These crunchy vegan gluten-free zucchini fritters are everything you need to keep you fed for dinner, as a mid-day snack or as a complement to any larger main course.
The thing I love most about these zucchini fritters is that instead of using traditional wheat flour to bind, you use chickpea or almond flour.
I prefer to use chickpea (garbanzo) flour because I think it brings a lot of depth of flavor to the fritters that you wouldn’t otherwise get with almond flour. It also binds a little better than almond flour.
How Do You Keep Fritters Crispy?
You’re probably wondering how to keep a fritter crispy – especially if it’s gluten-free.
The trick is in the zucchini. A lot of times, people don’t drain enough water from the zucchini to keep the recipe light and crispy. You need to make sure that you squeeze out all of the water out of the zucchini.
Zucchini has a tendency to “sweat” or excrete a lot of moisture after you let it sit after cutting or grating. So you need to make sure that you drain all of the water out of the zucchini by pulling it out with a little bit of salt before using it in the recipe.
You can either use your hands to do this, or squeeze out the liquid in a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Alternatively, you can use a paper towel to soak up all the extra liquid.
It is also important to use a little bit of fat, like coconut or avocado oil, in the recipe so that it crisps up the way you want it to.
Health Benefits of Zucchini
Zucchini is a great vegetable to include in your diet. It is not only loaded with fiber, but it contains some important vitamins and minerals our body needs to properly function.
Zucchini is rich in vitamins A, C, K, and B6. It is also a great source of manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, and copper.
Let’s take a look at what other benefits zucchini has to offer:
1. High in Antioxidants
Zucchini is a great source of antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene.
These antioxidants scavenge free radicals in the body that normally contribute to oxidative stress and damage to internal cells and organs.
They help to prevent against disease and illness, and offer some protection against certain types of cancer.
Most of the antioxidants are concentrated in the skin, so make sure you keep the skin on the zucchini instead of peeling it off.
2. Improves Digestion
Zucchini contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut, which in turn produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that nourish the cells of your gut.
SCFAs also help reduce inflammation and certain disorders of the gut like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Insoluble fiber is needed to help food move through your gut and add bulk to your stool. This will help reduce constipation and other digestive complaints.
3. Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
Zucchini’s fiber can help stabilize blood sugar and prevent levels from spiking after meals. It can also increase insulin sensitivity, which can stabilize blood sugar as well.
Certain animal studies have also found that extract from zucchini peel can help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels (which may be due to the antioxidants present in the skin).
4. Improves Heart Health
Another benefit of all the fiber in zucchini is better heart health.
Studies have found that individuals who consume a high-fiber diet have a lower risk of developing heart disease.
It is also known that soluble fiber, particularly pectin, is useful for reducing total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
Diets rich in antioxidants like carotenoids – found in particularly high levels in zucchini – also help protect against heart disease.
Another benefit of zucchini is that it contains relatively high levels of potassium, which can help reduce high blood pressure. This beneficial effect can help lower one’s risk of heart disease and stroke.
5. May Reduce Cancer Risk
The antioxidants in zucchini may also help kill or slow the growth of certain cancer cells, according to some animal studies.
While research on humans is still needed, preliminary studies suggest a beneficial cancer-preventative effect.
Crunchy Vegan Gluten-Free Zucchini Fritters
- 4 cups zucchini, grated
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 cup chickpea or almond flour
- 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil or avocado oil
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- Sprinkle grated zucchini with salt and let sit to "sweat" for 5 minutes.
- Using your hands, squeeze out any excess liquid from the zucchini and pour out of the bowl. Keep doing so until there is very little water left and the zucchini starts to feel dry.
- Add chickpea or almond flour, nutritional yeast, coconut or avocado oil, baking powder, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and oregano.
- Stir well until everything is combined.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and lightly grease with coconut or avocado oil.
- Scoop about 1/4 cups worth of batter and place in pan. Flatten slightly. You should be able to fit about 4-5 in a pan.
- Cook until they start to brown along the edges, about 3-4 minutes. Flip, and cook until golden. Set aside.
- Repeat with the remaining batter.
- While the patties cook, you can prepare the avocado dill dip by mashing the avocado with the dill and onion powder.
- Shape the batter into patties (about 1/4 cups worth for each patty)
- Bake at 400 F/ 205 C for about 10-12 minutes on each side.
- Serve with avocado dill dip.