We know, we know. The words baked and fries don’t exactly belong in the same sentence. But if you love the crunch of french fries but don’t love the fat and calories, it’s time to try breading and baking your favorite summer vegetable! It’s a healthy alternative to fried potatoes and a great way to use up veggies from the garden.

 – 1/2 pound vegetable of choice (zucchini, green beans, asparagus, etc)

– 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

– 1/4 cup pine nuts

– 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, divided use (or your favorite seasoning blend)

– 2 large eggs

– 1 tablespoon olive oil|

– 1/2 cup flour or pancake mix

– 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise (or lemonaise)

– 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha

Special equipment:
 – 3 baking trays (casserole dishes, cake pans, or official breading trays)

– food processor

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Start off by making your breading. We went with panko, pine nuts, some Cajun seasoning and a little Parmesan which gave it a nice, nutty crunch with a little kick.

If you are using zucchini, cut them into long wedges. I bought small zucchinis and cut them into 6 pieces each. If you are using asparagus, snap off the woody ends. If you are using green beans, snap or trim the ends.

Instead of flour, we went with multigrain pancake mix to change things up. You can use either one, and it will go in the first tray. Your second tray will have the eggs, a little olive oil and some Cajun seasoning. Tray #3 will hold the panko mixture. (I think these Williams Sonoma breading trays are perfect!). Your assembly line will go: flour, then egg wash, then breading.

Place breaded veggies on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crispy and browned, turning once.

I love Sriracha in anything, so I made a quick dipping sauce to go along with these. I love using Lemonaise because it’s sort of like a garlic aioli. Mix with sriracha and voila! Easy aioli.

Just like real french fries, these are best eaten hot out of the oven and served with an ice cold beer. For more healthy “fried” foods, check out my Baked Avocado Fries and healthy Fennel Kale Chips (pictured below) over on E is for Eat.

What are your favorite healthy twists on unhealthy foods? Let us know in the comments below or send recipes our way over on Twitter.

Jaymee Sire is an Emmy-award winning television reporter CSN Bay Area. When she isn’t covering a sporting event, her true passion is food. Check out Jaymee’s alphabet-themed food blog, E is for Eat, and be sure to follow her on Twitter & Facebook.