These vegan zucchini fritters are made with red lentils and sweetcorn, crispy on the outside, and incredibly delicious. Healthy and super versatile, they're delicious as a starter or side dish, in sandwiches, and in salads. Easy to make and gluten-free.
It’s no secret that I love getting creative in the kitchen. Sometimes that’s cooking something new all together, sometimes I switch up an old favourite dish. The great thing about fritters is the fact that the possibilities are so broad. Even before my vegan days, I made them all the time, and now I continue to try out different variations of this classic recipe.
You can make them with different vegetables, sprinkle in new spices, add beans and legumes, etc. Just like sandwiches, pasta and oatmeal, fritters are something I could never get bored of.
I shared a chickpea fritter recipe on the blog a while back, but since then, I’ve been making new varieties quite a lot. This one was inspired by the fact that I had a lot of leftover zucchini in my fridge, and needed to use it up somehow. Hence, I came up with these vegan zucchini fritters. So if you're like me and always seem to have leftover zucchini (especially in the summer), this recipe is perfect for you.
The best vegan zucchini fritters
I love these fritters for many different reasons. First and foremost, they’re a great way to eat more vegetables, even if you’re not a fan of zucchini. It adds a lot of texture and structure, but the other ingredients mask the flavour nicely. You can also replace it with grated carrot if that’s what you prefer.
I know you may worry about egg-free fritters falling apart or tasting dry. But do not fear! The addition of buckwheat flour works really well to bind them together, combined with just a splash of water. And these fritters are definitely the furthest thing from dry. The outside is perfectly crispy, while the inside retains just the right amount of softness. Which means, no soggy centre either!
The final product is incredibly delicious, gluten-free, and an amazing way to eat more wholesome plant based ingredients. They’re made from whole food ingredients that are budget-friendly and accessible, as well as great for beginners in the kitchen.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Red lentils. I would not recommend using green lentils, as the texture of red lentils is softer, and will help the fritters stick together better.
- Zucchini. You can also use the same amount of grated carrot.
- Sweetcorn. Use either fresh or tinned sweetcorn.
- Red onion and garlic. These are essential for adding flavour and texture alike.
- Buckwheat flour. You can use any other flour of your choice, such as chickpea flour, or all-purpose flour if not avoiding gluten.
- Nutritional yeast. This is optional, but it does help to add a great cheesy flavour.
- Cumin, paprika and salt to season.
How to make vegan zucchini fritters
Start by grating the zucchini using the large side of the grater and transfer it to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt over the top, mix together thoroughly, and set aside for 10 minutes. The salt will help to drain out the excess liquid from the zucchini, which will ensure crispiness.
Meanwhile, you can cook the red lentils for around 8-10 minutes, until soft but not overly mushy. Drain and rinse them well when done.
Now transfer the zucchini into a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible.
Next, add it to a large mixing bowl with the red lentils, sweetcorn, red onion, garlic, buckwheat flour, nutritional yeast, cumin, paprika and salt. Mix together really well.
Heat some olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Form the fritter shapes using your hands and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, until sufficiently crispy. Alternatively, you can bake them at 200 degrees C/392 F for around 20 minutes and achieve a similar result.
When they're done, transfer to a plate and serve straight away, or save in the fridge for later.
Tips for success
- Adding the salt to the zucchini and then squeezing out the liquid is a pretty essential step, as this will make the fritters very crispy.
- Make sure not to overcook the red lentils, because this can also make the fritters too soggy.
- I would recommend weighing the ingredients for the most accurate results.
- If you are baking the fritters, brush each side with olive oil to make them crispier.
- Don't skip the flour, because this acts as an egg replacement to help the fritters keep their shape.
Yes, as long as you use a gluten-free flour variety.
They are super versatile! You can add vegetables of your choice, such as bell peppers, cabbage, green peas, and so much more - they're great for using up leftover produce. Just make sure to dice the vegetables very finely to make sure they don't fall apart.
I would not recommend it, as the flour acts as a great egg replacement. A flax egg wouldn't work in this recipe, because it will add extra liquid to the batter.
The batter by itself doesn't contain any oil. You can keep them oil-free by using a non-stick frying pan, or baking them.
How to store and freeze fritters
Zucchini fritters are a great option to make ahead of time, and keep very well in the fridge and freezer alike. Therefore, they make a great option for meal prep. Keep them in an airtight container for up to 5 days, reheating either in the toaster, the microwave, or a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil.
To freeze fritters, cook them completely, then transfer to a ziplock bag or a freezer-friendly container for up to 2 months. To reheat, firstly let them thaw fully in the fridge, then place in the oven and bake at 180 degrees C (350 F) for 10-15 minutes.
Reasons to love these zucchini corn fritters
You definitely need these in your life! They are:
- Healthy and made from wholesome ingredients.
- Super easy and great for beginners in the kitchen.
- Flavourful and savoury.
- A great option for meal prep.
- An ideal way to eat more vegetables.
- Easy to store and freeze.
- Crispy and with an amazing texture.
How to serve vegan fritters
Another great thing about these fritters is just how versatile they are. You can:
- Eat them by themselves with a dipping sauce of your choice. How about some vegan edamame hummus?
- Vegan sour cream is also an amazing option.
- Add them to sandwiches or wraps with hummus, spicy cashew cream, or chunky guacamole.
- Serve them over a salad such as my sweet potato zucchini salad.
Other vegan recipes using zucchini
- My gluten-free vegan zucchini bread is a great way to use up leftover zucchini, and is super easy to make!
- Try out savoury oatmeal with zucchini and black beans for a delicious and creative breakfast idea.
- If you're looking for a quick weeknight dinner with zucchini, try miso tahini soba noodles.
- Zucchini makes a delicious addition to my lentil soup with butter beans.
Let me know in the comments: what's your favourite way to use zucchini? If you give these vegan zucchini fritters a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@ohmyveggies) so I can see your creations, and leave your feedback in the comments below.
- Mixing bowl
- Kitchen towel
- Frying pan
- Add the zucchini to a mixing bowl together with ½ tbsp salt, stir together, and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the red lentils for 10 minutes, until soft but not mushy. Drain and rinse when done.
- Transfer the zucchini to a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- Add the zucchini, cooked red lentils, sweetcorn, red onion, garlic, buckwheat flour, nutritional yeast, cumin, paprika and the rest of the salt to a large mixing bowl. Stir together thoroughly.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Use slightly damp hands to form fritter shapes, flattening them down on the pan using a spatula. Cook in batches for around 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden and cooked through.
- To bake, preheat an oven to 180 degrees Cc (350 F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Arrange the fritters over the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, until crispy.
- You can keep these fritters in an airtight container for up to 5 days, reheating either in the toaster, the microwave, or a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil.
- To freeze zucchini fritters, cook them completely, then transfer to a ziplock bag or a freezer-friendly container for up to 2 months. To reheat, firstly let them thaw fully in the fridge, then place in the oven and bake at 180 degrees C (350 F) for 10-15 minutes.