Born Pinner, Budding Chef | Crunchy Baked Green Bean Fries

Don't tell the kids, but these green bean "fries" aren't fried. They're baked and crunchy and yummy, and my God, when the Farmers' Markets begin in Jersey City next month (most begin the week of May 4!), this little snack is going to be even farther out of this world. Since my daughter crossed over the 18-month mark, her diet has deteriorated swiftly. I remember thinking proudly last summer that I had a unicorn, as I watched her gobble up every veggie that our CSA brought in without question. I've since watched that unicorn fly away.

As she approaches two years old, all she wants to eat is pizza, "clackers" (crackers) and cheese, of any and every variety at any and every moment of the day.

She recently come home with what I thought would be the last cold of the season, but it's just not going away. That's not entirely atypical. The cough always seems to linger a month after the sickness (aka right into the next cold), but this time, I fear that it's because her little body is not getting enough nutrients to heal properly.

I could be wrong, but even so, given all of the above, I decided to pull out the big guns and engage in a one-sided veggie war. Me vs. the World's Cutest Human (who doesn't know we're at war because I don't engage in food battles at the table... only in my mind beforehand). But the veggies are going down (her damn throat)! I've been researching toddler nutrition, and all sorts of fun and different recipes and tips, and one I came upon yesterday sounded so delicious and just happened to include an ingredient that was in my fridge with no intended purpose: green beans. So we gave it a try.

I was inspired by this recipe that I found on Pinterest, but it originates on a food and wine blog called Platings and Pairings. As usual, I deviated slightly, but not so much as I sometimes do.

It's so simple and so quick to make these baked green bean fries, you can pull them together in a pinch for a snack, for a party or as part of a meal. They only take two minutes longer than my kale chips.

All I know is that the plate quickly looked like this, and my daughter said, "more beans, mama?" Success!

What You'll Need:

  • 1 lb. green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 3/4 cup of bread crumbs (the original recipe called for crushed Ritz crackers, but I'm not trying to add GMO's into my daughter's diet)
  • 2-3 eggs, beaten (start with two, and see if you need a third)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tools: baking sheet, foil paper and two bowls -- one for eggs (think french toast-dipping style) and a medium bowl for the breadcrumb mixture.

*Note: I use organic everything, including (especially!) spices, and recommend the same in this case. You may not believe this, but Key Food on Jersey Ave. (click link for map) has an amazing selection of organic food items and at reasonable prices, too.

What You'll Do: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper in your medium bowl.
  3. Cover your baking sheet with foil.
  4. Dip the green beans in the egg, then in the crumb mixture to coat.
  5. Place on the baking sheet in a single layer.
  6. When all green beans are coated, spray them lightly with the olive oil spray and place the baking sheet in the oven (*Note: while the recipe calls for this step, I didn't do it and they were still great. I'm sure they'd be yummy lightly sprayed, as well. Your call for your family!).
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip them and bake for another 2-5 minutes until crispy. If needed, turn on the broiler for a minute or two to get them really crispy.
  8. Plate, sprinkle lightly with finishing salts and watch them disappear.

They are SO damn good! Let me know in the comments below if you try them and what you think, and/or if you make any tweaks that improve them. Enjoy!