Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato and Zucchini Fritters
These fritters came to fruition because I had one sweet potato, which I had intended to make soup with, but realized it wasn’t quite enough for soup.
Then I noticed a few small zucchinis that were crying out from the depths of the produce drawer and begging to be used before they turned into limp and lifeless green logs.
Having no idea what I was going to make, I took out my grater and started grating anyway. It’s amazing the pile of green fluff that two small zucchinis produced and that one peeled sweet potato turned into such a beta carotene bonanza.
I could have dirtied my food processor but it wasn’t worth it and grating the stubborn tuber was as close to a bicep workout as I was going to get for the day.
The fritters came together easily by combining the grated sweet potato, zucchini, chipotle seasoning and salt with a couple tablespoons of flour, a little melted butter, and a beaten egg (or flax egg). Then I formed patties and baked them.
‘Forming patties’ does not involve making a traditional hamburger patty or even a crab cake where you slap the protein around in your hands. Loosely mounding up some soggy vegetables into piles with a spoon and putting the piles on baking sheets is more like it. The soggy vegetable status changes while baking.
Start by baking the fritters for 10 minutes at 375F. The salt in the batter caused the zucchini to release water, and between the melted butter and egg also in the mixture, some liquid began to drain from the patties in the first ten minutes of baking. If this happens, just ‘push’ whatever liquids are streaming across your baking tray back into a fritter with a spatula.
Lower the oven temperature to 350F and continue to bake for about 15 minutes, and then carefully flip the fritters over and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until they’re sufficiently browned on the edges. I used two spatulas for the flipping process so that I didn’t mutilate the fritters too badly, which I have a tendency to do whenever I flip things, especially eggs, but the two-spatula method worked like a charm.
When I was ready to serve them, I smeared the fritters with a little Spicy Homemade Honey Mustard. Between the spicy mustard and the couple teaspoons of chipotle seasoning in the fritter batter, I was in for a sinus-clearing meal.
As a side note, if you’re not making your own mustard or peanut butter, you may want to work on that. Both are ridiculously easy, the mustard especially is dirt cheap to make – we’re talking nickles here, and you’ll never need to buy it again. Plus, it keeps for eons in the refrigerator. Make some and just stash it away in the fridge for a rainy day. Or for a zucchini fritter.
Without the mustard, the fritters aren’t very spicy and have just a nice amount of heat from the sweet chili and chipotle peppers in the chipotle seasoning. Add as much spice and heat as you desire, including an optional pinch of cayenne or something that really puts hair on your chest, but I didn’t want my 5-year old growing any hair on hers so I kept them on the milder side of the spectrum.
Since zucchini is incredibly flavor-neutral (aka, bland), and can taken in a sweet direction, in Zucchini Banana Bread for example, or taken in a savory direction, this blank vegetable canvas needs a healthy dose of whatever spice is used so that it has some flavor.
The fritters emerge from the oven golden and crisped on the edges but fork-tender in the center. They do crisp up to a point, but remember, they’re baked and not fried.
Scalding hot fry oil really adds to both the crispness level of anything it touches, as well as adding to your waistline and adding to the plaque inside your arteries. Baking instead of frying is a tradeoff, and I never get the same crispness level with baking as with frying, but if I’m going to eat fried food, it’s going to be mini donuts that I then cover in powdered sugar, not zucchini. I mean, come on.
For as tender as they were, the fritters held together remarkably well. Vegetarian patties or burgers of any kind are notorious for falling apart, especially baked ones, and although these aren’t tough as nails, they held their own.
I made seven fritters, and the yield will vary slightly based on the sizes of the sweet potato and zucchini used, and the size the fritters are made, but what we didn’t eat that night for dinner, I wrapped up in plastic and tossed into Scott and Skylar’s lunches the next day.
Scott has never met a potato he didn’t love and I got a text from him the next day saying that he was biting into a fritter and that it was the highlight of his lunch.
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (or vegan butter)
1 large egg (or egg replacer or flax egg)
2 teaspoons chipotle seasoning (I use Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or almond, oat, or a gluten-free flour blend)
about 3 cups coarsely grated sweet potato (1 medium to large sweet potato, peeled and grated)
about 2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (1 large or 2 small zucchini)
Preheat oven to 375F and line two baking trays with Silpats, parchment paper, or aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside. I highly recommend lining your baking trays because the fritters will stick badly if you don’t.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power. To the melted butter, add the egg and beat with a fork to combine. Add the chipotle seasoning, salt, pepper, and stir to combine. Add the flour and stir to combine. Add the sweet potato, zucchini, and toss to combine. Mixture will be loose and a bit soggy. Using a 1/2-cup measure, form fritters by transferring one heaping half-cup of vegetable mixture from mixing bowl directly to baking trays. My fritters were each about 4-inches in diameter and about 1-inch high and they weren’t traditional well-packed patties; rather I mounded the mixture into loosely packed circular shapes on the baking trays. I baked 4 fritters on one tray, and 3 on the other tray.
Bake fritters for 10 minutes at 375F and if fritters have “leaked” or released any liquids, either from the zucchini releasing water, or the butter-egg mixture, just “push” the liquid back into a fritter using a spatula.
Lower oven temperature to 350F and bake for about 15 minutes. Carefully flip fritters over (they will be soft and delicate; I used two spatulas to scoop-and-flip without breaking them) and bake for about 15 more minutes, or until browned. Fritters will be browned but soft upon removal from oven. Allow them to cool and firm up on the baking trays for at least 10 minutes before moving or serving them.
Serve fritters with Spicy Honey Mustard (gluten-free and to keep vegan, use agave in place of the honey) or a favorite mustard, ketchup, hot sauce, sour cream, salsa, or other favorite condiment. Fritters will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. They can be wrapped individually in plasticwap and make for handy lunchbox food.
Corn Chip-Crusted Southwestern Salmon Cakes with Creamy Lemon Chile Sauce (gluten-free) – No breadcrumbs used and in their place crushed corn chips are used. Beans and corn transform a traditional salmon cake (or crab may be used for crab cakes) in a Southwest direction
Vegetable Lasagna Casserole (vegan, GF) – A noodle-less, non-traditional lasagna that’s made using a giant zucchini-carrot ‘noodle’ and lots of veggies and cheese
Raw Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon & Herb Dressing (raw, vegan, GF) – Using spiralized zucchini as the noodles and the dressing is bright, creamy, and really makes this salad pop
Spiralized Zucchini Pasta with Peanut Sauce (raw, vegan, GF) – Everything is better when slathered with peanut sauce, including zucchini and raw vegetables
Zucchini Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – Zucchini is not a prominent flavor but it provides some nice texture and this bread blends two of my favorites into one
Sweet Potato recipes
Sweet Potato Red Pepper and Coconut Milk Soup (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, microwave-friendly) – This is my new favorite soup, 3 ingredients, and ready from start to finish in 15 minutes
Caribbean Citrus Roasted Sweet Potatoes – I’ve never met a blend of Mrs. Dash seasoning that I couldn’t put to use, including the Caribbean blend for these potatoes and the Chipotle blend used in the fritters
Roasted Sweet Potato Fries (vegan, GF)
Sweet Potato Graham Cracker “French Toast” Sticks – Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. They won’t win a beauty contest but they are delicious and the coating is crushed graham crackers, brown sugar, and cinnamon and the potatoes taste like French toast sticks
Do you have any favorite sweet potato or zucchini recipes?
Feel free to link up them up.