Kitchn Love Letters

This $7 Freezer Find Is My New Favorite Side

published Jul 26, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

I heard out about this freezer-case find from a friend — my former boss, turned friend actually. (You might be familiar with her work.) We talk about food, and groceries in particular, a lot. Oftentimes, the discussion veers toward the freezer section. Easy apps! Dinner shortcuts! Desserts that rival homemade! Those cases are filled with satisfaction … and never-ending conversation starters. (Seriously, the next time you need an icebreaker just ask, “What’s your favorite frozen food?”) 

This is how we ended up discussing FarmRich Breaded Zucchini Sticks on a random weekday afternoon. Neither of us had tried them before, and we were both curious. The brand makes some top-notch frozen mozzarella sticks. (That’s the official finding of our taste test.) So I headed out in search of this verdant variety to see if they were also a standout.

I walked to four grocery stores in my neighborhood and two corner stores — and came up empty-handed … in the heat wave. Surprised, sweaty, and now determined, I ended up ordering them, along with the rest of my other groceries, via an online delivery service. They arrived the next day. Victory! I stashed them in the freezer so my roommate and I could try them at the end of the workday. 

How to Make FarmRich Breaded Zucchini Sticks

The box offers four different cooking options: oven, toaster oven, deep fryer, and air fryer (it advises against microwaving). While the deep fryer promises the shortest cooking time (3 minutes), part of the appeal of these sticks is minimal effort. The idea of heating a fryer with oil sounds like the opposite of that. Plus, I don’t have a deep fryer … or an air fryer. The toaster oven could be good, if I were only making a single serving. I wasn’t, though, so I went with the old faithful oven.

I tore open the box to find a plastic bag filled with zucchini sticks of varying lengths: a few were several inches long, others were short little nubbins, and the rest were somewhere in between. I arranged them on a cooling rack nestled in a sheet pan and stuck them in the 450°F oven. (There weren’t any instructions for flipping them midway through cooking and I wanted 360-degree heat circulation, hence the cooling rack-sheet pan setup.) Eleven minutes later, I pulled the pan out of the oven and let the sticks cool for a minute or two before plating them alongside the marinara dipping sauce that’s included in the package.

My Honest Review of FarmRich Breaded Zucchini Sticks

The first thing I noticed is how hot the sticks still were when I tried to pick one up. But then, on closer (slightly cooler) inspection, the generous coating is what stood out most. It was a paler color than what’s shown on the box, but it was strikingly similar in texture and abundance. No bald spots!

The coating was light and crisp, and had a tempura-style quality, in part due to the mix of wheat and rice flour and cornstarch. It was a nice contrast to the tender zucchini sticks, which, if I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought were breaded earlier that afternoon. I did notice that the longer sticks sagged when I held them at one end, which made me wonder if these would be crispier if prepared in an air fryer or a deep fryer. 

And the sauce! For a tiny packet of marinara, I was impressed by how much the tomato flavor — and how little acidity — came through. I do wish the marinara packet was bigger, though, and am curious about the decision to make it a 3-serving portion when the box of sticks serves four. (Hot dog fans, you get me!) Still, I will absolutely buy them again … if I see them in the freezer section.

Buy: FarmRich Breaded Zucchini Sticks, $6.96 for 16 ounces at Walmart

Have you tried these frozen zucchini sticks? Tell us about it in the comments!