When I want a fun yet hearty snack, I bake up a batch of crispy zucchini rounds. They're easy to prepare, delicious and a novel way to create a nutritious snack — or meal addition — with all that zucchini from your garden.
To make the dish, rounds of zucchini are dipped into a ground chia seed and water mixture, then coated with a breadcrumb mixture. Because stray chia liquid tends to make the dry mixture clump up, the breadcrumb mixture is divided into three batches. As one becomes clumped, move to a fresh batch.
Be forewarned: The zucchini will not coat evenly. Also, the undersides bake up a little darker than the tops. For even browning, turn over each zucchini slice halfway through baking.
Be sure to measure the chia seeds after they are ground. If the dipping chia mixture gets too thick, gradually add drops of water.
Baked crispy zucchini rounds
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 18-20 minutes
Note: The zucchini are delicious as is, or you can serve them with your favorite pesto or marinara sauce. Look for chia seeds and nutritional yeast in health food stores or some specialty grocery stores.
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup water
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
½ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon each: garlic powder, pepper
Zest from 1 large lemon, about 2 teaspoons
3 medium zucchini, about 1 pound, sliced in 1/2-inch rounds
6 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Pour the water into a small bowl; whisk in the ground chia seeds.
2. In a second bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder and pepper until combined. Add lemon zest, using your finger tips to distribute the zest throughout the mixture. Divide dry mixture among three bowls.
3. Drop several zucchini slices at a time into the chia mixture, coating both sides; drop zucchini into the breadcrumb mixture, pressing coating onto both sides. Lay each slice on a lightly oiled baking sheet. They can be close together, but not touching. Repeat to coat all the zucchini.
4. Bake until crispy and beginning to turn brown, 18-20 minutes. Turn tray once. Place zucchini on a serving platter; garnish with basil.
Per serving: 138 calories, 4 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrates, 10 g protein, 457 mg sodium, 6 g fiber.
Kay Stepkin is a vegetarian cooking instructor. Email her at email@example.com.