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Sweet: Try barbecue chips (zucchini) without all that sugar

You won’t need special equipment to whip up a fresh batch of Baked BBQ-Flavored Zucchini Chips.

Associated Press

You won’t need special equipment to whip up a fresh batch of Baked BBQ-Flavored Zucchini Chips.

It all started with the kale chip.

I fell in love with the texture of the thick, green leaf made thin and so delicately crisp by baking that it felt almost flaky, with just enough thickness to impart a satisfying little crunch before nearly dissolving into salty-grassy goodness on the tongue.

And I wasn't alone: Health-conscious eaters crowned the kale chip their unofficial sweetheart, and suddenly kale chips were available not just in health-food stores, but in mini-marts, airports and gas stations.

Which led me to ask: What else might we chip-up in a dehydrator or oven? And what other flavors might we add? My daughter's all-time favorite potato chip is barbecue flavored, so a baked veggie chip that mimicked the barbecue potato chip flavor, with all-natural ingredients, became my mission.

In mixing up various spice rubs, we were surprised by how much brown sugar we needed to use to emulate the characteristic barbecue flavor. And then came an idea: What if we used a naturally sweet vegetable?

And thus, Baked BBQ-Flavored Zucchini Chips were born.

You won't even need special equipment to make them.

If you have a dehydrator, great. Putting the oven on low also works well. And a mandoline isn't a necessity.

Just use a knife and slice relatively thin. In fact, the slices are better and sturdier when they aren't too thin. I do recommend using a baking rack, only because the chips will dry out faster and more evenly. But, even this is optional equipment. You can use parchment paper on a tray, cook a little longer and flip the chips about halfway through cook time if you don't have a rack.

Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."

BAKED BBQ-FLAVORED ZUCCHINI CHIPS

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon chipotle or ancho chili powder (or plain chili powder)

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large zucchini

2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, chili powder, brown sugar and salt and set aside. Slice the zucchini thinly, about one-sixteenth of an inch, but not paper thin.

You can use a mandoline, but slicing by hand is just fine. Don't worry if you can't quite get the slices super thin. Place the zucchini slices in a large bowl and blot with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Drizzle with olive oil and toss the slices to coat. Sprinkle with the spice mixture and toss to coat. Line two or three large baking sheets with baking racks, and spray briefly with nonstick spray. Spread out zucchini slices and bake until dry and slightly crispy, about 2 hours. Allow to cool on rack before removing. The chips are best when eaten the same day.

Note: Instead of a baking rack, you may instead line the baking trays with parchment paper. If you use baking trays, flip the chips about 1 hour into cooking and allow about 30 extra minutes of bake time.

Serves 4.

Nutrition information per serving: 54 calories (24 calories from fat), 3g fat (0g saturated, 0g trans fats), 0mg cholesterol, 513mg sodium, 7g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 5g sugar, 2g protein.

Sweet: Try barbecue chips (zucchini) without all that sugar 07/21/16 [Last modified: Thursday, July 21, 2016 5:05pm]
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