So I’ve tried a couple of new things recently, and, in both cases, I’m so glad I did.
First, I tried making zucchini fritters and decided to add quinoa.
They’re very simple to make, as long as you follow a few key tips.
And the flavor is excellent – this is most definitely a family friendly, craveable, satisfying dish.
These little cakes are nothing but crispy, cheesy comfort.
Second, Meat-and-Potatoes-Guy and I went to a coastal town we’d never seen before – Rockport, MA.
In this case, it was so worth taking a chance on something new – we had a great time strolling around.
It’s a pretty, quaint little seaside village with lots of New England charm.
How does the coast bring such a complete sense of peace and calm, you feel it even through a photograph?
Meat-and-Potatoes-Guy was a good sport and let me get this shot of him with Calvin (Cal-Bean’s first real trip to the beach! He looks super thrilled by the wonder of it all, doesn’t he?)
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make the zucchini quinoa fritters.
Begin by grating the zucchini using a coarse grater.
The next step is the key to success with this recipe: you must squeeze all the excess liquid from the zucchini.
Here’s the method that is easiest for me.
Place a fine mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl.
Toss the zucchini with about half a teaspoon of salt, and place it in the strainer.
Then just let it sit for about 12 minutes.
After that time is up, really press and squeeze the zucchini, squeezing every last bit of water out.
Then repeat the process, tossing in a little more salt, letting it sit for several minutes, and squeezing all the water out.
As you’ll observe from the huge amount of (vivid green!) water in the bowl, this is a very critical step to keep your fritters from turning into a watery, soupy mess.
Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa.
I wanted to try adding quinoa to these fritters because, as you’ll notice if you’ve read over some of my recipes, I’m kind of a fan.
I like it because it’s a superfood, but it’s also so, so easy to prepare. It’s full of filling protein, fiber, and nutrients like iron (which prevents fatigue and keeps the immune system strong).
Here’s how easy it is:
Boil one cup of water in a saucepan.
Add 1/2 cup of quinoa and reduce to a simmer.
Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 6-9 minutes.
(There shouldn’t be any water left in the pot.)
You’ll see it’s done when the spiral-shaped germ becomes visible around each grain.
Next, grate some fresh parmesan cheese.
Try a real block of Parmigiano-Reggiano for the very best flavor.
A good quality cheese packs tons of flavor, so you won’t feel the need to keep piling it on – - in other words, a little goes a long way!
Next, grab a mixing bowl and add the strained zucchini, the cooked quinoa, and the grated parmesan.
Also add an egg, some dried thyme, some garlic powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Stir until everything is well combined.
Then grab small handfuls of the mixture and shape them into small, quarter-inch thick cakes.
Heat a bit of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
When the oil is hot (you can test this by tossing a bit of water into the pan to see if it sizzles) add the fritters and just let them sit and cook for a few minutes without flipping or moving them.
When you notice the edges turning a nice golden brown, use a spatula to flip.
They should have a lovely, lightly browned surface.
Let them cook a few minutes more on the second side, then they’re ready to serve.
I love these crispy little cakes because they’re just the thing for satisfying that rich, cheesy food craving.
They’re crispy on the outside with lots of tender (fresh and healthy!) zucchini in the center.
The quinoa adds a nutty crunch.
And of course, there’s all that (very necessary!) salty, gooey parmesan goodness.
Fresh summer zucchini is wonderful, raw or grilled.
But in my mind, add some quinoa and parmesan to the mix, and then you’ve really got something special!
Here is the complete, printable recipe:
Inactive: 20 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 12 fritters, 4 servings (1 serving is 3 fritters)
- 3 medium zucchini, grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup quinoa
- ½ cup parmesan, grated
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Toss the grated zucchini with ½ teaspoon salt and place in the strainer. Allow zucchini to sit about 12 minutes, then press and squeeze all water from zucchini. Repeat the process, tossing with an additional ½ teaspoon salt and allowing zucchini to sit an additional 10 minutes. Again press and squeeze all water from zucchini.
- Meanwhile, bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the quinoa and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 6-9 minutes. The quinoa is cooked when the spiral germ becomes visible around the grains.
- In a mixing bowl, stir and combine zucchini, quinoa, parmesan, egg, thyme, garlic powder, and black pepper. Scoop small handfuls of the zucchini mixture and form small, round ¼-inch thick patties.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Arrange the fritters on the pan so that none are overlapping (working in batches if necessary). Allow fritters to cook until edges begin to turn golden, about 4-6 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook about 4 minutes more. Serve.