These vegetarian zucchini and lentil fritters are a perfect snack or lunch and a great way to add protein into a vegetarian diet. This lentil fritter recipe also includes gluten-free fritter modification.
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Vegetarian | Gluten-Free Modification | Makes 15-20 Fritters
Tools For This Recipe
- Garlic Press: I like to use a garlic press too so that there aren’t big chunks of garlic in the fritters. Try the Zulay stainless steel garlic press, which is easy to use. There’s no need to even peel the garlic ahead of time.
- Rubber Spatula – Used for scraping the side of the bowl and blending the fritter mixture. I love my Le Creuset Spatula Set, which is strong enough to cook with as well.
- Oxo Nesting Bowl Set – We use this 9 piece OXO set for everything. It’s one of the best tools we’ve bought for our kitchen in the last year. The colanders that come in the set work well in draining and pressing the zucchini.
- 3 Piece Sieve Set – You can also use a wire sieve to press the zucchini.
- Box Grater – This Oxo Box Grater is the best way to grate the zucchini into the attached collector.
What Are Zucchini Fritters
A fritter is normally made with meat or vegetables, which are battered and fried. They can be made with all sorts of ingredients, or even just be made with the batter without extra ingredients.
We get a giant box of organic vegetables delivered a couple of times a month. It’s probably a box large enough for a family of five. So, we’ve started making all sorts of vegetable fritters, including zucchini fritters.
Most fritters use egg and flour to bind the ingredients together before frying. Although there are vegan fritter recipes, you do need some sort of egg alternative to bind the ingredients together. If you are gluten-free, check out our modifications below on how to make these lentil fritters gluten-free.
Check out our other healthy snack recipes:
Why Add Lentils To Zucchini Fritters
We’ve been adding all sorts of lentils and beans to our diet. This includes trying to add lentils and beans to our snacks. This helps add protein to a snack to make it more filling. It can also make a snack more filling, to make it more like a meal than a snack.
I started adding lentils to bind the fritters together and also to add some needed protein to this lentil snack. I usually serve three of these lentil fritters together and they are enough for a lunch serving.
Ingredients For Lentil And Zucchini Fritters
The base for any lentil fritter recipe is, of course, lentils I like to use red lentils because they cook quickly and soften. This makes them the perfect binding agent for red lentil fritters. You can use canned or jarred red lentils to save time. Or, dry red lentils can be cooked in vegetable broth with olive oil and salt.
The zucchini should be grated, using large holes. There is no need to peel the zucchini. The skin is perfectly fine to eat.
Then, the zucchini is blended with eggs, fresh garlic (although garlic powder can be used), ground cumin, ground coriander (or fresh cilantro), salt, and pepper. A bit of baking powder is added to help the fritters rise a bit. Some lemon zest adds acidity and freshness.
In addition to the lentils, the fritters are bound with a combination of bread crumbs and plain flour. Once formed, the lentils are cooked in olive oil in a large frying pan.
How To Make Zucchini And Lentil Fritters
To prepare the lentils, add the olive oil, lentils, and salt into a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat the lentils in the oil and allow them to sweat for 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
If you use canned or jarred lentils, they are already cooked and there is no reason to heat them up. I would recommend draining them, though, to reduce the amount of excess moisture.
Prepare the zucchini while the lentils cook. Grate the zucchini using the large holes of a cheese grater. The small holes will make the zucchini too small for the fritters.
When finished grating, place the zucchini in a sieve and press the zucchini down to get out excess liquid. Allow the zucchini to sit in the sieve while the lentils cook.
When the lentils are ready, start making the fritter mixture. In a large mixing bowl, beat two large eggs. Add the garlic, lemon zest, and all spices and seasoning. Blend well with a fork or rubber spatula. Add the zucchini and blend well with the spatula.
Once fully blended, add the red lentils and breadcrumbs and stir until no bread crumbs remain dry. Add the flour a little at a time until the mixture starts to reduce its moisture.
Frying The Zucchini And Lentil Fritters
In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Scoop the zucchini fritter mixture into the hot olive oil, about a 1/3 cup or large tablespoon at a time.
Cook 3-4 at a time. Don’t crowd the pan to allow room to flip them over. Use a spatula to press them down a bit. Cook 3-5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain the oil.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups of vegetable broth (or water)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (one for the lentils and one for frying the fritters)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander (or fresh cilantro or coriander)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 zucchini, grated (large holes)
- ⅔ cup bread crumbs
- ⅓ cup flour
- To prepare the lentils, add the olive oil, lentils, and salt into a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat the lentils in the oil and allow them to sweat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for 10-15 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Prepare the zucchini while they cook.
- Grate the zucchini. When finished, place in a sieve and press the zucchini down to get out excess liquid. Allow the zucchini to sit while the lentils are cooking.
- When the lentils are done cooking, start the mixture. In a large mixing bowl, beat two large eggs.
- Add the garlic, lemon zest, and all spices and seasoning. Blend well with a fork or rubber spatula.
- Add the zucchini and blend well with the spatula.
- Once fully blended, add the lentils and breadcrumbs and stir until no dry bread crumbs remain.
- Add the flour a little at a time until the mixture starts to reduce its moisture.
- In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Scoop the zucchini fritter mixture into the hot olive oil, about a ¼ cup or large tablespoon at a time. Cook 3-4 at a time.
- Cook 3-5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain the oil.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 961mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 9g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
How To Serve Lentil Fritters
You can serve these with a wide variety of dips, depending on what you have in the house. Both sour cream and greek yogurt work. Each can be seasoned with freshly squeezed lemon, fresh cilantro, diced dill, honey, or even hot sauce. If you are vegan, serve alongside coconut yogurt.
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There are a variety of different types of lentil fritters recipes, depending on the seasoning and spices and types of vegetables you use.
You can season these lentil fritters a lot of different ways. To make them a bit more Indian, sprinkle some yellow curry powder. To make them a bit more southwest, sprinkle some crushed red pepper and ground cumin into the mixture.
To add more vegetables to the mix, reduce the amount of zucchini by one and add fresh spinach, diced small, or even shredded carrots. The spinach works best if cooked ahead of time. Or, use frozen spinach that has been thawed and drained well to reduce the amount of liquid in the fritters.
Gluten-Free Lentil Fritters
For gluten-free lentil fritters, replace the breadcrumbs and flour with chickpea flour. Add a quarter cup at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
Using chickpea flour works well as a substitution but there is a bit of a chickpea flavor. Add a ¼-½ teaspoon more salt to bring out the flavors of the vegetables a bit more to reduce the flavor of the chickpeas.
The chickpea flour also doesn’t bind as well, so make them a bit smaller in the pan so that they are easier to flip over.