Do you ever have a food idea in your head that you simply must try out? Granted, this may happen to me a bit more than the average person as I’m always dreaming up and thinking of new recipes to try to keep Girl Eats Greens fresh and up-to-date, but I also think it comes in waves. There will be days or weeks or even months I’m super inspired to whip up all sorts of culinary creations and then there will be days or weeks (thank goodness not any months – yet!) where I’ll want nothing at all to do with the kitchen and don’t seem to have a single creative bone in my body. Luckily for me, this blog, (and you!), I’m in one of those dream up anything and everything and eat eat eat moods.
The latest thought I had in my head was for fritters. Why? Well I have absolutely no idea. But after hanging around the farmers’ market the past few weekends and seeing all the delicious zucchini that’s in season I started with the inspiration there. And then the idea for something kind of spicy but not too hot came into my brain… and then I landed on curry. What could I possibly do with zucchinis and curry? At that point in my daydreaming I thought carrots and curry go well together. And so do zucchini and carrots. And then – fritters!
I’ve never actually made fritters before and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had planned on making them for R, my ultimate taste tester (who is also nice enough to eat pretty much anything I come up with, even if it didn’t turn out right). But after R was stuck at work late last Saturday, I had in impromptu mini dinner party with two of my dearest meat-eating, cheese-loving friends. The stakes were suddenly much higher for these fritters.
I actually have never cooked for these girls before – they’re members of my dinner club so the majority of our food consumption happens out at restaurants. And frankly, I wasn’t sure I could convince them to eat a vegan meal, let alone one where the invite text message said “let me try out a new recipe on you.” New recipe? Meaning there’s definitely a high rate of failure involved…these girls are adventurous!
Luckily, the fritters turned out wonderfully and we were all pleasantly surprised. The ginger coconut sauce was a great addition to add a bit more depth and flavor to the dish (as was the spicy peanut sauce I served with the spring rolls that made these a complete meal!). The fritters themselves are really hearty enough to be a full meal if you so choose – as leftovers they were for me. They’d also be good over a salad with some additional cilantro and lime and of course the sauce for dressing.
One of the best parts of these fritters is that they’re totally vegan (of course) but also gluten-free. One of my friends has a gluten intolerance and I wanted to be sure to accommodate her as well, so instead of using my standard store-bought egg replacer, I made my first ever flax egg! Yes, flax egg. If you’re not an egg eater, you simply must try flax egg as a replacer in baking or cooking. It was so so simple to do, and probably much better for you than the replacer I have been using in the past. Simply mix 2 tablespoons of ground flax with 4 tablespoons of warm water, chill in the fridge for a bit, and bam! eggs.
In addition to being gluten-free, these fritters are just chock-full of veggies. Cups and cups and cups of carrots (literally – 5!) and 4 cups of zucchini and a cup of cilantro, there’s some serious veggies happening here. I decided to salt the zucchinis before assembling everything, I was worried they would be too mushy with all the water that’s always in zucchini. I think that really helped to keep a bit of texture and also bind the fritters together. To salt, I just used the food processor, processed it all up, tossed it in a strainer and salted the zucchini. I gave it a few shakes in the strainer and then left it in the sink while I went to shower. (Multitasking is clearly a strong suit of mine).
Now, I must caution, if you don’t have a food processor, this recipe is going to be a lot more work. I got all the carrots and zucchini pieces pretty small to help everything stick together. I’m not saying it’s impossible to do it without one, you just might want to consider one of those giant graters to get the job done for your. With a food processor, it took no time at all to get everything in the shape I wanted. And it saves my eyes from near death while dealing with the onion. Double bonus.
To keep everything even healthier, I chose to bake the fritters instead of frying. I made two batches and definitely got a better, crispier result the second time around. Practice does make near-perfect, see?
All in all, this was a super easy meal to throw together and honestly, you could use any number of vegetables lying around. Spinach would be a great addition, and you could always futz with the ratio of carrots to zucchini. I feel like this is one of those recipes I’ll be playing around with and adding to as time goes on. Plus, it stayed really well. I managed to get two packed lunches out of the fritters after serving them for dinner. What’s not to love? If you’re out at the farmer’s market this weekend and there’s zucchini staring at you – definitely get inspired! (and of course, try out some fritters) 🙂
Curried Carrot & Zucchini Fritters with Ginger Coconut Sauce
What You’ll Need:
- 5 cups of carrots (about 4 large carrots)
- 4 cups zucchini (about 2 large zucchini)
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax seeds, 4 tablespoons warm water, mixed & chilled in fridge)
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 4 small cloves garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon agave
- juice from 1/4 lime
- 3/4 teaspoon ginger powder
What You’ll Do:
- Start by running the zucchini through the food processor until the bits are quite small but still retain some texture and aren’t mushed up.
- Place zucchini into a strainer, add salt, and let sit 10-15 minutes.
- Make your flax egg by mixing the flax with warm water in a small bowl or ramekin. Place in the fridge to cool for 10-15 minutes.
- In the meantime, run the carrots, onion, cilantro, and garlic through the food processor as well and then place into a big mixing bowl.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add the zucchini to the carrots and other veggies and then top with the chili powder, cumin, coriander, and curry powder. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to get the spices evenly distributed between the veggies.
- Remove the flax egg from the fridge and add it to the mixture as well as the lemon juice. Stir well.
- Next, add the flour in 1/4 cup increments until the batter starts to take on a more sticky consistency. If your zucchinis weren’t salted you may need more flour, or if your lemon was juicier than mine, you might need less. The batter won’t stick together like a meatball, it will be much more loose but still feel a bit sticky.
- Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and use a spray oil on the parchment paper as well. (these things like to stick!)
- Using a spoon, mold the fritters into circles on the parchment paper. You can also use your hands, but that’s a pretty messy ordeal.
- Place in the oven for 25 minutes, flip, and then bake for another 15-20 minutes, monitoring closely in the last few minutes. If you want even more crisp to the fritter, you could also broil the last minute or so.
- While the fritters are baking, mix the coconut milk, agave, lime juice, corn starch, and ginger. The longer it sits, the more it will thicken and become like a mousse rather than a sauce. – I found this out after having leftovers for a couple days.
- Serve the fritters topped with ginger coconut sauce and a touch of cilantro for garnish. Enjoy!