Craving something crunchy and slightly salty?
Potato chips are usually the go-to-choice when those kinds of cravings kick in, but they’re not exactly the best choice. Especially chips you buy. Most are loaded with sodium, artificial ingredients and flavors. Even the so-called all-natural brands are usually fried or baked with unhealthy oils. Your best bet? Make your own chips! With real potatoes, olive oil and sea salt. So simple. If you want try something other than potatoes, how about zucchini? Sliced, seasoned, and baked to perfection; zucchini makes a perfect chip. They’ll take awhile to bake, but they’re so worth the wait. Zucchini chips will definitely satisfy your crunchy, salty cravings PLUS you’ll be reaping some of the nutritious benefits of a pretty amazing and versatile vegetable. By the way, zucchini is botanically a fruit, but considered a vegetable the world-over. We’ll call it vegetable for all intents and purposes here, too .
Before I get into how to make zucchini chips, let me share just a few of the nutritional benefits of zucchini.
For starters, zucchini is great for your heart. It’s rich in potassium, which helps reduce blood pressure. It’s rich in magnesium, too, which helps to keep your blood pressure at a normal rate and your heart beat at a steady rhythm. Zucchini also contains moderate levels of folate that breaks down amino acids that cause heart attacks and strokes.
Zucchini is a good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C, a powerful anti-oxidant, helps keep your immune system healthy and fights respiratory problems. The anti-inflammatory properties help keep your lungs open and clear. Zucchini also contains calcium that helps your nervous system function properly and strengthens your bones and teeth.
Zucchini is incredibly low in calories, so it’s great for weight loss. The high-fiber content in zucchini not only fills you up faster and burns fat, but also helps lower cholesterol. The high levels of vitamin A and Vitamin C delays the beginning of atherosclerosis by keeping the cholesterol from oxidizing the body’s blood vessels. Zucchini also rids your body of excess toxins.
Pretty remarkable veggie, huh?
Zucchini is abundant in the summer, but most markets carry it year ’round. Obviously, it will cost a bit more out of season, but the benefits are worth the price.
Here’s how to turn zucchini into chips!
1 large zucchini
2 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt or Kosher sea salt
Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two large baking sheets parchment paper.
Thinly slice your zucchini on a mandoline. I have 3 thickness settings on mine. I went with setting 2.
If you don’t have a mandoline, go get one! A good quality one. It will be a real time saver. Your vegetable (or fruit) slices will be perfect and as thin as you want them. Paper-thin, if that’s what you want. Perfect for cucumber salad. You can also julienne vegetables or fruit and shred cabbage or cheese with it. A mandoline is sure to become your favorite and most utilized kitchen gadget.
Place your perfect mandoline-sliced zucchini on a paper towel. Take another paper towel, place on top of the zucchini slices and press on them. This will help draw out the liquid so they’ll cook a bit faster.
Line up the zucchini slices on the prepared baking sheets. Line them tightly next to each other in a straight line. No overlapping!
Pour olive oil into a small bowl and brush the olive oil on each zucchini slice with a pastry brush.
Sprinkle salt with salt. Be sure NOT to use too much salt! It’s better to use less. Your zucchini slices will shrink in the oven and if you’re heavy-handed with the salt, your chips will be way too salty! You can always add more salt later on.
Bake for 2+ hours until they are no longer soggy. You want them to be slightly brown and crisp. So check on them often.
Let the chips cool before removing and serving. Don’t count on having any of these chips left-over, but just in case, they will keep up for a couple of days if you store them in an airtight container. Yield: approximately 50 chips. If you have room in your oven for two more baking pans, definitely double the recipe!
**You can also have fun experimenting with different seasonings, if desired. Right before you pop your chips in the oven to bake, try sprinkling them with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Garlic or onion powder. Curry powder. Chili powder. Freshly ground pepper. Italian seasoning. Or herbs. These are awesome with fresh rosemary! So many possibilities……..