Breaded & Baked Zucchini Chips

Friday, August 24th, 2012

2012-08-05 - Baked Zucchini Chips - 0002

 

These zucchini “chips”

I feel weird calling them “chips” after making all those dehydrated zucchini chips. Now those were chips; this recipe produces something more like baked rounds. A little on the crispy side, but true chips these are not!

are somewhat similar to the Baked Zucchini Sticks I posted last month, but with slightly different seasonings and baked on a rack instead of cookie sheets. Plus they’re round, yo! Whatever. Those sticks are so good, no one can blame me for blogging ’em twice.

This time around, I tried adding a sprinkling of vegan mozzarella cheese on top, for extra cheesy goodness. The results were mixed: the Daiya I used bypassed the melty stage, going straight to crispy. Which is weird, ’cause I thought that was Follow Your Heart’s job? Anyway, you might get better results using another vegan cheese. Teese, maybe? Those tubular cheeses seem a sure shot, since you can cut them to fit. Shreds just end up all over the place: the baking sheet, the counter, the floor, your shirt, the dogs’ mouths, anywhere and everywhere but on the damn zukes.

Also worth a try: mixing some shreds in with the batter. The only question is, will they stick? Try it and report back to me, people, because it’s too hot to fire this oven up again!

Last but not least: I baked half the chips on a baking rack and the other half on cookie sheets (because I only own one oven-safe rack…naturally), and the two sets of chips were nearly indistinguishably. Though the original recipe calls for racks, either way should be fine.

 
Breaded & Baked Zucchini Chips

(Adapted from this recipe at health.com.)

Ingredients

Cooking spray
1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 batch (~3/4 cup) vegan parmesan cheese (recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt + extra to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder + extra to taste
black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons nondairy milk
1 large or 2 medium-sized zucchini, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
Vegan mozzarella cheese (optional)

(for the vegan parmesan)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup walnuts OR almonds
a dash of salt
1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Begin by making the vegan parmesan. In a food processor, combine the nutritional yeast, walnuts, salt, and olive oil. Pulse until well-blended and “crumbly.” Set aside.

3. Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, seasoned salt, garlic powder, and black pepper in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. Place the nondairy milk in a small bowl. Dip the zucchini slices in the milk and then dredge them through the breadcrumb mix. Or, to prevent the batter from getting gummy, sprinkle the breadcrumbs onto each side of the zucchini slices with a spoon. (H/t, Marji!)

4. Place the coated zucchini slices on an ovenproof wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet. (If you don’t have a rack, baking sheets work well too!) Sprinkle with a bit of vegan mozzarella cheese if desired.

5. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until browned and crispy. Enjoy asap!

Tomato Zucchini Bake

Friday, August 10th, 2012

2012-07-28 - Tomato Zucchini Bake - 0008

 

Three words: Tomato zucchini bake. BAM! Using up two prolific garden veggies in one recipe. Like a boss.

The generous helping of Daiya cheese and tasty panko-vegan parm topping transform this casserole into something special. I guess you could cut down on the Daiya cheese for a healthier dish, but where’s the yum in that?

 

2012-07-28 - Tomato Zucchini Bake - 0003

 

Tomato Zucchini Bake

(Adapted from this recipe at health.com.)

Ingredients

Cooking spray
1 large homegrown zucchini – or 2-3 store-bought zukes – cut into 1/8″ rounds
Approximately 8 Roma – or similarly sized – tomatoes, cut into 1/8″ rounds
3 cups corn kernels
Mozzarella Daiya cheese (or the vegan cheese of your choice)
Basil to taste
Oregano to taste
Salt to taste
1/4 cup panko
1/4 cup vegan parmesan (see below)
Garlic powder to taste

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Coat a 9×12″, 3-quart baking baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Put down a single layer of the zucchini slices, overlapping them slightly if necessary. Do likewise with the tomatoes. Follow with a cup of the corn kernels and a bit of mozzarella Daiya. Finish the layer with a dash of basil and oregano. Repeat twice so that you have three identical layers.

Tip: cut the veggies as you go, so that you don’t end up with any extras!

3. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup panko with 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese and a dash of garlic powder, if desired. Sprinkle on top of the casserole, distributing it evenly.

4. Bake, uncovered in the center of the oven, at 425F for 20-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Cover with foil and bake for another 10-20 minutes, or until the veggies are tender to your liking and the cheese is nice and bubbly. Serve hot!

(More below the fold…)

Baked Zucchini Sticks

Friday, July 6th, 2012

2012-07-02 - Zucchini Sticks & Leftover Pizza - 0009

 

Some time in late June, my modest little backyard garden started spitting out zucchini like whoah. We only plant four or five mounds every year – usually not even an entire seed packets’ worth – but nevertheless, we always end up with more zucchini than we know what to do with. (Exhibit A: the zucchini tag.) Faced with an entire produce drawer of the green stuff, I decided to skip my old standbys – zucchini bread, zucchini pancakes, pasta and zucchini – in search of recipes that are almost pure zucchini. I mean business, yo!

Among the promising possibilities I uncovered? This recipe for Zucchini Fries on health.com, which I promptly got down to veganizing. Along the way I also changed the name, since I find them more reminiscent of mozzarella sticks than french fries. Kind of like the mozz sticks I made for criFSMas 2010, but baked! And no processed vegan cheese! No dairy cheese, either, making my version even healthier than the original. Suck it, “health”.com!

