These healthy baked zucchini fries are crunchy and packed with flavor thanks to well-seasoned bread crumbs and a little grated Parmesan. They make a quick, fantastic side dish ideal with all kinds of dinners (think Roasted Shrimp with Romesco Sauce or easy baked salmon), and they’re great with any sort of dipping sauce you like, from homemade Ranch Dressing to Roasted Garlic Aioli—but the Big-Batch Marinara Sauce here is especially well-suited and makes enough to freeze for later. Try it with Baked Cracker-Crusted Chicken Fingers too!

For more Food for Life, get this Coffee Smoothie recipe, and this Fennel and Jicama Salad with Lemon and Pink Peppercorn Dressing recipe.

NOTE: You can find the recipe for Sprouted Wheat Bread Crumbs on page 57 of the cookbook, but feel free to substitute any bread crumbs you prefer, even panko. The Super-Sassy Seasoning can be turned into a marinade for chicken, pork, fish, or vegetables by whisking in a little olive oil and seasoning with salt and lemon juice to taste.

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 30 min for the fries (+ 1 hour if making the marinara from scatch)
  • Active: 30 min

Ingredients (26)

For the Super-Sassy Seasoning:

  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Baked Zucchini Fries:

  • extra-virgin olive oil or unrefined coconut oil cooking spray, as needed
  • 5 small zucchini
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup fine Sprouted Wheat Bread Crumbs, or other bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Super-Sassy Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Big-Batch Marinara Sauce or ranch

For the Big-Batch Marinara Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil (optional)


For the Super-Sassy Seasoning:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

For the baked zucchini fries:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil.
  2. Quarter the zucchini lengthwise, then cut each wedge in half to make 8 thick fry shapes.
  3. In a shallow bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Beat in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. In a separate shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, Super-Sassy Seasoning, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper.
  4. One at a time, dip the zucchini wedges into the egg white, let the excess drip off, then toss in the bread crumb mixture to fully coat. Place the fries on the prepared baking sheet as you coat them and spray with cooking spray. Roast for about 10 minutes, then flip the fries and roast for another 10 minutes, or until browned and crisp all over. Serve with a bowl of marinara sauce or ranch for dipping.

For the Big-Batch Marinara Sauce:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute, until aromatic. Stir in the Italian seasoning and cook, stirring often, for 30 seconds. Add the tomato puree, then fill the can halfway with water and stir the water into the pan.
  2. Add the salt and pepper, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour to develop the flavors, adding a little more water if the sauce starts to get too thick. Stir in the basil (if using), then taste and add more salt and/or pepper if needed.

From Food for Life by Laila Ali. Copyright © 2018 by the author and reprinted by permission of St Martin’s Press. Photography by Matt Armendariz.