One of the great things about this recipe is that you can change it up a half dozen different ways. This came from my friend Margaret who had read my plea for ideas to make zucchini spirals prettier. She had been to a brunch recently where she had grilled bacon that was coated with sprinkled brown sugar and cracked pepper, spread with cheese, then broiled. Margaret thought there might be a way to work zucchini in there somewhere. I agreed and the result was a success!
This recipe originates from before I had air fryers. These days, I would skip the oven and I would cook the sugared-u bacon in the air fryer. After getting the bacon grease out of the air fryer (and into my Fat Trapper from Capers), I would make the zucchini spirals and cook them in the air fryer at 400 degrees. Once you have preheated the air fryer, if you put a little parchment paper into the basket before putting in the zucchini spirals, cleanup will be a cinch! The original (non air fryer) version of the recipe is below:
- Brown Sugar (or the Swerve brown sugar equivalent)
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Cheese! (You could use goat cheese, herbed goat cheese, cream cheese. Next time, I am going to mix raspberries and Splenda into cream cheese and try that! The first time, I used herbed cream cheese. Careful not to put too much. You want the cheese to be an accent, not the primary flavor.)
Directions: Thinly slice your zucchini into long planks. I used my mandolin. And, yes, I had my anti-slash gloves on. I could also have used one of our spiralizers, or even a wide peeler.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper (not absolutely necessary, but it sure makes cleanup easier and quicker). Place your bacon strips on the cookie sheet and insert into the preheated oven. Place your zucchini planks into a colander in the sink.
Drizzle the zucchini with olive oil and toss. Add your cracked black pepper. Place the zucchini planks on an indoor or outdoor grill.
While the zucchini is being grilled, check your bacon. Halfway through, sprinkle a little of the brown sugar onto the bacon.
Top the bacon with fresh pepper. Turn your zucchini and look for lovely grill marks. Turn the bacon and add the sweetener and pepper on the other side.
Can you believe I don’t have food prep gloves on? Argh. I was temporarily out, so I had to touch these messy ingredients. I was so brave. I tried making these several different ways. I put the cheese on the bacon, then put the zucchini on top of that. In another variation, I put the cheese on the zucchini and put the bacon on the inside.
I made some spirals without the zucchini, some without the bacon, some with everything. After rolling them into spirals, I secured them with toothpicks, placed them on a foil lined cookie sheet, and fired up the broiler for 2 minutes (your broiler might take more or less time, depending upon how far away your rack is set, and it is better to check frequently than to burn your hard work and precious ingredients.)
End result — mighty tasty.