 

Baked Zucchini Sticks

(Adapted from this recipe at health.com.)

Ingredients

(for the vegan parmesan)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup walnuts OR almonds
a dash of salt
1 teaspoon olive oil

2 medium-sized zucchini
1 1/2 teaspoons NRG egg replacement powder + 2 tablespoons warm water (or another egg substitute equivalent to one egg)
1/4 cup nondairy milk, plain
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (or unseasoned breadcrumbs, hand seasoned with your favorite spices – garlic, onion powder, salt, black pepper, etc. – to taste)
Cooking spray

Directions

1. Begin by making the vegan parmesan. In a food processor, combine the nutritional yeast, walnuts, salt, and olive oil. Pulse until well-blended and “crumbly.” Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 425F. Slice the zucchini into strips 3″ long and about as thick as a medium-cut french fry. Try to cut them as evenly as possible, so they all bake at the same rate. Set aside.

3. Prepare the wet mix: in a small bowl, mix the NRG egg replacer with warm water, whisking well. Add the milk. Set aside.

4. Make the dry mix: combine the parmesan and breadcrumbs in a wide, shallow bowl, mixing well. If using unseasoned breadcrumbs, add extra spices to taste.

5. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray.

6. One by one, dip the zucchini strips in the milk/egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs/parmesan, giving them a quick, gentle shake in between the wet and dry mixes. Place them on the baking sheets, with a little space in between each zucchini stick.

7. Bake at 425F for approximate 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

2012-07-02 - Zucchini Sticks & Leftover Pizza - 0021

Goes perfectly with pizza! Vegan Happy Hour, holla!
——————————

Notes

Tip: I found that the dry mix started to “gum up” about halfway through the process, making it difficult to get the breadcrumbs to stick to the zucchini. Try dividing the dry mix between two bowls so you can switch to a fresh bowl when needed.

Tip #2: If you have some zucchini sticks left over, salt them lightly and cook them with the breaded sticks. Still yummy! But be careful: the zucchini sticks without any skin attached – those from the very middle of the zucchini – are fragile and susceptible to breakage, especially when not coated with batter. Be sure to bread those guys first!

Tip #3: The breaded sticks don’t need to be flipped or turned, but the “naked” ones do!

 

2012-06-29 - Zucchini Explosion - 0006

So what should I do with the rest of these bad boys?
——————————

Parmesan "Cheeze" Spread

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

2012-04-14 - Parmesan Cheeze Spread - 0010

I accidentally discovered this recipe when I tried – and failed epically – to make a batch of vegan Parmesan cheese from Vegan Junk Food.

(In retrospect, I really should have seen it coming: it was still early in the day; I had just eaten breakfast and normally would’ve been getting ready to do my workout. But I was tired and groggy and not at all in the mood, so I decided to get myself going with a few rote chores. Like those that involve reading comprehension, measuring, and mathematics. WHAT COULD GO WRONG?)

The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1/2 cup walnuts, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of olive oil; simply toss in a blender or food processor and pulse until mixed. Only instead of a teaspoon of oil, I used a tablespoon.

But wait! It gets better! I’d quadrupled the recipe so that I’d have plenty of extra cheese left over, so the disaster was four times as bad. In a last-ditch attempt to save the cheese, I quadrupled the recipe yet again, this time omitting the oil entirely. No such luck. The damage had been done!

The result wasn’t crumbly like Parmesan cheese, but more of pasty concoction, similar in texture to hummus or even almond butter.

And rather delicious, too! Use it as a spread or dip: put it on crackers, warm bread, or toast. It’s wonderful spread thinly on bagels, along with a little pat of margarine for added moisture.

2012-04-14 - Bagel & Parm Spread - 0009

Or mix a little in with sauteed veggies and a dash of water, to make a sauce that tastes great on pasta. The possibilities are … savory.

After I’d depleted my supply of Parmesan “Cheeze” Spread, I did a little experimentation to see if I could recreate the dish; this is what I came up with. The hubs has requested a garlic version, so keep an eye out for variations. Or create your own and share ’em in the comments!

The extras keep well in the fridge (idk if refrigeration is necessary, but better safe!), so feel free to double or even quadruple the recipe. Just pay attention to the quantities!

 

Parmesan “Cheeze” Spread*

Ingredients

1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup walnuts
a dash of salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons water, if needed

Variations: reduce olive oil to 1 teaspoon and omit the water to make vegan Parmesan cheese.

Directions

Combine the nutritional yeast, walnuts, salt, and olive oil in a blender or food processor and pulse until well blended. If the “cheeze” is still crumbly, add a teaspoon of water and continue to process. If necessary, continue to add water in 1/4 teaspoon increments until the spread begins to stick together. The finished product should be smooth and paste-like in texture, spreadable but not too creamy.

Eat, enjoy, repeat!

 

* I don’t usually care for this cutesy, “cheese with a ‘z,’ because vegan cheese isn’t really cheese” spelling, but here it seems somehow appropriate. Probably because this recipe was a total accident? Who knows. Just, you know, going on the record!