These look good, right? Even if you hate vegetables, the crunchy panko breadcrumbs over tender salted zucchini dipped in home-made sweet onion sauce make these little babies irresistible. Try subbing them in for french fries the next time you’re grilling out or make a batch for a healthy snack alternative over the weekend. If you’re a vegetarian, even better…put them in your weekly rotation! I love finding new ways to serve and eat vegetables – and hey, if you pile on enough panko maybe the kids won’t notice they’re green underneath!
Baked Zucchini Sticks and Sweet Onion Dip
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium sweet onion, about 1/2 pound, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 medium zucchini, unpeeled, cut into 3″-long stick
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup coarse, dry bread crumbs (e.g., panko)
- scant 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon mixed Italian herbs
- olive oil spray
- 1/2 cup egg substitute; or 2 large eggs; or 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
First, find yourself 3 medium-size zucchini, about 9″ to 10″ long.
Cut each zucchini into 3″ sticks about the diameter of your finger. Cutting each zucchini into 9 sticks lengthwise, then cutting into 3″ lengths, works well.
Place the zucchini sticks in a colander over a bowl, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt. Let them drain for 1 hour or longer.
While the zucchini are shedding their excess liquid, make the dip.
First, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium-sized frying pan over moderate heat, and add 1 medium sweet onion (about 1/2 pound), sliced.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, then caramelizes. This should take between 20 and 25 minutes, at medium-low heat. The lower the heat, the longer it takes, but the less likely you are to burn the onions.
When the onions are medium brown, remove them from the heat
Place the following in a small food processor or blender:
all of the caramelized onions
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
Process until fairly smooth.
Remove from the processor, and stir in 1 cup mayonnaise.
Rinse your zucchini thoroughly to get rid of any excess salt. Then pat them dry.
Next up: the bread and cheese coating. But first, preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and spray the parchment with olive oil.
Combine the following:
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon mixed Italian herbs
Mix until thoroughly combined.
Beat 2 large eggs; or pour 1/2 cup egg substitute into a dish. Coat your zucchini and hand dip individually in the panko mixture. Line on baking sheet.
Bake the sticks for about 12-15 minutes per side until they’re starting to brown. You’ll know they’re done when they’re brown and crisp on the outside.