Parmesan Quinoa & Zucchini Fritters
Sometimes mashed potatoes or rice is just not going to cut it. These delicious, healthy gluten-free fritters give you that fancy lady feeling, but they're weeknight fast.
When I needed a side dish for my mother's birthday dinner last week, I knew I wanted to do something fun. She's a health-conscious lady, my mama, and doesn't eat much bread, rice or pasta because it makes her feel best to eat mostly protein, veggies. And red wine, of course. The woman never passes up a glass of red wine.
So with our wild salmon, I considered rice. Pilaf. Roasted potatoes. Pasta. All delicious. All starchier than she would probably like. Even if I would kill for a plate of lemony, buttery pasta with salmon, this was an occasion for that unicorn of cooking:
Decadent AND healthy.
Plus, I had a bunch of zucchini in my crisper.
You'll want to start the prep on this recipe before you begin cooking, since the zucchini will need to drain for a little while. That said, once you've got the zucchini prepped there is almost no work and very little cooking time involved, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner.
Leftovers make great protein-rich snacks and lunches. Try batch-cooking some during your Sunday meal prep and packing them in kiddo lunches with a little sour cream or dijonnaise for dipping.
It's also great for company and for special occasions. I think these fritters could be made a bit smaller and be the perfect base for a holiday canapé with a dollop of creme fraiche & bit of smoked salmon with dill.
Or, you know, just for when you have a bunch of zucchini dying in your fridge.
Parmesan Quinoa + Zucchini Fritters
The perfect combo of decadent & healthy, plus speedy enough for a weeknight.
Adapted from The Scrumptious Pumpkin
- 3 eggs
- 4 medium zucchini
- 2 cups cooked quinoa*
- 2/3 cup parmesan, finely grated
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
- avocado or coconut oil for frying
- 1-2 tsp sea salt for draining zucchini
- Cook quinoa according to package directions or use recipe in notes below. Season very lightly, if at all, as zucchini will be salted. Cool slightly before mixing, in freezer or fridge if needed for time.
- Grate zucchini and place in sieve or colander over a bowl. Add 1/2 - 1 tsp. salt to zucchini and mix well with hands. Let drain for 10 minutes. Water will leech from zucchini and pour into bowl below.
- Wrap zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and wring out well with hands to remove moisture. Return to sieve and mix with an additional 1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt. Let drain an additional 10 minutes, then squeeze with hands to remove last bit of moisture. Squeeze hard!
- Combine eggs, cooked, slightly cooled quinoa, parmesan, zucchini, and herbs.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Shape patties with hands, about 1/2-inch thick and 2-inches in diameter. Fry 3-5 minutes per side. Do not turn until fritters have browned around edges.
- Flip once each and fry an additional 2-3 minutes on second side.
- Remove to cooling rack and keep warm in low oven, if needed.**
* Cook quinoa according to package directions while you wait for zucchini to drain. Quinoa takes approximately 15-20 minutes to cook. Try cooking a big batch so you have leftovers for grain bowls and/or a side dish for another dinner. Here's my favourite way to make quinoa: http://bellybootcamp.ca/best-quinoa-recipe/
** Fritters could also be made ahead 1 day and stored on parchment paper in refrigerator, then reheated on parchment or on baking racks in oven to regain crispness.