The “Worst Food In America” Gets a Makeover

July 14, 2014   15 Comments

I have not been the recipient of any free zucchini this summer but I know it is coming.

Zucchini Cheese Fries

Zucchini grows like crazy here and when my gardener pals grow it – I get the “please come and take my zucchini phone calls”. Fortunately, I am the kind of friend that can help in this situation.

Why? I love zucchini!!!

It is sweet, low in calories, and very versatile. There is an excellent zucchini, banana, and almond breakfast muffin recipe in my book for this time of year.

I bought the zucchini for this recipe at my local Stop & Shop and I didn’t pay much. The concept here is to replace the “cheese fries” that you know you shouldn’t be eating.

I have to give my friends over at Men’s Health credit for naming the #1 Worst Food in America – the Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing (2,900 calories, 182 grams of fat, 240 carbs).

You can’t make this stuff up.

My version has 88 calories per serving and 40% of your daily value of Vitamin C. If you love cheese fries, you need to try to exchange them for something else. Zucchini slices with Parmesan cheese is a tasty alternative. You get a sweet, crunchy base to a delicious salty top.

You save a whopping 637 calories per serving with my recipe. Take that Outback Steakhouse!

On a side note, my husband is Australian and does not think that “cheese fries” can be found in the Outback (which I believe is good news for the kangaroos).

What do you do with zucchini?

Zucchini Parmesan Fries Recipe

1.6 from 24 reviews

Makes 4 servings

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2 zucchini (1-1¼ pound)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (very important or it will be difficult to clean). Scrub the zucchini to get any sand or dirt off of it. Slice lengthwise and across so you make ½ inch strips.

Put zucchini on baking sheet and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 12 minutes until softened. Finish under broiler on high for 2 minutes to brown the cheese.

Enjoy immediately.

Nutrition Facts

¼ recipe is 88 calories, 3.3 g fat, 2.1 g saturated fat, 5.3 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g sugar, 6.3 g protein, 1.6 g fiber, 146 mg sodium, 2 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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Wow.. I am gonna try this.

Do they have to be eaten right away?

I would think the parm would come right off with no "binder"?? How does it stick

We do this a lot in the summer but use a spray of olive oil, salt and pepper, and then add the parm. We broil it for the whole time.

@Vicki - yes, they should be eaten right away. I think they are best hot.

@Mm - the parmesan sticks as it melts. Amazing!

Thanks for your questions!

What do I do with zucchini? Cut them into strips, and a simple pan-fry--delicious!: Heat a pan to medium, spray with non-stick spray, and add some chopped garlic and a little crushed red pepper flake. Let the garlic cook a couple of mins in the non-stick spray. Add the zucchini strips and cook a couple of mins on one side, then flip and cook the other side. Both sides should get a nice golden brown color to them. Remove from pan and add salt/pepper to taste. Yum!!

How about bread crumbs and herbs with parm baked?

I wonder if these come out crispy? I've been desperately trying to find a way to make zucchini or squash crispy for my family. Whenever I bake it it still comes out mostly soft (as with asparagus as well). Any suggestions?

Maybe a bit higher temp? Or a bit longer duration.

I spiralize it and have tried ALL the on

the 'Inspiralized' blog. d'lish when topped

with raw marinara or pesto.

Cold zuchinni soup. Blend raw, add a little sauteed onion and garlic, salt and pepper, favorite herb, Blend, add some heavy cream or almond or coconut milk. Blend briefly. Don't blend to a foam, not as good. Chill, serve cold. Delish!

Lauren... The key is too get some of the water out first.

I have learned that when making breaded zucchini you need to cut into pieces you desire, sprinkle with salt, and let them sit for a good 15 min. The water will be drawn out and be sitting on the slices. Dab all the water up with a paper towel and continue with your recipe! No more soggy zucchini!! Enjoy!

Instead of zucchini we can also use eggplant, carrot, mushrooms, beetroot, kale! They're all fantastic snacks!

Hi Diane, This is exactly right and this is what I do for eggplant too so it comes out less mushy. I don't usually extract the water for zucchini but this is a great idea for this recipe. If the excess water is not removed, what is leftover will make the coating soggy even after baking. Good call!

What a fabulous tip! Thanks so much ladies!

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