8 Bright & Tasty Alternatives for “Fries”

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These vegetable french fry substitutes are all of the fun and none of the guilt. They’re tasty enough for a summer barbecue, festive enough for a party and quick enough for a lazy day at home. By subbing in parsnips or sweet potatoes, baking instead of frying and adding zesty spices — you might surprise yourself and come to like these alternatives more than their potato counterparts.



  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cinnamon, to taste


Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the sweet potato into fry shapes, cutting each piece about 1/4 inch thick.

Toss the fries and the maple syrup in a large bowl. Sprinkle with flax, sea salt and cinnamon; toss to evenly coat.

Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, turning halfway through.

Allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

Serves: 1 |  Serving Size: 1 sweet potato

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 184; Total Fat: 3g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 77mg; Carbohydrate: 38g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 14g; Protein: 3g



  • 1 large jicama, peeled
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 15-ounce (444mL) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
  • 2/3 cup (100g) blanched, unsalted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon (15mL) red wine vinegar (certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line baking sheet with parchment.

Secure jicama in a spiral slicer and turn the crank to create noodles. Using a sharp knife, cut jicama noodles into 2–3-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, toss jicama pieces with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, oregano and thyme; toss to coat. Spread jicama in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25–30 minutes, turning halfway, until golden and crispy.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, place roasted bell peppers, almonds, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper; purée until smooth.

Transfer jicama fries to a serving platter. Sprinkle parsley over fries and serve with sauce for dipping.

Serves: 6 |  Serving Size: 2/3 cup fries + 1/6 of sauce

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 240; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 11g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 139mg; Carbohydrate: 21g; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 5g



  • 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds (907g) parsnips, peeled (about 8 medium parsnips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup (120mL) plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin


Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment; set aside.

Heat oil in a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 2–3 minutes. Strain garlic and set aside. Pour oil into a medium bowl.

Cut parsnips into 3 1/2-inch strips about 1/4-inch thick. Add parsnips, salt and pepper to bowl, tossing to coat. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake 20 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and slightly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Remove from baking sheet, and immediately toss with Parmesan cheese, parsley and reserved garlic.

While parsnips bake, stir together yogurt, lime juice, curry and cumin. Serve immediately, with the parsnips.

Serves: 6 |  Serving Size: about 1/3 cup fries and 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 132; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 4mg; Sodium: 257mg; Carbohydrate: 17g; Dietary Fiber: 21g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 5g



  • 1 15-ounce (444mL) can low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoons  chili powder
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Pour the chickpeas over paper towels and dry as best as you can. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the chickpeas with oil, chili powder, lime zest and and salt. Bake for 30–45 minutes until chickpeas are crispy.

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 149; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 275mg; Carbohydrate: 18g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 0g; Protein: 5g



  • 2 green (unripe) plantains
  • 3 tablespoons (45mL) oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a baking sheet.

Slice the ends off the green plantains and use a knife to cut slits down the sides of the peel. This will allow you to pull off the skin (it is hard to remove).

Slice the plantains into 1/8-inch thick rounds (thinner slices yield crispier chips). Place on the prepared baking sheet, crowding them but not overlapping.

Drizzle the additional oil over the plantain slices and sprinkle salt on top.

Bake the plantain chips for 23–25 minutes or until browned and dry.

Allow the plantain chips to cool for 20 minutes before enjoying.

To store, let chips cool for at least 1 hour and seal in an airtight container. If you seal them before cooled, they will lose their crispiness. They will last 5–6 days.

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1/2 plantain

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 200; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 444mg; Carbohydrate: 29g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 14g; Protein: 1g



  • 1 pound (450g) parsnips (about 4)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Pesto sauce for dipping (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Wash parsnips and cut the ends off. Slice parsnips into strips to make fries. Place them on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Season with the paprika, salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Bake for 20–25 minutes, until soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.

Serve with pesto or your favorite dipping sauce.

Serves: 2 | Serving Size: 1 cup

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 237; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 314mg; Carbohydrate: 42g; Dietary Fiber: 12g; Sugar: 11g; Protein: 3g



  • 2 cups (310g) cooked spaghetti squash, shredded (about 1/2 small cooked squash)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt, to taste (optional)


Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Press the water out of the squash with paper towels.

Form little patties (2 tablespoons or so) by pressing the squash firmly between your palms.

Place the patties gently on the warmed skillet and let cook for 5–7 minutes per side. Flip only once, if possible, to achieve a nice browned effect.

Transfer to paper towels to drain, then serve warm. Sprinkle with salt if desired.

Serves: 2 |  Serving Size: 1 cup

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 104; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 105mg; Carbohydrate: 10g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 1g



For the potato wedges

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds/390g), each halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup (125g) plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Dash of vanilla extract


For the potato wedges
Place a large baking sheet in the oven. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C); do not remove pan from oven.

Place potatoes and 1/4 cup water in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and pierce with tip of a knife to vent. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Drain water.

Cut each potato half lengthwise into 4 wedges.

Add oil to potatoes; toss to coat.

Carefully remove preheated pan from oven, and coat pan with cooking spray. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on the pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 18 minutes or until the wedges are browned and tender.

For the sauce
Combine yogurt, honey and vanilla, stirring well. Serve the sauce with potatoes.

Serves: 4 |  Serving Size: 6 potato wedges + 1 tablespoon sauce

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 247; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 1mg; Sodium: 283mg; Carbohydrate: 50g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 13g; Protein: 4g

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