The first time I ever grew zucchini in the garden at our house, I was amazed out how quickly and easily the plant grew. It’s a plant that you start by directly sowing the seed into the ground, not by starting the plant indoors first as a little seedling because it takes off so quickly and its roots get growing so fast that you want it to be in its permanent location when you start it.
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It was so prolific and thriving that I didn’t pay much attention to any bugs that were drawn to the zucchini plant – that thing seemed indestructible. Those little bugs were squash bugs, and if you garden and have ever grown zucchini, summer squash, or hard-skinned squash, you know that squash bugs are THE WORST. They are more prolific and destructive than the zucchini plant, and they will take over.
The squash bugs took hold just as the plant was starting to produce a lot of zucchini, and by the time I realized what was happening it was too late and the squash bugs killed my precious little plants.
And the first time I ever tried to grow zucchini was when we were living in an apartment with very little sunlight. Pinterest told me that I could grow zucchini in containers (I now very much beg to differ), but with the small space and the lack of light, I barely produced one fruit-bearing flower let alone an actual zucchini.
I like to remind myself of this frustrating first attempts at growing zucchini when my garden is physically exploding with zucchini at this point in the summer now.
After you eat all the zucchini crudites platters you can take, what to do with all that extra summer vegetable? You make these super easy garden zucchini fritters, of course.
Vegetable fritters are highly underrated, and every time I make them and am reminded of how easy they are, I wonder why I don’t cook them more often.
Vegetable fritters in general and these zucchini fritters specifically are so easy to make with whatever you have lying around in the fridge. Eggs, flour, and vegetables are your three non-negotiables, and other than that you can dress these fritters up with just about anything you like.
Zucchini Fritters – Keys To Success
There are two main things to keep in mind when you’re making these garden zucchini fritters.
One, you want to expel as much liquid as possible from the mixture before frying your fritters. Remember how oil and water don’t mix? It’s true, and if you drop a watery fritter into oil to fry it, not only will your fritter fall apart, you will spit fire hot grease allllll over your kitchen. No one wants that. Expel that water in advance.
A full six cups of shredded zucchini wrung out almost two full cups of liquid after draining. To get rid of as much of that as possible, you need to salt your zucchini after it’s shredded in a fine mesh strainer so the liquid is drawn out. Then you need to take it a step further and really squeeze the zucchini to wring it out. And then you need to take it one step further than that and wrap it in a kitchen towel or paper towel to really, really wring it out. Trust me, this process is necessary.
Two, you want these zucchini fritters to be as light and as vegetably as possible while still holding their shape as fritters. To do this, I like to use a mixture of flour and cornstarch to keep things extra light and crispy. And I use only enough egg and flour to just bind the vegetable mixture. You want fritters and not pancakes.
To shred the zucchini, I like using the coarse grate of a box grater. The zucchini is discernable but not too chunky. I find if I use the smaller grates then the zucchini breaks down too much. The box grater makes really quick work of shredding the zucchini.
Zucchini Fritter Flavors
At their base, these fritters are zucchini, flour, and egg. From there, you can flavor them however you want. I find myself almost always going Mediterranean/Greek when I make these. I add some tangy feta and some green onion. Maybe I throw some parsley or dill in there. And then these zucchini fritters almost always end up being dipped in a tzatziki style Greek yogurt dip. It just feels right.
But you can change up the flavors in this however you want. You could do Italian style with parmesan, parsley, and maybe some fennel. You could go French with gruyere and tarragon. Maybe you want just an impossibly fresh tasting zucchini fritter and add a plethora of herbs – basil, parsley, mint, celery leaves, dill, lime zest, etc. Make it your own! Flavor it however strikes your fancy.
These zucchini fritters reheat really well, and I love them for breakfast. They’re best reheated in a skillet, but a microwave works just fine too if that’s what you’ve got.
Garden Zucchini Fritters
These crispy and savory zucchini fritters are loaded with herbs and feta and crisped to golden brown perfection – perfect for a light summer meal!
- 3 large grated zucchini (about 6 cups in total before wringing out water)
- 2 clove garlic minced
- 2 tbsp Parsley
- ½ bunch around 4 green onions thinly sliced, about ½ cup in total
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2-3 tbsp avocado oil
Shred the zucchini and add to a fine mesh strainer. Add 1/2 tbsp kosher salt and stir to combine the salt and zucchini together. Let sit 10 minutes over the sink to drain, stirring occasionally
Meanwhile, combine the garlic, parsley, green onions, salt, pepper, and lemon zest together in a medium mixing bowl
Once the zucchini has sit for 10 minutes, press down firmly with your hands or a wooden spoon on the zucchini to drain the liquid. Do this over a large bowl or the kitchen sink. Keep pressing until you extract as much liquid as possible
Wrap the shredded zucchini in a kitchen towel and wring the mixture out over the sink. You should extract even more liquid at this point. For 6 cups of shredded zucchini, I extracted about 2 cups of water
Add the shredded zucchini to the other ingredients in the medium mixing bowl. Stir gently to combine
Add the flour and cornstarch to the mixture and stir again
Finally, add the two beaten eggs and incorporate well
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat until shimmering. Form the zucchini fritter mixture into small patties – about the size of a hamburger – and add them to the oiled pan
Lightly pan fry the fritters for 4-5 minutes on one side or until golden brown. Flip and saute for an additional 3-4 minutes on the other side
Transfer the fritters to a paper towel lined plate once fried and continue with the remaining mixture. Serve warm with a dollop of Greek yogurt or tzaziki sauce
Try adding the leftover zucchini water to smoothies if you’re looking for ways to be less wasteful!
These make excellent leftovers and can be reheated in a pan over medium heat until re-crisped and warmed through