoured up with a little spice and extras… The chips in the photos have a coating of smoked paprika (which gives the beautiful reddish hue) and some chopped dried garlic. But the options are pretty much endless. Here’s a little inspiration…
- Smoked or plain ground Paprika
- A hint of spicy-hot Chilli Powder
- Za’atar seasoning
- Cumin, Turmeric or Garam Masala spices
- Cajun seasoning
- Harissa spice
- Simple Black Pepper
- Herbs (fresh or dried) such as basil, oregano, thyme, chives or parsley
- Chopped Dried Garlic or garlic powder
- Dried Onion Flakes
- Sesame seeds
- Barbecue seasoning
- A hint of Mustard Powder
How to serve Baked Zucchini Fries
Whether you want your chips as part of a main meal or to eat as a snack, there are many ways to serve Zucchini Fries. I’ve been eating them as lunch. But they are equally at home as a side dish served with meats, fish, tofu or other vegetables. Or added to a Buddha Bowl. Alternatively, they make the perfect appetiser, hand-around canapés and buffet party treat. Or just a simple ‘on the side’ nibble when friends pop over.
Wherever you choose to have them, there is also the option of eating them straight or popping a dip and extras alongside. Why not try adding the following…
- The usual suspects… Mayonnaise and Ketchup
- Barbecue Sauce
- Homemade Baba Ganoush
- Green Pesto
- Garlic Butter and other flavoured homemade butters
- Homemade Houmous or Houmous with Caramelised onion
- Authentic Guacamole (super quick and easy)
- A side of Pineapple Coleslaw
- Or… Potato Salad
Ready to make Baked Zucchini Fries?
And that’s it! The recipe for my Baked Zucchini Fries (Courgette Fries) can be found if you scroll just a little further. Enjoy!
If there’s anything else you need, just shout. If you make my fries, let me know in a comment or through social media (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter). And I’d love if you could rate the recipe too ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
For everything else, head over to my Gluten Free Recipe Index. You’ll find all our inspiration in one place with yummy photos to help you decide.
All shared with my love
Other delicious simple snacks to share…
Baked Zucchini (Courgette) Fries
- chopping board
- sharp vegetable knife
- kitchen paper
- spoon and fork
- flat-bottomed bowls
- 2 medium zucchini (courgette) sliced in half and into even-sized sticks
- 60 g Parmesan cheese finely grated
- 40 g ground polenta (cornmeal) fine, coarse or a combination of the two
- 2 tsp paprika powder smoked or unsmoked
- 1½ tsp chopped dried garlic
- 2 medium eggs beaten
- 3 tsp olive oil
For reducing moisture in the zucchini
- table salt (1 tsp approx)
Prepare the zucchini/courgette
- Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut in half and slice into sticks of even size.
- Line a large baking sheet with plenty of kitchen towel.
- Place the zucchini sticks on the kitchen paper and sprinkle with table salt.
- Set aside for 30 to 40 minutes to 'bleed' excess moisture.
Prepare the coating and egg
- While the zucchini are set aside, prepare two wide, flat bowls…
- In one, mix the grated Parmesan with the polenta, paprika and garlic. set aside.
- In the other, fork-beat the egg with the olive oil. Set aside.
Drying the zucchini and preparing the oven tray
- When the zucchini have 'bled', dry them using more kitchen paper by either dabbing or wiping and transfer to a clean plate.
- Bin the kitchen paper and line the baking tray(s) with baking paper.
Coating and baking the zucchini
- Pre-heat the oven to 220 C/425 F/Gas 7.
- Line up the baking tray, dry coating and egg wash next to each other.
- Dip and coat the zucchini sticks in the egg, then coat in the dry mix, before arranging on the baking trays, with a small gap between each. This can be done using hands, but is less 'messy' if done using tongs (as egg combined with dry coating gets very sticky).
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until crisp and golden.
- Serve hot, straight away with dips or as they are.
© 2019-2022 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist