I have nothing against regular french fries, or even sweet potato fries — you'll definitely never catch me saying no to either one of them. But fries don't have to be synonymous with potatoes. In fact, you can easily turn just about any vegetable into fries that are crunchy and delicious.
Get Sweet on Veggie Fries
You can make fries out of almost any kind of vegetable — no recipe required. You just need to get a few basics down, and then you can turn all your favorite veggies into a big pile of fries.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when making homemade fries is how you cut the vegetables. Consistency is key; they don't need to be cut into perfect spears, but they should all be about the same size. This ensures that the fries cook evenly. Otherwise, small-cut fries will end up overcooked or burnt, while the larger-cut ones won't cook through all the way. I like using 1/2-inch-thick spears (the length will vary depending on the vegetable) — it gives a good texture, and doesn't require a super-long cook time. And as for cooking, we're making these in the oven.
Your Template for Baked Veggie Fries
As for actually making the fries, there's not much you need. In addition to your vegetable of choice, you'll want to have two other basics handy: olive oil and salt.
1/2-inch vegetable sticks + olive oil + salt
Basic veggie fries are nothing more than cut vegetable spears or wedges tossed with a light coating of oil and salt, and then baked at a high temperature. The fries will be soft on the inside with a crispy, crunchy exterior.
Add another ingredient or two to the mix — anything from herbs and cheese to flavored oils and breading for a final flourish. Then, of course, there's no shortage of dipping options.
These beet fries might not be very long, but what they lack in size they make up for with a ton of sweet, earthy flavor. Give your fries a salty boost with fresh-grated Parmesan as soon as they come out of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Start with one pound of beets (about two large beets). Peel and cut them into sticks that are 1/2-inch wide. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Optional: Sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan when the fries come out of the oven.
With their firm texture and length, parsnips make a great candidate for fries. Give their sweet, earthy flavor an herbaceous lift with chopped fresh rosemary.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Start with one pound of parsnips (about four medium parsnips). Peel and cut them into sticks that are 1/2-inch wide. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (optional). Spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
Sweet and Spicy Carrot Fries
Give your sweet carrot fries a savory touch with a spoonful of spiced harissa.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Start with one pound of carrots (six to eight medium). Peel and cut them into sticks that are 1/2-inch wide. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon harissa (optional). Spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
Smoky Jicama Fries
At first sight, these might look like ordinary french fries, but I assure you they're far from it. Jicama fries cook up firm with a crisp bite, and their mild flavor benefits from some smoked paprika.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Start with a medium-sized jicama (about one pound). Peel and cut into sticks that are 1/2-inch wide. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika (optional). Spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
Crispy Eggplant Fries
This medium-soft vegetable benefits from a breaded coating, which helps the fries keep their shape. (And of course, there's the crunch factor.)
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Start with a one-pound eggplant (about one medium eggplant). Cut into spears that are 1/2-inch wide. Add one beaten egg to a small bowl. In a separate separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs or fine-ground cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cumin.
Roll the eggplant spears in the egg, then roll them into the breadcrumb mixture. Place each spear close to one another on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden-brown and crispy.