Zucchini-Lentil Fritters

Zucchini-Lentil Fritters Recipe

There’s something uniquely satisfying about the crunch of a perfectly fried fritter, especially when it’s packed with nutritious ingredients like zucchini and red lentils. These Zucchini-Lentil Fritters hold a special place in my heart, not just because they’re delicious, but because they remind me of a summer trip to a quaint village in Northern California. My family and I stumbled upon a small farmers’ market brimming with fresh, local produce. It was there that I first tasted these incredible fritters, prepared by a friendly local vendor who generously shared her recipe secrets with me.

Back home, I couldn’t wait to recreate those fritters. After a few tweaks and experiments in my kitchen, I found the perfect balance of flavors and textures. The combination of zucchini, which adds a tender crunch, and red lentils, which give a hearty base, makes these fritters a wonderful addition to any meal. The lemony yogurt sauce, with its tangy and slightly sweet notes, complements the fritters beautifully, making each bite a delightful experience.

What I love most about this recipe is its versatility. Whether you’re serving them as a light snack, a side dish, or even a main course, these fritters are always a hit. Plus, they’re a fantastic way to use up that extra zucchini from your garden or farmers’ market haul. I’ve found that adding a bit of Kashmiri chile powder gives the fritters a nice kick, but feel free to adjust the spices to your liking. These fritters are perfect for sharing with friends and family, especially on a lazy weekend afternoon.

Dive into the recipe below and let these Zucchini-Lentil Fritters bring a touch of summer and a lot of joy to your table. Trust me, once you try them, you’ll be hooked!

How to Make Zucchini-Lentil Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
  • 1 medium zucchini (about 5 oz.)
  • ½ medium onion, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more
  • ½ teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup ghee or neutral vegetable oil

Directions:

Whisk yogurt, lemon juice, and sugar in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt, whisk again, and set aside. This can be prepared a day in advance and chilled.

Rinse lentils and soak in 2 cups of water at room temperature for at least 1 hour, up to 12 hours.

Trim zucchini ends and cut into 3 pieces, each about 2 inches long. Slice into ¼-inch planks, then cut into ¼-inch matchsticks. Place zucchini in a colander over a bowl. Add sliced onion and 1 teaspoon salt, toss, and let sit until vegetables release liquid and wilt, 30 minutes to 2 hours. Pat dry with paper towels.

Drain lentils and transfer to a food processor. Add chile powder, turmeric, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Pulse into a purée, scraping down sides as needed. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the zucchini-onion mixture, parsley, and lemon zest. Toss to combine.

Heat ghee in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Drop ¼ cup of batter into hot ghee, flattening with the back of a large metal spoon dipped in ghee. Repeat to make 4 fritters. Fry until deep golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip and fry until the other side is golden brown, about 3 more minutes. Transfer to a wire rack over a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Season with salt immediately. Repeat with remaining batter to make 8-10 fritters.

Serve hot with lemony yogurt on the side.

FAQs:

How do you prevent zucchini-lentil fritters from becoming too soggy?

To prevent zucchini-lentil fritters from becoming too soggy, it is crucial to drain the vegetables properly. After tossing the zucchini and onion with salt, let them sit until they release about a tablespoon of liquid and appear wilted, which usually takes between 30 minutes to 2 hours. Pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture before mixing them with the lentil purée. Additionally, ensure your batter isn’t too wet before frying.

Can I use green lentils instead of red lentils for this recipe?

While you can use green lentils instead of red lentils, be aware that the texture and cooking time may vary. Red lentils cook faster and blend into a smoother purée, making them ideal for fritters. If you choose to use green lentils, soak them for the recommended time and cook them until they are very soft before blending. This adjustment may affect the overall texture of the fritters.

What can I substitute for ghee in this recipe?

If you don’t have ghee on hand, you can substitute it with a neutral vegetable oil. Ghee imparts a rich, buttery flavor, but a high smoke point oil such as canola, sunflower, or grapeseed oil works well for frying. Ensure the oil is hot enough before adding the batter to achieve a crispy exterior on the fritters.

How can I make these fritters gluten-free?

This zucchini-lentil fritter recipe is naturally gluten-free as it does not include any wheat or gluten-containing ingredients. Just ensure that all your ingredients, such as spices and yogurt, are certified gluten-free if you have severe gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Always check product labels to be certain.

Can I make the batter ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the batter ahead of time. Mix the lentil purée with the zucchini-onion mixture, parsley, and lemon zest. Store the batter in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When ready to fry, give the batter a good stir and proceed with frying as directed. This can help save time when you are ready to cook.

Zucchini-Lentil Fritters Recipe

Zucchini-Lentil Fritters

Enjoy a taste of summer with these crispy and flavorful Zucchini-Lentil Fritters, paired perfectly with a tangy lemony yogurt sauce. Easy to make and utterly delicious!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
...

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup red lentils masoor dal
  • 1 medium zucchini about 5 oz.
  • ½ medium onion thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • teaspoons kosher salt divided, plus more
  • ½ teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup ghee or neutral vegetable oil

Instructions
 

  • Whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, and sugar in a small bowl. Season with a pinch of salt, whisk again, and set aside. This can be made a day ahead and chilled.
  • Rinse the lentils and soak them in 2 cups of water at room temperature for at least 1 hour, up to 12 hours. The longer soak makes them plump and tender for easy blending.
  • Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut into 3 pieces about 2 inches long. Slice each piece into ¼-inch planks, then cut lengthwise into ¼-inch matchsticks. Place zucchini in a colander set over a bowl. Add sliced onion and 1 teaspoon salt, toss to combine, and let sit until the vegetables release about 1 tablespoon of liquid and look wilted, 30 minutes to 2 hours. Pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  • Drain the lentils and transfer them to a food processor. Add chile powder, turmeric, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Pulse until a purée forms, scraping down sides as needed. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the zucchini-onion mixture, parsley, and lemon zest. Toss well to combine.
  • Heat ghee in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Drop ¼ cup of batter into the hot ghee, flattening with the back of a large metal spoon dipped in ghee to prevent sticking. Repeat to make 4 fritters. Fry until deep golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip and fry until the other side is golden brown, about 3 more minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set over a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Season with salt immediately. Repeat with remaining batter to make 8-10 fritters.
  • Serve fritters hot with lemony yogurt on the side.
Keyword zucchini
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