Mediterranean-Style Zucchini Fritters with Tzatziki Dipping Sauce

Mediterranean Style Zucchini Fritters With Tzatziki Dipping Sauce on a plater
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Dip these crispy-fried, parmesan-and-zucchini fritters into a bowl of creamy, garlicky tzatziki and lose yourself in a mouthful of Mediterranean goodness.  

Zucchini Fritters: For When “Abundant” is an Understatement 

There is nothing better than the abundance that comes from one’s own garden. At the peak of summer, each day brings a new harvest and cooking with food you’ve grown yourself is simply the best. From fresh herbs and tomatoes, to snap peas and hot peppers, every day is an adventure. If you are an experienced green thumb—or know someone who is—you know that zucchini squash are among the more enthusiastic producers. The zucchini avalanche can be intimidating, but finding new ways to eat all that bounty is the best kind of problem to have. We like to grill it with olive oil and fresh herbs, layer it into a ratatouille, and—best of all—make these parmesan-laced, crispy zucchini fritters with tzatziki sauce.

Hold on, I Heard A Crazy Rumor. Is Zucchini a Fruit? 

Yes! Zucchini’s scientific name is cucurbita pepo, and is—as you probably know—a member of the squash family, and squashes are indeed classified as fruit! Zucchini—or courgettes as they’re known in France or the U.K.—are a relatively young type of squash, originally bred in Italy and rising to popularity in the U.S. only around the mid 20th century. These prolific garden favorites are often taken for granted these days, though, and we hope this easy fried zucchini fritter recipe helps show off how special this fruit can truly be.  

Zucchini Fritter batter in a bowl with a wooden spoon

How To Make Zucchini Fritters

Begin by harvesting all of the zucchini that has taken over your planter boxes, accepting a basketful from a neighbor, or opening your CSA box expecting a rainbow of fruit and vegetables only to find about a million zucchini. Briefly panic-search for that zucchini bread recipe that you made a few years ago. Stop. Remember that you saw a delicious-sounding, parmesan-y, onion-y zucchini fritter recipe on The Modern Proper a while ago and maybe you’ll just give that a try instead. Then: 

  1. Grate the zucchini & the onion into a colander and toss the grated bits with salt. The salt will leach out the water, and once they’ve released a good amount of water—about 10 minutes—use a piece of cheesecloth or a nut bag if you’ve got it to squeeze out the liquid. 
  2. Make a batter! Combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, parmesan cheese, egg, whole milk, pepper, and cumin. Give it a good mix, and then fold in the strained onion & zucchini. 
  3. Fry! By the time you’ve mixed up the batter, the oil should be up to temp! Give it a test by dropping a small bit of batter in and seeing if it fries. When the oil is ready, carefully fry the zucchini fritters, adding them to the oil about  ¼ cup of batter at a time. The keywords to remember when frying in oil are slow, steady and careful. 
  4. Dip & eat! When they’ve cooled a bit, dip them in your homemade tzatziki and discover how very lovable fresh zucchini can be. 
close up of Zucchini Fritter batter

Tools You’ll Need: 

Zucchini Fritters on a plate

Celebrating Summer's Bounty: 

When the air is as soft and warm as it’s ever going to be, and the garden is brimming with ripeness, every meal feels like a small celebration:

Mediterranean Style Zucchini Fritters With Tzatziki Dipping Sauce on a plater

Fritters for Dinner!

We’re not saying you’ve got to forego zucchini bread for ever and ever, but we DO think that it’s high time more people made room in their hearts for these Italian-ish (parmesan!), Greek-ish (hello tzatziki!) crispy zucchini fritters. We hope you try them & we hope you love them! And if you do, snap a photo and maybe even a video of the beautiful people that get to eat them! Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Mediterranean-Style Zucchini Fritters with Tzatziki Dipping Sauce

Serves 8

Fritters

2 medium zucchinis, grated
1 small onion, grated
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup parmesan, grated
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp za'atar (optional)*
oil for frying
flaked salt for finishing
1 cup tzatziki sauce

Method

  1. Line a colander with cheesecloth, thin kitchen towel or nut bag and place in the sink or over a large bowl. Grate zucchini & onion over cheese cloth in colander and toss with salt. After 10 minutes, gather the ends of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, and parmesan cheese. Add egg, milk, pepper, cumin and za'atar. Stir until well incorporated. Add zucchini mixture and mix until combined**
  3. Fill a heavy pot with 1/2 inch of oil over medium heat. Test to see if oil is hot enough by dropping in a small dab of batter. If it sizzles then oil is ready.
    Working in small batches, use a ¼ cup measuring cup to scoop batter. Carefully drop batter into oil and use a fork to spread it out thin. Fry on each side for 3 minutes until deep golden brown.
  4. Remove fritters from the oil onto a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with flake salt after each batch comes out of the oil. Serve warm along with tzatziki sauce.

*za’atar can be found at some specialty and middle eastern stores.
**The batter might seem dry before adding the zucchini, but the grated zucchini will add moisture back into the batter so be sure to mix well.