Tuesday, July 24, 2012

a recipe for healthy summer squash chips?

zucchini, crookneck and pattypan summer squash
it is summer squash week at food network's summerfest.  each year i try to share recipes that will use up the bounty of zucchini, or patty pan, or yellow, or yellow crookneck, or whatever type you have overflowing in your garden.  (or your kitchen packed with squash gifts from well meaning friends).  but let's be real...most recipes don't call for more than one or two per person. 

this is our fourth year of a "zucchini or summer squash" week and i have shared recipes for zucchini/potato hash browns, roasted zucchinis and tomatoes with parmesan and balsamicgrilled vegetable pasta, even a chocolate & zucchini cake.  all delicious.  i make them over and over all season.  this year i discovered the oh-so-easy technique for making chips made from squash.  these crispy, crunchy gems are delicious and actually good for you.  thinly sliced and seasoned, they are slow baked at a very low temperature for a couple of hours.  the final result is perfect for a snack, a side with a sandwich, or served with hummus or your favorite dip. 
remember when i said they are healthy?  that may be the best part.  the squash is baked...not fried, but you would never know.  during the slow baking process all the naturally occurring water evaporates leaving a "chip".  be warned, this creates a lot of "shrinkage"...each piece is reduced by almost half.  you need a lot of squash for 1 serving.  for today's batch i used 3 zucchini, 1 crookneck and 1 pattypan.  the baked amount equaled about 1 cup....and they are so light and delicious 1 person can easily power through a cup.  use whatever types of squash you like...or have excess from an overflowing summer garden.

there really is not a recipe.  preheat your oven to 235 degrees.  slice your desired amount of squash into very thin pieces...about 1/8 to1/4 inch thick.  you can use a mandolin slicer if you have one, i just use a very sharp knife.  prepare rimmed baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper and then lightly coating the paper with olive oil spray.  **note, i use spray that contains pure oil and still functions like an aerosol without propellants, soy or lethicin, no chemicals or additives of any kind, and excellent extra virgin olive oil. you can buy this at quality markets like whole foods, or purchase one of those oil pump sprayers and make your own.***

chips before baking
place your prepared squash on the baking sheets and lightly spray with the olive oil.  lightly...and i want to emphasize this point....sprinkle sea salt on top of the oil.  remember i told you about the shrinkage?  a little salt goes a long way here.  you can always add more later if desired. i used a tiny pinch for both of the trays pictured above. you can also add other seasonings at this point...chile powder, rubs, paprika...whatever sounds good.  i made 1/2 of today's batch with just plain salt and 1/2 with some hot thai curry powder i had in the pantry...both were amazing.  bake in preheated oven for 1 hour.  switch pans and continue cooking until chips are very crispy.  this can take anywhere from another 30 minutes to 1 hour. remove when golden brown.  taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  serve hot, warm or at room temperature.  note, these do not hold well and should be eaten within a couple of hours after baking.  otherwise they lose their crunch.

now it is your turn to participate in summerfest. simply leave your plum tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below, and then go visit food network and do the same same. be sure to check out these delicious sounding recipes from the other participating bloggers:
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Quick and Easy Sesame Summer Squash Stir-Fry
Cooking With Elise: Orange Summer Squash Bread
Feed Me Phoebe: Summer Squash and Cornmeal Cakes With Tarragon
Chez Us: Zucchini Pancakes With Minty Dill Crème Fraiche
And Love It, Too: Peter Pan Squash Spiced Oven Fries
Made By Michelle: Pattypan Squash and Tomato Frittata
Cooking Channel: Our Top 5 Favorite Squash Recipes
Daily*Dishin: Summer Squash Confetti Salad
Delicious Lean: Summer Squash Ribbons With Feta and Pine Nuts
Ingredients, Inc.: Summer Squash and Kale Sauté
Thursday Night Dinner: Summer Squash Medley
Sweet Life Bake: Zucchini Fried With Tequila-Spiked Avocado Dip
Dixie Chik Cooks: Fried Summer Squash Parmesan Sliders
Healthy Eats: Summer Squash Any Way You Slice It
FN Dish: Cheesy Summer Squash


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Jeanette said...

What a terrific idea - great way to get kids to eat summer squash. I made kohlrabi fries a few weeks ago...always looking for tricks to get my kids to eat more vegetables.

Elise Johnson said...

Hi Diane! I recently made kale and am looking forward to trying your recipe for summer squash. I loooove hummus and am always looking for different accompaniments. This will definitely be used at my next gathering! Thanks!

Michelle said...

A restaurant in our town makes zucchini and eggplant chips and I always say that I want to try making them myself. Now I think I am going to have to. Thanks for sharing a,

napa farmhouse 1885 said...

thanks jeanette, that is my favorite part of this recipe...you will eat tons of veggies and not even realize you are doing so! great for kids as well as adults who refuse to get their "5-7 servings per day"!

Denise said...

I have never thought of making squash into chips. LOVE this idea. Cannot wait to give it a try with the abundance of zucchini we kept getting in the csa.

Ribbons of yellow squash and green said...

I love making squash ribbons, such a great alternative to a bowl of pasta. I love the salty feta addition!