Vegetables and fruits such as carrots and zucchini (surprise — a zucchini is technically a fruit!) are mostly made up of water. (A zucchini or carrot is about 95% water.) It can be a challenge to deal with all that water when cooking or baking — no one likes soggy zucchini bread!
One of salt’s many superpowers is that it can pull water out of food. Plants are made up of countless tiny cells. When you sprinkle salt on vegetables and fruits, some of the water inside the cells is pulled out toward the salt. This process is called osmosis. Squeezing the shredded zucchini and carrot in a towel gets some of the water out, but salting them and letting osmosis do its work lets you squeeze out double the water! So, for crisps that are crispy — not soggy — use salt to draw out that extra water before cooking.
Cheesy Zucchini-Carrot Crisps
1 small zucchini (6 ounces)
1 small carrot, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (1 ounce)
1 large egg, cracked into bowl and lightly beaten with fork
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Adjust oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with vegetable oil spray.
- Trim off the ends of the zucchini and carrot. Shred zucchini and carrot on the large holes of a box grater.
- Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Transfer shredded vegetables to a strainer and sprinkle with salt. Stir until combined. Let sit for 10 minutes to drain.
- Place a clean dish towel on counter. When salted vegetables are ready, transfer to the center of the dish towel. Gather the ends of towel together, twist tightly, and squeeze hard over the sink, draining as much liquid as possible. Discard any liquid from the large bowl and add vegetables to the bowl.
- Add panko, cheddar, egg, and garlic powder to bowl with the vegetables. Stir mixture until combined.
- Use a 1-tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop and drop the vegetable mixture onto a baking sheet in 12 mounds (about 1 heaping tablespoon each). Use your hand to gently press each mound to flatten into a thin circle.
- Bake crisps until edges are browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let crisps cool for 10 minutes. Serve.