WW Recipe of the Day: Easy Baked Mozzarella Sticks
How l love classic bar food - potato skins, nachos, my all-time favorite deep fried mozzarella - and yet I avoid it like the plague. Too much deep frying, too much breading, too many unwise calories.
These simple Baked Mozzarella Sticks are a great solution that looks the part and actually tastes better than their deep fried counterpart!
My baked mozzarella sticks have less than half the calories and ⅓ the fat and sodium of their restaurant counterparts. The trick is to begin with part-skim mozzarella string cheese sticks.
String cheese mozzarella is sold in packages of 12 or 24 at most supermarkets. I bought the 12 pack and made the recipe twice, freezing half of the unbaked sticks. Baking them as opposed to frying and using part skim cheese doesn’t effect how good these are.
One week later I popped the frozen sticks in the oven and in 20 minutes had the same flavor, crispy texture and delicious soft and gooey center that I remembered.
When you are looking for an appetizer for your next game day get together or simply craving some classic bar food comfort food, these easy Baked Mozzarella Sticks are a tasty choice.
How Many Calories and WW Points in these Baked Cheese Sticks?
According to my calculations, each of these easy baked mozzarella cheese sticks has 112 calories and:
2 *SmartPoints (Green plan)
2 *SmartPoints (Blue plan)
2 *SmartPoints (Purple plan)
3 *PointsPlus (Old plan)
How to Make Baked Mozzarella Sticks Step-by-Step
Step 1: Gather and prepare all ingredients.
I learned the hard way that it's best to thoroughly freeze your cheese sticks before making this recipe. This is what happened when I made a batch recently without first freezing them. (They still tasted amazing - it is melted cheese after all, but not quite the presentation I was going for)...
Step 2: Heat the oven to 400F degrees. Spray a small baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside (should be large enough so that the cheese sticks sit side-by-side but do not overlap).
Step 3: Beat the egg in a shallow bowl, big enough to hold 1 cheese stick.
Step 4: Mix together the ground nuts or nut flour, white flour, parmesan and basil and place in shallow dish (large enough to roll one cheese stick).
Step 5: Dip a frozen cheese stick first in the egg
and then roll it in the crumb mixture.
Place on prepared baking pan. Repeat with the five remaining mozzarella sticks.
Step 6: Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and cheese is just beginning to melt. (I used my Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven so I wouldn't have to heat up the whole kitchen.)
Step 7: Cool slightly and serve.
Recipes Notes, Variations and Substitutions
To avoid opening your oven to discover a molten gooey mess, these MUST be frozen before you bake them. The good news is you can coat them all ahead of time then place them on a wax paper lined plate and freeze them until you are ready to bake. You can then transfer them to ziplock bags, so they're ready and waiting when you want them.
I used a combination of flour, ground nuts, Parmesan cheese and dried basil as my coating. Most any prepared nuts will do. I love the flavor of cashews so always have unsalted, roasted ones in the freezer. Almonds or ground almond meal works just fine too.
I used basil to keep the Italian theme, however 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, or ½ teaspoon of garlic or onion powder would be tasty here too.
You could also substitute dry bread crumbs or Panko style breadcrumbs if you prefer.
A tip that will save you from messy hands a clumpy topping is to bread the sticks by using one hand to dip them in the egg and the other hand to roll in the nut mixture. The nut-rolling hand should be kept dry if you can.
The classic Italian marinara would be the likely sauce for these, although we loved them just plain.
We also tried slightly cooling the sticks and then topping a big veggie salad with them—a distance relative of the warm goat cheese salad. Delicious!
Ways to Use Leftover Baked Cheese Sticks
Any leftovers can be very quickly reheated in the microwave . Just a few seconds! The cheese melts quickly, so err on the side of needing more time rather than ending up with fondue.
If you've made these lightened up Baked Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, please give the recipe a star rating below and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. And stay in touch on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates.
Easy Baked Mozzarella Sticks
- 2 tablespoons ground cashews (or cashew flour)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
- 6 part-skim mozzarella cheese sticks, frozen
- Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Lightly spray a small baking pan and set aside (should be large enough for 6 cheese sticks to not overlap).
- Beat the egg in a shallow bowl, big enough to hold 1 cheese stick.
- In a separate bowl (or shallow dish), mix together the ground nuts or nut flour, white flour, Parmesan and basil.
- Dip a frozen cheese stick first in the egg and then roll it in the crumb mixture. Place on the prepared pan. Repeat with the five remaining mozzarella sticks.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and cheese is just beginning to melt.
- Cool slightly and serve with your favorite dipping sauce, or enjoy plain.
*Points® calculated by WW. *PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT each plan's ZeroPoint Foods (Green plan, Blue plan, Purple plan) using the WW Recipe Builder.
If you like these Homemade Baked Cheese Sticks, you might also like
- Crispy Pickle Juice Chicken Tenders
- Mini Pepperoni Pizza Muffins
- Easy InstantPot Low Fat Chicken Wings
- Enlightened Black Bean and Cheese Nachos
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