It was a delicious day in the kitchen working on appetizer recipes for the Super Bowl with Parmesan & Herb Zucchini Sticks as the next recipe highlight. Crispy coating, fragrant herbs, tender zucchini, and rich marinara create a fabulous vegetable delivery system.
Baked to crunchy perfection, Parmesan & Herb Zucchini Sticks are a healthy alternative to fried mozzarella sticks on your party table.
Variations of this recipe are all over the Internet, however, there is technique included here to take this to a whole new level of crispy-from-the-oven goodness. First, we take care of the extra moisture in the zucchini, which can wilt the best of breadcrumb intentions.
Next, the olive oil is lightly mixed into the breadcrumbs and herbs to not only help it crisp in the oven, but also keep the herbs and seasoning evenly suspended in the breadcrumbs rather than settling in the bottom of the bowl.
Finally, it’s baked on a cooling rack set over a pan so the heat can circulate on every side, which eliminates the need to turn the sticks while baking too.
I ate half of what I made before plating them for photos, wondering how cold the remaining pieces would be by the time I was done (ready to finish them off). So, 20 minutes later when they were done modeling for me, I put them back in the oven to rewarm for lunch and they were as perfectly crisp as when I first took them out of the oven. Yes, I ate a dozen of these zukes and don’t feel a bit guilty.
Panko breadcrumbs are a must here; the texture is just not the same with regular crumbs. Serve them hot from the oven with your favorite marinara sauce or creamy ranch dressing; just don’t be surprised if you can’t stop eating them.
Adapted from Aggies Kitchen’s Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks
Parmesan & Herb Zucchini Sticks
- 2 medium zucchini -- cut into 1/2" inch sticks
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 whole eggs -- whisked
- 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs -- unseasoned
- 3/4 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese -- grated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- pinch salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Trim the ends of the zucchini and then cut into 1/2" sticks by first cutting it in half and then cutting each half into 8 4"sticks per half. Lay zucchini out on a sheet of paper towels and sprinkle cut edges with salt. Let rest 10-15 minutes to allow salt to draw out excess moisture.
- Whisk egg in a shallow bowl until blended. If you have a mortar and pestle, crush the dried oregano, thyme, and basil leaves to release fragrant oils.
- Mix bread crumbs, cheese, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper in another shallow bowl. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to lightly moisten breading, mixing thoroughly with a spoon until all the bread crumbs are lightly oiled and the same consistency.
- The breading should still be light and fluffy like a bread crumb topping, not soggy.
- Once the zucchini has released some of its liquid, blot with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- Dip each zucchini stick in egg and then roll in the bread crumbs, gently pressing the breading onto the zucchini. Place on a rack-lined baking sheet or on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. If using parchment, turn zucchini half way through the baking time. Serve with marinara sauce or ranch dressing.