So, if you know my family at all, you know that we have a serious love affair with chips.
There’s just something about that crunch, isn’t there?
Sadly, chips are not the most healthy snack food available to us. They certainly don’t mesh with clean, healthy eating. I know, I shed a tear too.
All is not lost though! Just because the store bought versions are loaded with preservatives and ingredients that are multi-syllabic and a pain to pronounce doesn’t mean your homemade ones have to be.
I was on my way home from the barn yesterday and man, chips sounded great. Probably due to the fact that I had forgot my water bottle at home, honestly. Salt cravings are definitely real.
Forrest was happily trying to lick my neck and hands while I was grooming him, so it wasn’t just me. Normally he’s pretty non-invasive, but today…he might normally nose at the hem of your shirt while you’re picking his feet out, but that’s about the worst of it. Today though…He was right there with me and my salt cravings. The mental image is cute, but I promise, the reality is just slimy feeling. Horse tongues are weird. Luckily for him, he had plenty of water waiting for him. Me on the other hand, still had to go to the store and go home.
Despite this craving, I reasoned that I could hold out until I was home.
No need to buy another water bottle when I still had one. At least, that was my thought.
Still, that chip aisle was mighty tempting. At about this time, I remembered the dehydrator buried in the closet and an idea was born.
I love zucchini and I love salt and vinegar chips. So…why not make those beautiful summer squashes into chips?
Salt and Vinegar Chips
Now, I remember many a cucumber salad at home. My mom would always make us finish it off, because it wouldn’t last in the fridge. So I figured that zucchini would probably be as liable to wilt as cucumber was. I might be wrong here, but that was my thought process.
I have this lovely bottle of Basil Olive Oil sitting on my counter. My mother in law bought it for us down in Santa Barbara while she was there last year and it tastes amazing. I’ve been a little remiss in thinking up something to use it on though, other than just dipping a finger in to try it once.
With that in mind, I figured that I might as well use it in this recipe. Basil is a pretty light flavor, so it would only add a subtle flavor to the chips. For the vinegar, you could probably use whatever you have on hand, but since I had a white balsamic at home, that’s what I used.
Now, before we get to the recipe bit, I’ve got to throw a bit of a PSA out there about myself.
Truth bomb time.
I was not raised in a family that follows recipes.
My grandmother, great aunt, and mother, all subscribe to the school of thought that you should experiment with your food. They were who taught me, so that’s how I roll.
Sure, when it comes to baking, we’ll follow the flour/yeast/baking soda/powder amounts. That’s just asking for trouble if you don’t usually. I can attest to this. Many a burned, flat cookie has happened.
But cooking? Those recipes are more of a…shall we say guideline?
With that in mind, I want you to break a rule.
Play with your food!
I know, I know. We’re always told not to, but live a little! Don’t like an ingredient? Replace or omit it. Don’t just follow a recipe to a T, play around with it! Make it to your tastes.
I hate sweet potato with a passion you wouldn’t believe. You bet your booty that I swap that out in a hot minute if I see it in a recipe. Now that we’re on the topic, I’m not a huge fan of lima beans either. I do love garlic, onion, and a bunch of spices though. Ninety percent of the time, I add in a bunch of spices that I love to any given recipe.
While this school of thought might be frustrating to some- sorry B- I wouldn’t want it any other way. It has made me entirely unafraid to play with flavors. So work, some don’t. But, I never am afraid to try them.
Unless it’s sweet potato. You can get that right out of there.
So, I want you to try the same. Mix it up. Make some tweaks in a recipe and make it your own!
Alright, back to our regularly scheduled program.
This recipe is incredibly simple. The hardest part is the waiting.
I’ll level with you, I definitely overestimated how much my dehydrator could take, so I made a batch in the oven too. This was definitely the quicker route. Both are delicious, so pick your method.
So, what kind of equipment do you need?
First off, your usual bowl and cutting board. (Or, if you’re clever, a gallon size ziplock to mix everything in!) If you’re like me and all mandolins seem to have acquired a taste for your flesh, a sharp chef’s knife will work perfectly. Yes, I know they make a hand guard. But the one I grew up using didn’t have one, okay? Just make sure to slice thin (and careful!). For those of you out there that mandolins don’t hate, whip out that handy dandy tool and put it to use!
Other than that, all you need is an oven and some parchment lined cookie sheets, or your trusty dehydrator.
I loved mine last year when I was making jerky non stop, but it fell out of favor this year. No more! These chips are a game changer for it and I foresee many a batch of chips being made this summer.
Once those zucchini are all sliced up, put them in your mixing bowl or ziplock.
Note: I was a overenthusiastic goof and sliced all four up. Don’t be me.
Drizzle the olive oil and vinegar over the top of your slices and mix them all up! Once they all look appropriately mixed together, place them on your dehydrator racks (or your lined cookie sheets), sprinkle your salt over the tops (I put some pepper too!) and get ready to wait.
My dehydrator does veggies at 125 *F, but check yours to see what your settings are. For the over, cooking time might vary, but mine was set at 225 *F for just about 2.5 hours. I would rotate your sheets after an hour and then start checking them for crispness at around the 2 hour mark.
Once they’re done, put them in an airtight container. Don’t worry, I won’t tell if you eat a handful before closing the container.
Enjoy and let me know your tweaks and changes to the recipe!
Until next time,
- 2 thinly sliced zucchini
- 1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 2-3 tsp coarse sea salt
- Use a mandolin or slice zucchini as thin as possible.
- In a small bowl whisk olive oil and vinegar together.
- Place zucchini in a large bowl and toss with oil and vinegar.
- Add zucchini in even layers to dehydrator then sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Or, if using an oven, space evenly on parchment lined cookie sheets.
- Using a dehydrator:
- Depending on how thin you sliced the zucchini and on your dehydrator the drying time will vary, anywhere from 8-14 hours.
- Using an oven:
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lay zucchini evenly. Bake at 225 degrees F for 2-3 hours. Rotate trays half way through cooking time.
- Store chips in an airtight container. Enjoy!