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."