I'm always looking for fun, creative ways to incorporate more veggies into my daily meals. And, zucchini squash just happens to be one of my favorites. Since zucchini cakes are usually made with flour as the binding agent, I wanted to boost up the nutritional density by adding quinoa (a complete protein in a lusciously-small grain package). Originally I made this combo as a base for my grilled salmon (with a lemon-basil cream sauce, YUM!). Yet, I get these babies off of the pan and I can hardly wait to make them part of the meal. Usually one or two gets downed immediately.
So, whether you want to make these as a snack to ingest pronto, or use them as part of a larger meal, you satisfy your palate and your stomach with these tasty treats.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 12-15 minutes
For the fritters:
- 2 large zucchini, or 4 small, grated
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked
- 1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup spelt flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup canola or coconut oil, for cooking
For the sauce:
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves, about 10-12
- 2-3 cups hot water,
Place cashews and 1 cup of hot water in a blender. Let soak for 5-10 minutes. (You can often prep other things while this is happening). Then, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil to the blender. Process until smooth. Add more hot water as you need to in order to find a consistency that suits your needs. For example, I like this sauce a little thicker if I am just eating these fritters alone. However, this is also the sauce I used when placing grilled salmon over the cakes, and I made the sauce much thinner for this purpose. Set aside while making the cakes. If you want to keep this warm, you can place in on low in a pan until ready to serve.
Next, put the grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze well to remove the excess water. (you can also put the zucchini in a colander, with about a tsp of sea salt, and let sit for about 15 minutes. Then, you can squeeze out the excess water by hand. Although this does not necessarily get as much water out as the first method.
In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, zucchini, flour, chives, garlic, salt and pepper. Make sure this mixture is seasoned to your liking. Then add the egg. Mix thoroughly to combine.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Using 1/4 cup measure drop, place 6-8 portions of the mixture into the skillet. Fry on both sides until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
Remove from the pan and drain on a paper-towel lined plate or pan. Serve warm with the dipping sauce, or place beneath a luscious piece of fish. Cheers!