Baked Mexican Mozzarella Sticks

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  • PREP TIME
    15 Min
  • COOK TIME
    20 Min
  • SERVINGS
    12

The one and only time in my life when I aspired to be a vegan was quickly abandoned with the realization that cheese was on the prohibited foods list. There simply is no substitute for the delectable, complex richness of cheese, and I found that as a vegetarian, it added flavor and nutrition to my meals.  Cheese headlines many popular gourmet dishes and it’s versatility and diversity in flavor and texture lends itself well to a wide variety of dishes, including snacks.

One of our favorite restaurant snacks is the traditional fried mozzarella stick. The juxtaposition of a crunchy outside batter with warm, melted cheese is divine,  yet for this health-conscious mom, I needed to find an a suitable alternative that didn’t involve a deep frier. With the right combination of spices, panko bread crumbs, and a touch of olive oil, you can enjoy a version of this popular finger food mostly guilt-free.

Traditional mozzarella sticks are battered or breaded, then deep fried and served with marinara sauce. I decided to give my baked version a cultural flavor kick with a blend of my favorite Latin seasonings including Cumin, Cilantro, Chili Powder, and Paprika. Panko bread crumbs, a popular accent to fried Japanese foods, was used in place of conventional bread crumbs for a lighter, flakier outer crust. And no Latin dish is complete without salsa, which compliments the seasonings and the melted cheese nicely.

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