image: Butternut Squash Fries by Beth Celestin
We love our French fries in America. That won’t change. Potatoes remain the most commonly consumed vegetable in the country. And French fries are hotter than ever -- especially skin-on, hand-cut fries and loaded fries, topped with everything from cheese curds and gravy to hearty, protein-heavy additions. They’ve become destination drivers for food trucks and street food vendors, in addition to gastro pub and bar-menu favorites.
Yet, despite the current fervor over French fries, there’s been a growing trend to take our beloved fry and reinterpret it using vegetables beyond the traditional tuber.
There’s something about the elongated shape and the act of dipping that we all adore. So that’s why restaurants and home cooks have been busy experimenting with “fries” using all sorts of vegetables. Your first venture into experimentation may be sweet potatoes -- which are divine turned into fries -- but so are other root vegetables, such as butternut squash, turnips and taro.
Think of vegetables that are already in a long, fry-like shape, such as asparagus, green beans and carrots. All of these vegetables have been transformed into creative fries by Healthy Aperture bloggers. Yet, the fun doesn’t stop there. Virtually any vegetable that you can cut into a spear and roast until crisp can be reimagined as a fry.
Zucchini, eggplant and even avocados are good places to start -- especially dipped into a batter or rolled into panko breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese before baking. Although a simple drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of kosher salt and spices (such as smoked paprika, Old Bay, cumin or cayenne) are really all you need. Try veggie fries on the grill, too.
Healthy Aperture bloggers have gotten adventurous with dill pickle, polenta and chickpea fries. Paired with a dipping sauce -- from chipotle mayonnaise and sriracha-yogurt sauce to homemade ranch dressing and marinara sauce -- veggie fries are a talk-worthy appetizer for your next party or a fun family-pleasing side dish at dinner.
Here are some of the veggie fries created by Healthy Aperture bloggers. If you have a favorite version of veggie fries that's not included here, please tell us about it in the comments.
Panko-Crusted Baked Eggplant Fries with Curried Cashew Aioli by OhMyVeggies
Green Bean Fries by Love & Zest
Baked Purple Sweet Potato Fries by Eat Like No One Else
Zucchini Fries with Sriracha Dipping Sauce by Kim's Healthy Eats
Roasted Carrot Fries by Imma Eat That
Raw Avocado Fries by Oatmeal with a Fork
Taro Fries with Sriracha Ketchup by Munchin with Munchkin