Cheesy Potato Fritters with Zucchini
For the most part, I’m not a super fan of dining alone. Although I find the concept of confidently ordering a solo steak and glass of wine at a fancy restaurant attractive in theory, in execution, I’d rather spend a quiet night at home on the couch with my pup (the glass of wine can stay). One meal stands out in my memory as an important exception. Except I didn’t order steak. I ordered potato fritters.
The restaurant was in downtown Portland, Oregon. I had an important deadline to meet, and the idea of staying alone in my hotel room felt utterly depressing, so I took my laptop as my date to a neighborhood diner recommended by the hotel concierge. The diner’s bar counter lined an open kitchen, and since that seemed somewhat social, I snagged a seat at the end of it. Apparently I have a need for human connection, even when eating alone with a computer.
I placed my order directly with the fry cook, who promptly ignored it. I don’t remember what I originally requested—probably something sensibly grilled with a side of vegetables—but he looked me dead in the eye and said with a gripping confidence I still remember to this day, “You don’t want that. You want the potato fritters.”
I didn’t actually like potato fritters. I ordered them anyway. THAT is the kind of self-assurance this man exuded.
He was right.
Not only did I gobble every last morsel of my potato fritters, I ordered a side of them to go. In another situation, the level to which I was freaking out over a potato fritter might have been embarrassing, but I didn’t need to be embarrassed. I was dining alone, remember? The situation had some real perks.
Since flying back to Portland to eat potato fritters isn’t feasible at the moment, I elected to do the next best thing: make them myself at home.
Although the meals I enjoy in restaurants often inspire my cooking, when I’m in my own kitchen, I generally like keeping things healthy. I feel better when I do, and our diets improve overall.
Today’s recipe for Zucchini Potato Fritters is no exception. Like the diner potato fritters, they are delightfully crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and just the right amount of salty to be totally addicting. Unlike the diner potato fritters, they have extra servings of veggies and are cooked on the stovetop instead of in a deep fryer.
Although the potato flavor is primarily what you will taste when you take a bite of these crispy cakes, the most major ingredient is the zucchini. Its mild flavor is almost imperceptible, making this zucchini potato fritter recipe ideal for picky eaters.
It’s also a great way to use up extra zucchini you may have on hand (this Roasted Zucchini is another of my favorite zucchini sides too!).
To keep the recipe prep quick and easy, I grated the zucchini and potato in my food processor, but a regular box- or plane-style grater works beautifully too.
Although my version of zucchini potato fritters is healthy overall, since part of a potato fritter’s appeal is its indulgence, I wanted to make the recipe a little extra decadent. A generous handful of sharp cheddar cheese did the trick. I love the way the cheese gets golden and crispy on the outside but stays nice and gooey on the inside.
As with many of my recipes, I picked up the ingredients for these zucchini potato fritters at Pick ‘n Save, the local Wisconsin grocery store right down my street. Pick ‘n Save is a major buyer of Wisconsin produce, and I love knowing that I’m supporting my state when I shop.
If the concept of eating your veggies in crispy, cheesy fritter form isn’t enough to entice you to try this zucchini potato fritter recipe, I have one more: St. Patrick’s Day! Potatoes are a staple of Irish cuisine, and the green color from the zucchini is oh-so-festive. Serve them for breakfast with a big dollop of Greek yogurt or applesauce, turn them into a vegetarian dinner by adding a fried egg, or enjoy them as a simple side. These zucchini potato fritters also reheat well, so you can make a big batch at the beginning of the week, then gently recrisp them on the stove just before serving.
Tools I used to make this recipe:
- Seriously nonstick pans
- Fish spatula (perfect for so much more than fish!)
- Food processor fitted with the grater attachment (the attachment comes with the processor)
Cheesy Potato Fritters with Zucchini
- 3 cups shredded zucchini — about 13 ounces or 2 medium
- 2 cups shredded Yukon gold potatoes — about 12 ounces or 2 small/medium, scrubbed and peeled
- 1/2 medium yellow onion — shredded
- 3 large eggs — lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour — or substitute all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt — plus additional to season
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil — for frying
- Plain nonfat Greek Yogurt — for serving
- Chopped fresh chives — for serving
- If you'd like to keep the fritters warm between batches, preheat your oven to 200 degrees F. Spread the shredded zucchini, potatoes, and onion onto a clean kitchen towel and press out as much moisture as possible, changing the towel once or twice as needed.
- Place the shredded vegetables in a large bowl, then add the eggs, breadcrumbs, flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and baking soda. Mix until completely combined, using your fingers if needed to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed. Fold in the shredded cheese.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Scoop a scant 1/4-cup portion of the fritter batter onto the frying pan and flatten into an even layer, using either the back of the measuring spoon or the bottom of a drinking glass. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until golden on the first side, then flip and continue cooking until the second side is golden as well. Depending upon your skillet, you may need to adjust the heat as you go to ensure the pancakes cook all the way through but still get crisp on the outside. Repeat with the remaining pancakes, keeping batches warm in the oven as desired. If excess liquid collects in the bottom of the bowl, discard it. Serve warm, topped with Greek yogurt and fresh chives.
- Be sure to measure the shredded zucchini and potatoes. If you use a different amount than called for in the recipe, the fritters may not hold together.
- I have not tried this recipe gluten free, but I believe you could swap oat flour for the whole wheat flour and gluten free bread crumbs, plus a pinch of extra salt and pepper for the seasoned breadcrumbs.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat gently on the stovetop with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 (of 14), without toppings) — Calories: 94, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 44mg, Sodium: 278mg, Carbohydrates: 11g, Fiber: 1g, Protein: 5g
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