French fries are my downfall. They’ve always been a weakness for me. I just can’t seem to control myself when confronted with a plate of greasy, salty, crispy crunchy fries. Preferably dipped in copious amounts of mayo and ketchup.
The lame thing is, french fries can be healthy. They’re just potatoes, which–contrary to popular belief–are actually really good for you. (Potassium, fiber, vitamin C–all things your body needs, packaged up in a fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free spud!) But fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free isn’t how french fries are usually served. Think deep-fried, heavily salted deliciousness.
I tried for years to get the baked french fry thing down. I’d toss them in olive oil and sea salt and roast them. I’d have high expectation for those fries. But nearly every time they’d turn out soft and floppy. Tasty, but very un-french fry like. I eventually gave up on them and went back to deep frying them. That was not only super unhealthy, but it was also not successful either. Those french fries usually ended up soft, too.
Salvation came when, in an effort to reduce the oil in our diets, I tried baking them with no oil. No fat. Just spuds and seasoning, lined up on a cookie sheet. I had low expectations. “Roasting something with no oil? No way will this be good,” I figured.
But boy, was I wrong! No oil, it turns out, is the secret to crispy crunchy french fries! Not only have I figured out how to make crispy homemade french fries, I’ve also redeemed my downfall food. This is a side dish you can feel good about. No oil, no fat. Just wholesome potato goodness.
Serves 1 (double and triple the recipe as needed, just add more spuds and more seasonings for each additional person)
- 1 large russet potato
- salt, to taste
- any seasonings you’d like, to taste (favorites of mine include ranch seasoning, chili powder+nutritional yeast, dried rosemary+garlic powder, dried oregano+dried basil+garlic powder+onion powder)
Preheat oven to 425. Spray a cookie sheet with just enough oil spray to keep the potatoes from sticking to the pan.
Thoroughly wash and dry the potato, but do not peel. Slice it into long, thick matchsticks. Toss with salt and seasonings. Arrange on prepared cookie sheet, making sure that they’re not piled on top of each other. Each french fry should be completely touching the bottom of the cookie sheet.
Place on the bottom rack in the oven and bake 15 minutes. By this point, the bottom of the fries should be golden brown and roasted. Flip them over with a spatula and bake 15 minutes more, until the other side is equally roasted. Flip them again and bake 5-10 minutes longer if you’d like them crispier/more browned.