When thinking of a healthy french fry, think zucchini. When thinking of eating this at a McDonalds, wait for pigs to fly.
French fries seem easy enough – just a matter of potatoes and frying oil, right? Wrong. The kind of fast-food fries we’re used to aren’t as straightforward as they seem. McDonald’s French Fries contain the likes of natural beef flavor (wheat and milk derivatives), citric acid, dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate, hydrogenated oils, stabilizer tertiary butylhydroquinone, and anti-foaming agent dimethylopolysiloxane. Many of these artificial ingredients are dangerous in large quantities and overall toxic in your body.
One medium serving (117 grams) of McDonald’s French Fries packs 380 calories, 19 grams of fat, 270 milligrams of sodium, and 48 grams of carbohydrates. With one serving accounting for nearly 30 percent of your daily value of fat, the 5 grams of dietary fiber and vitamin C calcium, and iron quantities, albeit scant to begin with, are vastly overshadowed. The carbohydrate count isn’t doing any favors to your waistline either.
With these stats, there is room for a serious makeover. To lower the fat, this recipe requires baking the fries, which are lightly coated with olive oil. I also used zucchini as the base to slash the carbohydrate load. Zucchini won’t crisp quite like a potato when baked, but it will firm slightly and taste absolutely crave-worthy. The corn flour helps to achieve a crispy brown coating, but if you want a firmer fry, replace the zucchini with a sweet potato or white potato. Regardless of how you alter the base vegetable or ratio of spices, you are bound to end up with a healthier alternative to the Micky D’s classic.
Spicy Zucchini Fries
- 1 large zucchini
- 1/4 cup corn flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut off both ends of the zucchini and slice it along its length into 1/2-inch pieces.
Set aside one of the rounded edge slices and turn zucchini onto its side so it is lying flat. Again, slice lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick pieces to create French fries shapes.
In a medium bowl, toss zucchini strips with corn flour, salt, pepper, turmeric, oregano, red pepper flakes, and olive oil until each fry is evenly coated with the spices and oil.
Lay fries out on a baking sheet so each has its own place.
Bake for 45 minutes or until browned and slightly crisped. Serve with herbs and ketchup!
Aylin Erman currently resides in Istanbul and is creator of plant-based recipe website GlowKitchen.