French Fries are Vegetables, Right?

"Twenty-five percent of the vegetables consumed by Americans are french fries" -according to Dr. Susan M. Krebs-Smith, author of a study in the journal Cancer.

I first saw this statement in a book I was reading several months ago and it floored me! I think I told everyone I came into contact with over the next several days about this shocking statistic. But when I really thought about it maybe it wasn't so outrageous.  I had an extremely difficult time thinking of a restaurant that didn't offer french fries as a side if not the standard side for their entrees. 

Many Americans are actually eating more vegetables compared to Americans in the 1970's but as always it comes down to quality not quantity.  So what can we do to increase our veggie intake but still fill our obvious french fry obsession? My solution: veggie fries!

We tried several different variations using everything from carrots to zucchini, baking instead of frying. Here are a couple favorites.

Rutabaga Fries- These were by far my favorite as they maintained the satisfying starchy quality potatoes have but with a more complex slightly peppery flavor. We kept it simple with just a coating of olive, salt & pepper and baked them in the oven at 425 degrees for 20 min turning them half way.  (We serve these with our very popular Salmon Cakes).

Sweet Potato Fries- This variety is a little more familiar to the french fry lovers of the world but we spiced ours with a little cayenne before baking to cut down the sweetness and make them irresistible. 

Parsnip Fries- If you are not familiar with parsnip they are in the carrot family and have a less sweet flavor then their orange counterpart. They also stayed a little crispier than the carrots we tried. We did olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary on our parsnip fries although roasted garlic would be just as delicious. 

Fries we tried but didn't love: Carrot, Beet and Zucchini. 

Whether you are trying to quiet the french fry loving children in your life or just need a treat without the guilt, veggie fries are the answer. Enjoy!