Zucchini Fritters (Gluten-Free/Paleo-Friendly)
This recipe gets a lot of love in August and then not much the rest of the year.
Hmmm, I wonder why? (Ha.)
If you’ve maxed out on your usual rotation of zucchini recipes, a savory pancake/fritter situation is deliciously worth exploring.
The original recipe, at the very end of this post, is for a true pancake, with a higher batter-to-zucchini ratio.
I tweaked it a bit recently and made more of a fritter, with a higher-zucchini-to-batter ratio, and decided I should give you two options.
I love them both, but I’m feeling the fritter right now. It’s more of a vegetable experience than a bread experience.
Fresh out of the pan, I topped one with a schmear of Greek yogurt, a slice of tomato, and salt and pepper for quality assurance purposes. Mmmph. Summer lovin’ right there.
Other aggressive garden plants you can pack into these fritters: plenty of chives and mint. We have loads of both growing here, even at altitude (I’m in Montana), and while we happily enjoy the mint in gin and tonics, and the chives in Ginger Scallion Sauce (sub in chives for scallions), it’s nice to use them together so they can lend zucchini some of their sass.
Minced chiles would be great too! Gosh I miss all of these treats in the winter – sorry for that aside, but it just hit me as I was typing that these recipes celebrate the simple, fresh essence of summer.
And that makes me realize that a spoonful of pesto, whether basil, arugula, or roasted red pepper, would be amazing spooned atop these. Ditto chimichurri. Do you own Kickass Condiments: 20+ Little Recipes That Change Everything? You should!
I’m roasting a chicken for dinner tonight. I’ll definitely be enjoying fritters and a fabulously drippy condiment right alongside. And I’ll be using cold fritters for a marvelous chicken-and-tomato sandwich for lunch tomorrow.
Makes about 20 fritters
2 pounds zucchini, trimmed, coarsely grated
4 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/2 cup gluten-free, all-purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1)
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill (or mint or combo of the 2)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Olive or avocado oil for frying
Set out a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Add zucchini to a colander and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let colander sit in the sink while you prepare the batter.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, flour, herbs, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper.
Press down on the zucchini to squeeze out some of the liquid, then transfer zucchini to a clean dish towel (choose a dark color if you have one, the liquid is green). Roll up the towel and twist off the ends, then twist-squeeze the crap out of the zucchini while standing over the sink. Really twist the towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Add zucchini to the egg mixture and stir to combine.
Set a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add oil to 1/4-inch deep. When oil is hot, add I heaping tablespoon of batter to the pan and pat it out a bit so it’s even and about 1/2-inch thick. Add a couple more fritters to the pan and fry until golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip and fry until other side is golden brown. Transfer to paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Fry remaining batter, adding more oil as needed.
Serve warm or at room temperature topped with yogurt sauce, below, or plain yogurt and tomato, or pesto or chimichurri, or eat them plain. Enjoy!
I first posted the recipe below in 2010, and then again in 2013 with GF adaptations. This recipe is more of a pancake than a fritter. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which of the two you prefer.
Zucchini bread is a family favorite, but if you’re looking for a new twist, savory to boot, add zucchini pancakes to your manage-the-bounty rotation.
Studded with fresh herbs and salty bits of feta cheese, the pancakes pop hot off the griddle tender and eggy, with beautifully crispy edges. Make them larger for a satisfying main course, or silver-dollar size for a pretty appetizer. Like my other favorite savory pancakes socca (chickpea flour pancakes), they’re filling and addictive topped with a simple salad of fresh greens or rolled around hot-off-the-grill sausages. However you devour them, serve the pancakes burning hot, tempered with a cool garlic-yogurt sauce. (A fresh tomato sauce would be delicious as well).
Turkish Zucchini Pancakes
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, January 1996
Makes about 20 3-inch pancakes
1 lb. zucchini, trimmed, coarsely grated
1 c. chopped green onions
4 eggs, beaten to blend
1/2 c. GF all-purpose flour
1/3 c. chopped fresh dill (or mint)
1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon or 2 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
2/3 c. chopped walnuts, optional
Olive oil or avocado oil for frying
Garlic Yogurt Sauce
1 c. Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. minced dill
1/2 tsp. salt
Place zucchini in colander. Sprinkle zucchini with salt and let stand 30 minutes to drain. Squeeze zucchini between hands to remove liquid, then squeeze dry in paper towels.
In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, garlic, dill, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine zucchini, chopped green onions, 4 eggs, herbs, salt, and pepper in medium bowl. Mix well. Fold in crumbled feta cheese. (Zucchini mixture can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Stir to blend before continuing.) Fold chopped walnuts into zucchini mixture (if using).
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Place baking sheet in oven. Cover bottom of large nonstick skillet with olive oil. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop zucchini mixture into skillet by heaping tablespoonfuls. Fry until pancakes are golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer each batch of pancakes to baking sheet in oven to keep warm. Serve pancakes hot with yogurt sauce.