There are times when you’re ready for your daily veggies to be in the form of a big, crunchy green salad. And there are times when you need your veggies to be in the form of a golden-brown fritter. No judgment! Anyone who knows me knows I’m in the “both” camp here. I will take my salad with a side of Spaghetti Squash Fritters, thank you very much.
When it comes to a vegetable I’m not that crazy about (sorry, winter squash, I’m looking at you), I am all about giving it the fritter treatment. What does that mean? When I say “veggie fritter,” I’m really just talking about a jumble of veggies and herbs held together by a bit of egg and some sort of flour, then fried in olive oil until golden-brown. So good. Every time.
What I really love about fritters is that making them is more road-map than recipe. They are best when you follow your own instinct and tastes to make them your own. And that, after all, is what really good cooking is all about?
Recently, I found myself looking uninspired into a bowl of cooked spaghetti squash. A quick Instagram Story poll helped remind me the best thing I could possibly make with that squash was fritters. So, off I went. Sure enough, a bunch of chives, a bit of dill, and some creamy feta made that squash sing!
Whether you’re looking for some inspo for your vegetable bin or simply want to use up some leftover cooked veggies, here are my tips for making this fritter recipe your own:
DRY OUT THE VEG
These fritters work best with cooked veggies. If you have leftovers, great. Just pat them dry and you’re ready to go. If you’re starting with raw veggies, cook them till they are JUST soft and let them cool. For grated carrots, sweet potatoes or butternut squash, a quick sauté will do the trick. For small florets of cauliflower or broccoli, just dunk them in some boiling water for a couple of minutes. Be sure to pat/squeeze those cooked veggies dry before proceeding. Wet veggies = soggy fritters = sad face emoji.
USE ALL THE HERBS
Don’t be shy with the herbs. Use any combo of the soft ones: parsley, mint, dill, tarragon, cilantro. Fresh herbs bring just the brightness you want when you’re frying something in olive oil.
SPEAKING OF FRYING….
We are not talking deep-frying here. Fritters are best cooked up in about ¼-inch of oil. This guarantees crispy golden bits. That said, if you’re looking to cut back on your oil intake, you can absolutely sautee these beauties with nothing more than a spray of oil. Just know that they won’t get as golden or crispy. Sorry, folks. I don’t make the food science rules.
LET’S TALK CHEESE
Cheese is entirely optional here. I’ve made many a delicious fritter sans cheese. I personally don’t eat a lot of cow’s milk cheese, so I typically have grated pecorino and some soft sheep’s milk feta on hand. I like the saltiness they bring to this fritter party. But a handful of sharp cheddar or a bit of spicy pepperjack would be lovely, too. Dealer’s choice.
FLOUR FOR FILLER??
You will need something to help bind these fritters. The egg does part of the job, but a bit of flour is necessary, too. I often keep these gluten-free by using a mix of almond flour, coconut flour, quinoa flakes, and/or oat flour. You can absolutely use whole grain flour or AP flour, too. Don’t go out and buy a new flour for these. Use whatever you’ve got on hand.
- 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash
- 3 tablespoons finely snipped chives
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, NOT packed
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ cup quinoa flakes (If you can’t find quinoa flakes, just pulse up some rolled oats in your food processor until they are finely chopped and use those instead….or sub in another kind of flour)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup crumbled sheep’s milk feta, or other grated cheese, optional
- olive oil, for cooking
- 1 cup plain whole greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon salt
- cracked black pepper, for serving
- Place the squash in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze until VERY dry. Do this in batches as needed.
- Place the squeezed squash in a large bowl. Add the chives, dill, lemon zest, eggs, almond flour, quinoa flakes, black pepper and salt. Stir together.
- Gently fold in the cheese.
- Scoop 2-tablespoons of the mixture into your hand and roll into a loose ball. Place on a plate or baking sheet and repeat until all of the mixture is used. (NOTE: This is where a mini ice-cream or candy scoop is very helpful!)
- The balls will be a bit wet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before proceeding.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
- Gently place the scoops of mixture into the pan. Be careful not to over-crowd the pan! More room around each fritter = more chance for golden-brown-deliciousness.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes, until deeply golden.
- Flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from the pan onto a cooling rack. This will ensure they don’t get soggy while you cook the next batch.
- Stir the yogurt with the salt.
- Serve the fritters warm with the yogurt on the side for dipping.