As the summer months approach, gardens everywhere overflow with an abundance of zucchini. While this versatile vegetable adds a delightful touch to numerous recipes, there often comes a point when one is left wondering what to do with the surplus. Look no further! I have discovered a fantastic and healthy solution that even the pickiest eaters—kids and husbands included—can’t resist: dehydrated zucchini chips. Join me on this culinary adventure as we explore the benefits of dehydrating zucchini and how it can transform your surplus into a guilt-free snack.
The Zucchini Dilemma:
If you’ve ever grown zucchini in your garden, you’re well aware of the rapid pace at which it multiplies. It seems like overnight, your once modest zucchini plant transforms into an unyielding vegetable-producing powerhouse. While zucchini can be incorporated into a variety of dishes like stir-fries, pasta sauces, and bread, sometimes the abundance calls for a creative approach that the whole family can enjoy.
Enter Dehydrated Zucchini Chips:
Dehydrating zucchini chips offers an innovative and healthy solution to utilize the surplus in a way that’s both delicious and convenient. By removing the moisture from the zucchini slices, we create a crispy, satisfying snack that can be enjoyed guilt-free. The dehydrating process concentrates the flavors, resulting in a natural sweetness that even the most discerning palates will find irresistible.
Dehydrated zucchini chips offer numerous health benefits, making them a smart choice for snacking. Firstly, they retain most of the nutritional value of fresh zucchini. Zucchini is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as essential minerals like potassium and magnesium. Additionally, dehydrated chips are low in calories and fat compared to traditional potato chips or other store-bought snacks, making them an excellent choice for weight-conscious individuals.
Making dehydrated zucchini chips is a straightforward and enjoyable process. Start by selecting firm zucchini without any soft spots. Thoroughly wash and slice them into thin, uniform rounds using a sharp knife, a mandoline slicer, or Kitchenaid slicer attachment (my preferred method).
Adding Oil & Spices
Once the zucchini is sliced, I like to drizzle them with a light coat of olive oil. This step is optional, but can contribute to their overall crispiness. This is especially beneficial when incorporating additional spices, as the oil helps the flavors adhere and distribute evenly. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution and avoid excessive oil usage. Overloading the zucchini chips with oil can impede proper drying, resulting in a soggy and greasy texture even after hours of dehydration.
The Waiting Game:
Preheat your dehydrator to around 135 °F (ca. 57 °C) and arrange the zucchini slices on the dehydrator trays in a single layer, making sure they don’t overlap.
Once your trays are loaded, place them in the dehydrator and let the magic happen. I like to do this in the evening and allow them to dehydrate overnight. The process typically takes anywhere from 8 to 12 hours, depending on the thickness of the slices and the humidity in your environment.
During this time, the dehydrator will gently remove the moisture from the zucchini, leaving you with crispy chips bursting with flavor. As they dry, your kitchen will be filled with a delightful aroma that will keep everyone eagerly awaiting the finished product.
After patiently waiting for the dehydrator to work its magic, the time has finally come to enjoy your zucchini chips. The reward is worth every minute spent waiting! As you bite into a perfectly crispy zucchini chip, you’ll be amazed at the intense flavor and satisfying crunch. Not only are they incredibly delicious, but you’ll also feel good about providing a healthy snack for your family. The best part? Even the most veggie-averse members of your household won’t be able to resist these tasty treats.
- Herbs – you can use any fresh herbs you have available or dry mix as well.
- Oil – instead of olive oil, you can use avocado oil or even a flavored olive oil.
- Sesame Seeds – Sesame seeds are a great addition as they taste wonderful.
- Salt – I love a light sprinkling of sea salt or garlic salt.
- Dry Dressing/Dip Mix – Another option is to sprinkle a bit of ranch seasoning or other dry dip/dressing mix.
- Parmesan Cheese – Replace salt and with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
- Salt And Vinegar – Add a tablespoon of vinegar (apple cider, red wine, or white) and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper to raw zucchini before tossing and baking.
- Curry – Use 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder in addition to the salt in the recipe.
- Custom – Feel free to use your own seasoning combo, such as garlic powder, or any herbs and spices you like.
Dehydrated Zucchini Chips
- 3 Small -Medium Zucchini
- 1/2 -1 Tablespoons of olive oil depending on size of zucchini
- 1 Tablespoons of dried herbs of choice optional
- 1/2 to 1 Teaspoon of salt or other seasoning
- Clean and dry zucchini
- Cut them into thin slices either on a mandoline, meat slicer, slicer attachment for KitchenAid, or by hand at the thinnest. I use the large KitchenAid slicer attachment.
- Place all the zucchinis into a bowl, sprinkle with olive oil, dried herbs, salt, or other seasoning.
- Gently mix all together and place it onto the dehydrator trays.
- Set the dehydrator to the setting for fruits and vegetables (135° Fahrenheit) and allow to dehydrate overnight for 8 - 12 hours. Mine took about 9 hours. This will vary depending on humidity levels and individual dehydrators used.
- Once done, store it in the airtight container or enjoy it in 2 minutes as I did.
- Herbs - you can use any dried herbs you prefer.
- Zucchini - should be sliced evenly using a mandoline, meat slicer, or KitchenAid slicer attachment.
- Oil - you can use olive oil, avocado oil, or flavored olive or avocado oil.
- Salt and seasonings - I love to use a good quality sea salt or a sprinkle of garlic salt. You can also experiment with using seasonings such as dry ranch dressing mix or other dry dressing/dip mixes.
Dehydrating zucchini chips is a wonderful way to make use of the surplus zucchini from your garden, providing a healthy and satisfying snack option for the whole family. By harnessing the natural sweetness and nutrients of zucchini and transforming them into crunchy delights, you’ll create a snack that even the most reluctant eaters will enjoy. So, fire up your dehydrator, grab some zucchini, and embark on this culinary adventure that will leave your loved ones craving more of these guilt-free goodies.
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