Quinoa Zucchini Fritters are made with zucchini, carrots, cooked quinoa, eggs, panko, and seasonings. They resemble a vegetarian crab cake, hence the name ‘poor man’s crab cakes’. This zucchini fritter recipe is easy, fun, and packed with nutrition!
Quinoa Zucchini Fritters
When I first created this recipe, a vegetarian crab cake never crossed my mind.
I was trying to use our abundance of garden zucchini, along with carrots and quinoa in a crispy, healthy fritter.
After making these several times, and falling in love over and over, they SO remind me of crab cakes, only without the crab. So, I nicknamed them Poor Man’s Crab Cakes.
But mostly I call them Zucchini Fritters because they are just that.
Zucchini Fritter recipe tips
Tip #1. Cook the quinoa in advance
Save time by cooking quinoa the day before and refrigerate it overnight, if possible. It’s not a deal-breaker if you don’t, but I love the texture of quinoa after it’s chilled overnight.
Quinoa cooking tip: salt the water when cooking quinoa. 1/4 tsp Kosher salt to 1 cup of dry quinoa.
If you have an Instant Pot, use it to cook the quinoa so it always comes out perfect. (not a sponsored post, I just love my IP)
Tip #2. Tightly pack the filling when scooping it to form patties
When you portion the zucchini fritter filling, be sure tightly pack the portion scoop, and I mean tight!
Stuff as much filling as you can into the scoop, and then level it off.
Trust me, this will help the filling stay together when you go to smash it down with your fingers.
Tip #3. Go easy on the oil, yo!
When it comes to pan-frying these fritters, you don’t need a crazy amount of oil. Use just enough oil to coat the skillet surface, and that’s it!
Trust me, a little oil goes a long way and the final results will totally satisfy your fried food cravings.
FYI…you also don’t need a nonstick skillet. Stainless works great!
How to make zucchini fritters:
Step 1. Shred the zucchini and carrots; remove the excess moisture by sprinkling salt over the surface, tossing the shreds around, allowing it to sit for 10 minutes.
Step 2. Wrap the zucchini and carrots in a cloth or paper towel; wring tightly to remove excess water.
Step 3. Combine the shredded vegetables with remaining ingredients and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Step 4. Scoop the filling in 2oz portions onto parchment lined surface and press each fritter into 1/4″ patties.
Step 5. Heat a skillet and the oil to medium-high, place fritters in the pan (don’t crowd the pan) and lightly fry each side until cooked through (about 3 minutes on each side). Transfer zucchini fritters to a plate lined with a paper towel. Serve warm.
* See recipe below for detailed instructions
I love to eat these plain and a little warm, pretty much right out of the skillet.
I love to whip up a zesty, lemon aioli with lemon juice, Greek yogurt, and a little mayo.
Oh man, quinoa zucchini fritters don’t stand a chance around me!
How to serve Zucchini Fritters:
– as an appetizer with lemon aioli as your dipping sauce
– as a quick snack any time of day (eat the fritters warm or cold)
– packed in your lunchbox for work
– use them in place of meat on sliders
– stuff them into burritos or pita bread
Zucchini Fritters Recipe Ingredients
- kosher salt
- cooked quinoa
- fresh chives (or green onion)
- Old Bay Seasoning or paprika
- black pepper
- Panko bread crumbs (gluten-free option)
Kitchen tools I use for this recipe:
- Food processor or box grater (for zucchini and carrots)
- medium-sized mixing bowl (for mixing)
- flour sack towel or paper towels (absorb moisture)
- 2 oz portion scoop (to measure filling)
- baking sheet (to press fritters before frying)
- nonstick skillet (to fry fritters)
- sandwich/pancake turner (to handle the fritters)
- paper towels (to absorb frying oil)
Check out these other healthy recipes!
These recipes come together easily and bring a ton of nutrition into your lunch or dinner!
Quinoa Zucchini Fritters
Prep zucchini and carrots
- Shred ZUCCHINI and CARROTS; sprinkle with a few pinches of KOSHER SALT; set aside 10-15 minutes; wrap in a cloth or paper towel; wring tightly to remove excess water.
Prep zucchini fritter filling
- In a mixing bowl, add ZUCCHINI and CARROTS, QUINOA, EGGS, CHIVES, OLD BAY or PAPRIKA, and BLACK PEPPER; gently toss to combine; fold in PANKO BREAD CRUMBS; allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Using a portion scoop, tightly pack filling into portion scoop; release each portion onto a baking sheet; using wax paper, gently press into uniform patties; (optional: cover and refrigerate up to a few hours until ready to fry)
Cook zucchini fritters
- Heat nonstick skillet on medium-high; add just enough AVOCADO OIL to cover surface; allow oil to get GOOD AND HOT (it’s ready when you see tiny wisps of smoke rise from the oil).
- Gently place enough fritters with a few inches between each one (don't crowd the pan); fry each side until golden brown (about 3 minutes each); transfer to a paper towel on a plate to cool.
- Repeat in small batches as needed, removing any cooked filling pieces and adding more oil between batches.
- Serve fritters warm or cool with your favorite dunking sauce (I personally love a lemon aioli...yum!)
- Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days.