Baked Zucchini Sticks

I am all about fried food.  Seriously, on the right occasion, fried food kicks butt.  It is crucial that it be the right occasion, like at a bar with your friends as you begrudgingly watch sports and drink cheep, light beer.  That is the right time for fried food.  For all other times, I try and keep it a bit lighter, on the oil anyway.  Somehow butter and cheese always make it on the menu.

This much lighter version of your traditional fried zucchini sticks is just as tasty, but also much more heart healthy.  Baked items tend to be a bit drier then fried foods, so to even things out I created two savory sauces sure to make your mouth water.  These particular zucchini sticks were extra special because I pulled the zucchini right out of my own garden.  I added a little extra love to the breading with grated fennel and severed them along with my sauteed spinach and cheese stuffed portabella mushrooms for last weeks pizza party

Baked Zucchini Sticks
Makes enough for 8 guests


1 large zucchini (maybe two or three regular sized zucchini)
1 small sized fennel root
1/2 cup of flour
1-2 eggs
1 cup of breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Start by slicing the zucchini into 2 in long slices, maybe a 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick, and place in a bowl.  I like to start by setting up my assembly line of items for breading.  I place the flour, lightly beaten eggs, and bread crumbs each in their own bowl.  Once my hands get dirty, I don't want to have to touch anything else, so setting up ahead of time is a good way to avoid a big mess.  I also get out a large baking sheet and set it next to the breading materials.

Grate the entire fennel root into the breadcrumbs, add the salt and pepper, and give it a good toss.

Next comes the fun part.  Begin by dredging each zucchini stick in the flower, coat it in egg, and finally roll it in the breadcrumbs.  Neatly place the zucchini on the baking sheet with space between them for even baking.  Working with a handful of zucchini pieces at a time will make the job much quicker.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Fancy-Pants Cheese Dip
Makes about 1 1/2 cups


2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 of small yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of milk
2-3 tablespoons of flour
3/4 cup of shredded cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


Begin by warming the butter over medium heat.  Add the finely chopped onion and a pinch of salt.  Saute the onion until it becomes tender.  Add the minced garlic, more salt and the pepper, and cook for another minute.  Vigorously stir in the milk and flour, and bring to a light boil.  The mixture will begin to thicken.  Stir frequently so that the bottom does not stick and burn.  

When the mixture reaches the desired consistency, remove from the heat and set aside for a good 10 minutes so it can cool a bit.  When the mixture has sufficiently cooled, add the shredded cheese of your choice and gently mix.  Transfer to a serving bowl.   


In my case I used a blend of white aged cheeses and mozzarella. The ages cheeses contributed a savory flavor, while the mozzarella added depth.

If you add the cheese too soon, the heat will cause the cheese to melt too quickly and the mixture will become stringy.

Quick Marinara Dipping Sauce
Makes 1 1/2 cups


2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 small yellow onion
2 carrots
1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce from a jar (it's not cheating, it's enhancing.)
Salt and pepper to taste


Begin by heating the oil over medium-low heat.  Add the onions, finely chopped, and cook until tender.  Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.  Grate the carrot (a trick I learned from an Italian girl I met in Spain) and add to the pot.  Add salt and pepper between each layer to release the juices and get the flavor out in full effect.  After the carrots begin to look tender, add the marinara sauce.  Stir everything together and bring to a simmer.  The longer it cooks, the better the flavor.  It all depends on how much time you have.  I try and give it at least 10 minutes.  Transfer to a serving bowl.

So there you have it.  Fancy bar food.  Enjoy! 


  1. Where is the blog post of what to do with leftover tasty cheese dip? Any suggestions?

  2. Put it on macaroni and call it fancy-pants mac n' cheese. That's what I did with it anyway!