Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Zucchini chips: a recipe

Zucchini chips
If you follow the Ninj on Facebook, you already know that my zucchini fell victim to the dreaded and disgusting squash vine borer this year, so I may be the only gardener in Vermont that actually has to buy zucchini right now. But I love the stuff, so I'm faking having an overabundance of it that I need to use up (shhh ... don't tell).

I made some zucchini refrigerator pickles yesterday that won't be ready for a day or two, so I'll give you an update on those next week.

I also made zucchini chips in my dehydrator.

If you don't own a dehydrator, go buy one. Seriously. It doesn't even matter if it's the lame-ass Ronco kind, it will still work. And it's amazing the stuff you can make with meat, veggies, fruit and more (the Ninjette is a big fan of chicken jerky and banana roll-ups).

Word on the street is that you can also achieve a similar effect by drying stuff in your oven at a very, very low temperature, but I can't vouch for that, as I've never tried it. Moreover, I doubt you'd want to keep your oven occupied for 14 hours in some cases.

Back to the chips.

I sliced one large zucchini very thinly with a mandoline, tossed the slices gently with some olive oil, sprinkled in some kosher salt and set the slices on the trays to dry. This batch, due to their extreme thinness, took about nine hours -- thicker chips might take quite a bit longer.

Sidebar on the mandoline: I use a handheld Kyocera ceramic slicer, which makes short work of the slicing. And, oh my gawd, I am crazy in love with ceramic! It's scary-sharp and stays that way. If I could do it safely, I might just carry my big Kyocera chef's knife around with me at all times, like a good ninja. (I swear I am not shilling for the company, I just love their ceramic.)

Back to the chips.

These are no substitute for potato chips to accompany your lunchtime sandwich, believe me. They are delicate, very nearly melting in your mouth. We enjoy them with a light cocktail before dinner. But note: they will rehydrate (read: wilt and get mushy) almost immediately if you take them outside into the humidity, so try to enjoy them indoors.

But they are so addictive most of them get eaten straight from the dehydrator. Trust me.

How are you preserving your zucchini? The Ninj wants to know.

[ BTW, I'm entering this chip recipe in Garden of Eating's Can You Can It? preserving contest!]
Zucchini Chips

1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

Gently toss all ingredients in a bowl until zucchini is well coated. Lay chips on dehydrator trays. Dry for 8-10 hours or until desired level of crunchiness is achieved.

Variation: add some additional dried herbs or red pepper with the salt for additional spiciness.


  1. Very exciting about the contest; do I get to go vote or anything? The chips sound good. But alas, I have neither zucchini nor a dehydrator, and I can't spare my oven for 14 hours since then where would I hide my dirty dishes?!

    Whenever I get zucchini I use Mother Ninj's way of sauteing it in olive oil with onions and some tomatoes. Mmmm.

  2. I think there is public voting next week -- I will keep you posted! BTW, I have Dad's old dehydrator if you want it, next time you visit...

  3. These look great; We haven't taken the dehydrator plunge yet but I think its close.

  4. As "Mr. Kitchen Ninja" I may be biased but these chips are really good. Humidity will take away the eat them fast.

  5. It's definitely worth the splurge, Laura -- there are a lot of cool things (like fruit leather) that you can do with a dehydrator in addition to just preserving veggies.

    And thanks, Mr. Ninj. :-)

  6. Even more flavor variations can be produced by marinading the zucchini slices or by spreading various sauces on the slices before dehyrating. Keeping these spicy veggie chips in stock will help ensure that I eat less junky store-bought snack foods in the future.

  7. another good way to do a make shift dehydrator is to use a box fan and attach filters to the front of it with bungee cords and sandwich the food between each filter. thank you alton.

  8. ... and a gorgeous cajun or home made garlic salt... huummmmmmm!

    I do something similar with eggplants it is sooooo good that I don't have store them for long... with eggplant, you can do the same recipe but thicker and you dehydrate them until pliable (not completely dry but almost) then it makes like a "bun" for a mini pizza or a vegan or raw burger...

  9. Just want to say I LOVE my Ronco dehydrator and use it all the time (for over twenty years) because it doesn't have fan and is so much quieter. Just rotate trays as needed every few hours. I about need a new one!