An Experiment: Baked Zucchini Chips

Crunchy, salty snacks are my weakness, but they aren’t always the healthiest option on the shelf.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the veggie chips or apple chips in your neighborhood grocery store down the health food aisle. I actually love them. They satisfy the crunch I need and taste good, but they aren’t cheap, and they aren’t all created equal. Some have a few…questionable ingredients. These ingredients normally don’t bother me a bit. They’re in every other chip on the shelf. But if I’m passing up some sour cream and onion for something “healthy” I’d like to feel like I’m making a good choice.

So I tried an experiment. I made delicious, salty, crunchy baked zucchini chips with just a few “healthy” ingredients.

Except that it didn’t actually work that well. Some of the failure I chalk up to poor technique. Others I blame on the internet. While I don’t call it a total failure (I made a snack that was edible and that I enjoyed) it definitely was not what I expected.

To begin, I sliced my zucchini. Apparently our slicer has an option that cuts ridges/waves, so I got a little fancy with it. Pretty sure it made no difference in the outcome, but it did look pretty. Then I tossed all the slices in a bowl and drizzled a little olive oil and course salt.

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This is where it gets tricky. Some recipes I read said to bake your chips for two hours in a 250 degree oven. Some said the same time in a 350 degree oven. Some said 45 minutes. It was difficult determining my next steps, so I went with a 250 degree oven for 30 minutes and did a check.

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Oops. Several chips were completely burned, as you can see, but almost all of them on my other tray (which were a little thicker) were still squishy, so back in the oven they went. I continued to check them every 20-25 minutes maybe three more times, but they didn’t cook consistently. At every check there would be five or so chips that looked done, so I pulled those off and put the rest back in.

I know what you’re thinking, but I’ve never had a problem with this oven having uneven heat before, so my guess is my chips just weren’t cut to the same thickness, which I have a pretty easy time believing.

At the end of it, I ended up with a handful or so of actually pretty tasty chips. They weren’t exactly crunchy like a potato chip, but they were definitely salty and since zucchini is my favorite vegetable, I have to say I was pretty satisfied with the outcome.

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I threw them in a baggy and took them to work the next day as a snack, and unfortunately that was the crucial mistake. Sitting together in a bag all day made them lose any of the crunch they had, and though I ate them anyway, it was like eating really thin roasted zucchini slices. They were still pretty good, but it definitely did not satisfy my need for crunch.

I may try these again, but I’ll definitely be doing some more research before I do. If you want to try without repeating my mistakes, here are a few things I learned:

1. Cut your slices evenly. Probably don’t get fancy with the ridges the first time, gotta master the basics first.
2. Bake them slowly and watch them!
3. When they are done leave them on the counter on a paper towel overnight to absorb the excess olive oil. That might help them retain their crunch to the next day. (I didn’t do this, but I think the olive oil is what caused them to get soggy in the baggy)

Do you make your own veggie chips? I’d love to hear your tips, because clearly my technique needs a little work! Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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