Light, crispy, and packed with nutritious zucchini, these Greek Zucchini Fritters are the perfect summer dish!
I remember having zucchini fritters many years ago when my husband and I honeymooned on the Greek island of Santorini. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with plenty of fresh herbs and salty feta cheese, the delicious morsels were a revelation! And of course, the fact that we were dining in paradise with the beautiful blue ocean as our backdrop made them all the more memorable.
The fritters were served with tzatziki on the side. The cool, creamy Greek yogurt sauce made with cucumber, garlic and lemon juice was the perfect counterpart to the hot fritters. Traditional Greek zucchini fritters are called Kolokithokeftedes, and are usually deep-fried. I wanted to make my version a little healthier so I made a few changes to put my own spin on the dish.
These delightful fritters are a great way to use fresh zucchini and herbs, which are both abundant at the market this time of year. The humble zucchini is really the star of this dish and is accented by the bright, fresh flavor of herbs like dill and parsley. Zucchini is plentiful in the spring and summer, inexpensive, and nutritious. It is comprised mostly of water so it’s very low in calories- one medium zucchini has only 31 calories. Zucchini has several important vitamins and minerals, most of which are in the skin so be sure to keep the skin on when you eat it. It’s rich in Vitamin A, B-complex Vitamins, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. It’s also a very good source of dietary fiber and important minerals like potassium and manganese. When purchasing zucchini, choose ones that are firm and heavy with a bright, glossy skin.Light, crispy, and packed with nutritious zucchini, these Greek Zucchini Fritters are the perfect summer dish!Click To Tweet
To bind the zucchini fritters, I use one egg plus an egg white. To add some whole grains to the dish, I stir in white whole wheat flour and a small amount of whole wheat breadcrumbs. You actually don’t want to use too much filler- the zucchini is really the star here and you want to let it shine. It’s really important to squeeze out as much water from the zucchini as possible before making the batter otherwise you will have to add more flour and breadcrumbs and your fritters will be become heavy and dense. To ensure a light and fluffy texture, I also stir in a small amount of baking powder.
For lots of fresh flavor, I stir feta cheese, scallions, fresh dill, and parsley into the mix. The feta adds a nice salty bite and when you cook the fritters, the cheese starts to melt slightly- it’s pure deliciousness!
To cut out a good amount of fat, I fry my fritters in a cast iron skillet with just a small amount of heart healthy olive oil. If you use a cast iron or nonstick pan, you can use just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and prevent the fritters from sticking. If you want to cut even more fat, you can bake the fritters on a sheet pan with cooking spray but it won’t give you quite the same golden crust.
Serve these delicious zucchini fritters hot from the skillet with a dollop of cool tzatziki. They’re perfect for casual summer dining and work well as an appetizer or even a light dinner served with a fresh Greek salad. I may not be able to go back to Santorini any time soon but when I sit down to eat these fritters, it definitely brings back some great memories.
- 2 lbs. zucchini (about 4 medium)
- Kosher salt
- 4 scallions, sliced (about ¾ cup)
- 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg white
- ⅔ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup white whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
- Black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Lemon wedges for serving
- ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup finely chopped or grated cucumber
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped dill
- To make the Tzatziki, mix the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon juice and dill together in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To make the fritters, grate the zucchini (with skin on) on a box grater. Grate the zucchini at an angle to get long strands.
- Place the grated zucchini in a colander lined with cheesecloth. If you don’t have cheesecloth, you can place the zucchini directly in the colander. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons salt on the zucchini and toss to combine.
- Let the zucchini rest for 20 minutes, then gather up the ends of the cheesecloth and wring all of the liquid out. If you’re not using cheesecloth, you can squeeze the water out of the zucchini with your hands in batches or use a kitchen towel. It is important to squeeze out as much water as possible so that the fritters aren’t soggy- you’ll be amazed at how much water comes out!
- Place the zucchini in a large mixing bowl and add the scallions, dill, parsley, egg, and egg white. Mix with a fork to combine.
- Add the cheese, flour, baking powder, breadcrumbs, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mix with a fork to combine all ingredients well.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Place 8 dollops (about 2 tablespoons each) of the zucchini mixture into the pan and flatten them slightly with a spatula. The more you flatten them, the crispier the fritters will be.
- Cook 3-4 minutes until a golden brown crust forms, then flip them over. Cook another 2-3 minutes until browned underneath again.
- Remove the fritters from the pan. Pour the remaining tablespoon oil into the skillet and repeat the process with the remaining batter.
- Serve fritters hot and garnish with fresh herbs and lemon wedges. Serve with Tzatziki or plain Greek yogurt.