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herbed zucchini fritters
by Jackie Newgent | March 13, 2021 | 1 Comment
I get so excited when the air is warmer and the days are brighter … and when it’s zucchini season. It means there will be plenty of these herbed zucchini fritters to indulge in. Better yet, here’s the recipe for you to try so that we can all indulge in them!
To make these delicious, plant-based bites, you’ll grate a couple of zucchinis, add sea salt, and let that sit for a bit while the veggies release their juices. Separately, you’ll stir together chia seeds with a little water and let that sit to create a “gel”—that’ll ultimately act as a binder in place of eggs. Next, you’ll squeeze out the excess juices from the zucchini. Then you’ll mix the grated zucchini with the chia “gel,” fresh chives and mint, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. For body, you’ll stir in whole-wheat pastry flour and baking power. Finally, you’ll scoop into 12 balls, flatten into patties and sauté in olive oil, and then top as desired. Pretty straightforward, right?
If you don’t eat all of these herbed zucchini fritters before you get to the topping (they’re THAT tasty as is!), you can have lots of fun with high-flavored add-ons. Try one my favorite pairings:
Mediterranean-style: Make a dip with tahini, a splash of lemon juice, pinch of sea salt, and enough water or unsweetened green tea for desired consistency. (See my Lemony Tahini Dressing recipe HERE for inspiration). Garnish with fresh mint leaves and pomegranate arils or extra-thinly sliced grape tomatoes.
All-American: Dollop with (plant-based) sour cream. Garnish with minced fresh chives.
Chinese-inspired: Whisk up a simple tamari-based dipping sauce with 3 tablespoons tamari (soy sauce), 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon coconut nectar or agave nectar and, if desired, up to 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh gingerroot. Garnish with minced fresh chives, thinly sliced red hot chili pepper, and toasted sesame seeds.
Ideally, serve the herbed zucchini fritters as an appetizer or a side dish. Or, if you’re like me, snack on them over a few days. And if you do decide to go with a different topping than one of my faves, please share!
1/3 cup (78.5 milliliters) water (or zucchini juices from step #2)
1/4 cup packed (13 grams) minced fresh chives
8 large fresh mint leaves, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
2/3 cup (92 grams) whole-wheat pastry flour or chickpea flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
In a medium bowl, combine the grated zucchini and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Set aside for about 15 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the chia seeds and water. Set aside for 15 to 30 minutes to create a “gel.”
Then squeeze zucchini by hand, roll up in a clean kitchen towel, and tightly squeeze to remove excess juices.
In a large mixing bowl, add the zucchini, chia gel, chives, mint, black pepper, cayenne, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to evenly combine. Together, add the flour and baking powder to the zucchini mixture and stir to evenly combine.
Using a large cookie scoop or your hands, form 12 mounds/balls zucchini fritter batter, about 2 rounded tablespoons (41 grams) each onto an unbleached parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Fully heat the oil in a large (12-inch) cast iron or other stick-resistant skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium. In two batches, add fritter mounds/balls to the skillet, quickly pressing into patties (about 2 1/2-inch/6.35-cm diameter) with a spatula after each addition. Fry undisturbed until fritters are browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cooling rack set on a large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining zucchini mixture. Serve warm.
Enjoy as is–or pair with a topping, dipping sauce, and garnishes of choice.
For more recipes featuring zucchini, try my lemony herb farro salad with avocado & grilled zucchini (see recipe HERE), chocolate zucchini bread with pistachios (see recipe HERE), and lemony herb “orzotto” with garlicky chickpeas (see recipe HERE).