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peppery romano “fried” zucchini chips

by Jackie Newgent  |  March 22, 2015  |  0 Comments

Peppery Romano “Fried” Zucchini Chips

When served on an appetizer menu, zucchini chips sound like they may be healthier than some other options. Unfortunately, the zucchini acts like a mop and soaks up oodles of oil in the process of being fried. It’s usually served with a dip or sauce, too. So even though you do get some vegetable benefit, the greasy app can be associated with over a meal’s worth of calories.

In my version of zucchini chips, the focus stays on the zucchini. The coating includes a crispy combination of Romano cheese and whole-wheat Panko breadcrumbs. They get deliciously browned by baking (aka “oven-frying”); no deep frying is required. For extra pep, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper is the key.

This month’s Recipe Redux challenge was to create a “two for one” recipe—meaning one recipe that you can serve in two ways. Consider it like cooking once, but eating twice. So check out below for how I like to dish up extra zucchini chips … when I have extra!

Calories saved: 502

Why it’s better for you? You’ll get your veggies with a just-right amount of healthful oil.

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peppery romano “fried” zucchini chips

  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 2 small-medium (7-ounce) zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 4 lemon wedges


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Place the breadcrumbs into a blender or food processor and blend on high speed until finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir with the Romano cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg, olive oil, garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt until just combined. Add the zucchini slices to the egg mixture and toss until well coated.
  4. Individually dunk each zucchini slice into the Romano cheese mixture until lightly coated on all both sides. Arrange the coated zucchini slices in a single layer on an unbleached parchment paper-lined large baking sheet.
  5. Bake the zucchini chips for 15 minutes. Flip over each chip and bake until crisp and browned, about 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve while warm with the lemon wedges.


Per serving: 140 calories, 9 g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 55mg cholesterol, 280mg sodium, 10g total carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 3g sugars, 7g protein


I love when leftovers can be transformed into a second dish. So, if you happen to have any zucchini chip leftovers, do make “vintage cuisine” with them the next day. The zucchini chips are made delicious once again as “Zucchini Chip Scramble” simply by scrambling them with eggs, grape tomatoes, and a little fresh basil (see recipe below) or as “Spaghetti with Zucchini Chips” just by simmering the zucchini chips in your favorite marinara sauce (kind of like meatballs!) and serving over noodles of choice.

Zucchini Chip Scramble:

Place a medium (PFOA-free) nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 3/4 cup chilled Peppery Romano Zucchini Chips. Cook until warm, about 1 minute; move to one side of the skillet. Drizzle in 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil. Then add a lightly beaten mixture of 1 large egg + 2 large egg whites along with 10 grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise, 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, and desired amount of fresh basil and scramble with the zucchini chips until the eggs are done, about 3 minutes. Serve while warm. (Serves 1)

Per serving: 290 calories, 17g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 240mg cholesterol, 760mg sodium, 14g total carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 6g sugars, 21g protein


  • Serving Size: 3/4 cup

The “Before” Version

Inspired by Carrabba’s Italian Grill Zucchini Fritte

Per serving: 642 calories, 54g total fat, 10g saturated fat, 3g trans fat, 17mg cholesterol, 732mg sodium, 33g total carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, 5g sugars, 7g protein


Tasteover Tips

  • Coating zucchini with a mixture of grated Romano cheese and Panko breadcrumbs can provide crispness by way of oven-frying rather than relying on deep frying
  • For added flavor, sometimes you don’t need to go beyond the basics; don’t forget about black pepper
  • Rather than a dip or sauce, a squirt of lemon may give you that “something extra” you need



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