Curly fries remind us of happy memories—greasy fingers in a fast food joint or hot snacks at a baseball game—but not exactly nutritious ones. While there are many recipes available for healthy versions of traditional French fries, whether they are made of zucchini, sweet potatoes, or parsnip, curly fries are a different matter because of their distinct shape. You can’t get away with breading sliced vegetables and calling them ‘fries’ here.
That’s where this incredible tool comes in: the spiralizer. If you don’t have one, zoodles are available at most grocery stores and health food stores. If you do own one, get spiralizing!
Spiralize as you would a regular zoodle recipe, except you chop up the zucchini strips, coat them in breading, and bake them until perfection. There you have the curly fries from your happy memories, except with good nutrition.
This recipe is low-carb, gluten-free, and omits the excess oil of traditional fries. If you’ve never had curly fries before, you’ve come to the right place for your first taste. Save and share this recipe, for you won’t want it to be your last.
Baked Parmesan Zucchini Curly Fries
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
- Avocado oil cooking spray (or regular avocado oil)
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 4 large egg whites, or whole eggs if desired, lightly beaten
- 1 cup gluten-free panko crumbs (see Tip 1)
- ¾ ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (or use nutritional yeast as a vegan option)
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 12 ounces spiralized zucchini noodles (see Tip 2)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup ranch dressing (see Tip 3)
- ¼ cup marinara sauce (see Tip 4)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray or oil.
- Prepare three shallow dishes in an assembly line. In one, place cornstarch. In another, place the whisked eggs or egg whites. In the last, stir the panko, Parmesan, and oregano.
- Chop the zucchini noodles into 5- or 6-inch-long pieces.
- Working in batches, dredge the noodles in the cornstarch, then the egg, then the panko mixture. Shake off excess after every dip.
- Arrange the noodles in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets, allowing space between each fry.
- Either spray them with avocado cooking spray, or if you are using regular avocado oil, lightly drizzle the zoodles with oil, or brush them with a baking brush dipped in oil.
- Bake the noodles until they’re golden and crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, and sprinkle the fries with salt.
- Combine the ranch dressing and marinara sauce in a shallow bowl; serve alongside the fries.
Tip 1: Gluten-Free Panko Crumbs
The difference between panko and regular breadcrumbs is that panko is a flaky sort of mixture traditionally used in Asian cuisine. Panko is usually made with white bread, often with the crusts cut off, and processed into dried flakes as opposed to crumbs. Panko’s texture is light, airy, and delicate, perfect for adding a crunch to fried and baked foods.
You could make your own easy and quick gluten-free panko crumbs in two ways:
- Pulse 4–5 slices of your favorite gluten-free bread until the crumbs are coarse. You may add ½ tsp salt and dried herbs if you wish. Bake the crumbs on for 8 minutes on 325 degrees; then stir the crumbs and return them to the oven for another 7 minutes. 
- Place 3 cups of gluten-free corn or rice cereal into a food processor, blender, or even a plastic bag. Pulse, blend, or crush with a rolling pin until the crumbs are a desired texture. Don’t over-process them; you don’t want powder. 
Alternatively, you can buy gluten-free panko crumbs online or from your local grocery or health food store.
Tip 2: Zucchini Noodles
Use a package of fresh zucchini noodles in the produce department of your local grocery, or make your own zucchini noodles. You’ll need about two or three 3 zucchinis, depending on their size, for 12 ounces of zoodles.
Tip 3: Ranch Dressing
Most store-bought ranch dressings are full of unhealthy oils and additives. You could make your own easily! Simply mix the following ingredients and you’re all set.
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dill
- ¼ teaspoon kosher pink salt
- 2 tablespoons of water to thin the dressing
Tip 4: Marinara Sauce
You can use your favorite store-bought marinara sauce, or you could make your own. This recipe takes only 10 minutes to make. Simply mix the following ingredients in a small pot:
- 15 oz. can tomato sauce (low sodium if desired)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Allow to simmer for seven minutes.
- Enjoy with fresh and crisp Zucchini Curly Fries!
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- Nicole Hunn. How-to Make Gluten Free Bread Crumbs https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-bread-crumbs-recipe/
- The Kitchen Whisperer. Gluten Free Panko Breadcrumbs https://www.thekitchenwhisperer.net/2013/06/26/gluten-free-panko-breadcrumbs/
- Ambitious Kitchen. Healthy Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/healthy-greek-yogurt-ranch-dressing/