Zucchini Quinoa Fritters with Parmesan


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:

Zucchini Quinoa Fritters with Parmesan
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: 4
  • Calories: 227
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated fat: 3.8g
  • Trans fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 18.9g
  • Sugar: 2.8g
  • Sodium: 761mg
  • Fiber: 3.1g
  • Protein: 11.2g
  • Cholesterol: 52mg
Recipe type: Healthy Side Dish
Total Time: 45 minutes (20 minutes inactive time)
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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.



  1. These sound to-die-for!!! And your styling…that block of cheese with the freshly grated cheese next to it? Absolutely perfect.
    Ari @ Ari’s Menu recently posted…Lemon Rosemary Grilled ArtichokesMy Profile

  2. I love zucchini; these fritters may finally get me on the quinoa bandwagon!
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) recently posted…peaches & cream popsiclesMy Profile

  3. Yum! I need any and all recipes to use up my zucchini. And I’m such a quinoa fan!

    I’m glad you said the cooking time is 6-9 minutes. Most recipes say 20 minutes, and I find my quinoa is done way before that. I know that you cook it a bit longer in the fritters, but I think it’s done before then, too.

    DessertForTwo recently posted…Dinner For Two: Mushroom and Swiss Patty MeltsMy Profile

  4. Now I know what to do with all my farm share zucchini! I especially like that these are breadcrumb-free, no gluten! :)
    Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) recently posted…Ice Cream Social Week: Healthier Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream #IceCreamWeekMy Profile

  5. Beautiful pictures from your trip and from this delicious looking fritters.
    Have never tried Quinua in fritters but after reading your recipe I sure will !
    Daniela recently posted…Gratinated scallops a la Parmesana (Conchitas a la parmesana)My Profile

  6. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy zucchini!

  7. These look really delicious. I make zucchini fritters, but I haven’t tried them with quinoa before. I am going to do so soon. Plus, I have 5 zucchinis in the fridge!
    Amy (Savory Moments) recently posted…Crabapple mostardaMy Profile

  8. The quinoa sounds like such a nice addition to the zucchini fritters for not only taste but texture.
    Karen (Back Road Journal) recently posted…Roasted Grapes, A Sweet And Savory AppetizerMy Profile

  9. Hi there – I want to make these for my husband but as he’s on the heart transplant list he cannot have any sodium (restricted to 500 mgs a day!! EEK!!). Is there another way to get the water out of the zucchini without salting them?? I was thinking of literally just squeezing them in a clean kitchen towel – would that be enough to be successful with this recipe? Thank you very much!! Cheryl
    Cheryl recently posted…Happy Vadiversary Jim!!My Profile

    • The Scrumptious Pumpkin says:

      I actually have only used the salt method. However, I’ve read that partially boiling the zucchini also works. This would involve grating the zucchini, then boiling for just a few minutes. Then draining and allowing it to cool enough to handle, then transferring to a kitchen towel (as you mentioned) and squeezing all the excess water out. I haven’t tried this method, but I believe it would work well enough – - best of luck to you!! :)

  10. These look like an awesome way to introduce quinoa to my meet and potatoes :)

  11. I made these tonight for my hubby and 11-month old. Everyone loved them, the baby in particular! However, the patties didn’t hold together very well for me. What could be the problem? Did I not get the zucchini dry enough?

    • The Scrumptious Pumpkin says:

      Yes, too much water could be the problem – try really thoroughly mixing the salt in with the zucchini and leaving it in the mesh strainer a bit longer – - then really squeeze it as dry as possible. Other possibilities – don’t leave the egg out of the recipe – this is the binding ingredient that holds everything together. Also, if they’re falling apart while cooking: after you put the fritters in the pan, just leave them be for a few minutes without moving them or flipping them at all. Wait until you see them turning golden around the edges before you try to flip – flipping too soon will cause them to break apart. Hope this helps :)

    • I had this same issue and found that adding a 2nd egg really helped bind the mixture together. My 13month old loved them and couldn’t stop shoveling bites into her mouth. I also squeezed the excess water out of the zucchini through a cheese cloth which might help. THANKS to Jen for a great recipe my baby likes!

      • The Scrumptious Pumpkin says:

        Helping a little one learn to love fresh veggies is a big win in my mind! Thanks for sharing your great tips :)

  12. I was googling recipes for quinoa and zucchini and found your site~these fritters will be the perfect side dish for our dinner tonight, thanks so much!
    Jenna recently posted…Gifts from the Kitchen, Personalized Wrapping!My Profile

  13. I have an idea: why not put the zuchinnis through the juicer and use the left over pulp for the patties, and the juice to cook the quinoa? NO waiting time– it literally takes seconds.

  14. Margaret says:

    The flavours in these fritters were beautiful. I followed everything to the recipe but found they completely crumbled when frying. They just didn’t hold together very well at all. One reader says she added two eggs, so might give that a try.

    • The Scrumptious Pumpkin says:

      There are a few things that seem to be the most common problems:

      Making the Mixture
      -Make sure all of the water is removed from the zucchini. A watery fritter mixture will not hold together.
      -Also make sure the cooked quinoa isn’t watery at all. If too much water is used to cook the quinoa, there will still be some left in the pan after the quinoa is cooked – there shouldn’t be a drop of water left after cooking.

      During Cooking
      -Make sure the oil heats up in the pan first. You’ll know it’s hot if you put a drop of water in the pan and it sizzles.
      -Once the fritters are placed in the pan, don’t touch them or press down on them or move them, etc. at all. A golden crust will form if the fritters aren’t touched, and this is what will hold the fritters together when they’re flipped with a spatula (when you see the bottom edges begin to turn light brown, that’s when it’s time to flip).

      Fritters are tricky – I hope this helps! :)

  15. Just made these tonight & they were fantastic! Thanks for posting the recipe!

  16. Todd Olson says:

    These sound awesome!…
    I want to make these and use the (nutritious) zucchini liquid to cook the quinoa!
    Yum! :^)


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