Fact: Tzatziki makes pretty much anything taste a zillion times better. These zucchini fritters – crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and stuffed with feta cheese – are no exception. I’m obsessed! They’re definitely my new favorite way to cook zucchini.
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Every spring, the Greek church down the road from out house hosts a festival. We look forward to it all year – the food is out of this world! I was totally bummed that I had to miss this year’s event (it was the same weekend that I was in Miami for Blogher Food). When I was offered a review copy of Debbie Matenopoulos’s new cookbook It’s All Greek To Me, I had to say yes. Could I really cook all of my favorites at home? It turns out that I can!
As tempted as I was to go straight for my tried-and-true favorites (stuffed grape leaves – page 44 and lamb souvlaki – page 204) I was really inspired by Debbie’s heavy emphasis on fresh vegetables. The zucchini fritters honestly didn’t catch my eye at first, but once I started reading the ingredients I knew I had to make them immediately! They’re prefect for tis time of year, when zucchini seems to be on sale everywhere you look.
These fritters remind me a little of potato pancakes – they’re salty and crispy on the outside with creamy centers. In addition to finely chopped zucchini (I blitzed mine in my Vitamix, but a fine grater would also work) they’re loaded with feta cheese and fresh chopped mint. On their own, they’re decent but once I spooned on some tzatziki they were probably the best thing I’ve eaten all month! Seriously, you should definitely make these while zucchini is in season.
They’re surprisingly filling and make a great meal when paired with a salad or two. (We ate ours with a fantastic chickpea + kale salad that I’ll be sharing soon!)
This dish is traditionally made to use up the zucchini pulp that is left when making Kolokithakia Gemista me Kima (Stuffed Zucchini). Greek families feel it is disrespectful to waste food, so they always find a way to use every part of the fruit, the vegetables, or even the animals they are consuming. These fritters are charmingly rustic, so don’t worry if they are not perfectly round. The recipe for Zucchini fritters is reprinted with permission from It's All Greek To Me. The tzatziki recipe is from the same book, but I adapted it slightly.
15 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 3 pounds medium zucchini (about 6), washed and stemmed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 to 8 ounces brine-packed Greek feta (about 11/2 cups), crumbled small
- 1/2 cup olive oil for frying
- 1/4 seedless cucumber
- 6 ounces plain yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed into a paste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons freshly chopped dill
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- sea salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 250ºF.
- Cut the zucchini in half down the center into half cylinders. With a small teaspoon or a grapefruit spoon, hollow out the zucchini skins by scooping out all the pulp, leaving about 1/8 inch of zucchini intact next to the skin. (Leave the bottoms intact so that you are left with a “zucchini cup” that can be stuffed on another night.)
- Transfer the pulp to the bowl of a food processor or high-performance blender and pulse a few times to chop finely. Place the finely chopped zucchini pulp into a colander and toss with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cover the zucchini with a plate and put a weight on top (such as a large can of tomatoes). Drain for 10 minutes, briefly rinse, then squeeze as much moisture as possible from the pulp.
- Whisk the flour, eggs, mint, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Gently fold the drained zucchini pulp and feta into the flour mixture. Stir until the mixture resembles a thick batter.
- In a deep skillet or Dutch oven set over medium heat, heat about 1/2 inch of the oil until it shimmers. Working in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding, scoop out heaping tablespoons of the batter and carefully drop into the oil. The fritters will naturally flatten out. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until golden brown.
- Remove the fritters from the oil and drain on a large, oven-safe plate lined with paper towels. Keep fritters warm in the preheated oven as you continue to fry the remaining batter. Serve with tzatziki.
- Use a microplane or box grater to grate the cucumber. Use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible.
- Add the cucumber and remaining ingredients to a bowl. Mix well to combine. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Want to check out a copy of It’s All Greek To Me for yourself? Enter my giveaway for a chance to win! (Open to US and Canadian entrants.)