I grew up with a mother that was very ahead of her time. In the early ’80s she had turned half of our back yard into an organic vegetable garden that almost completely sustained us during the warm months of the year. With four children running around, she had lot of help harvesting. I think that my love of gardening (and vegetables) stemmed from that childhood garden. In particular I remember the snap peas, strawberries, and zucchini. The sweet, crunchy peas and juicy strawberries are fairly self explanatory, but the zucchini? Well to me it meant zucchini bread and chocolate zucchini cake, so I was a big fan.
I grow a rather sizable vegetable garden every year, especially considering my less-than-sizable in-city lot, and I always grow zucchini. It still means lots of sweet recipes like spiced zucchini bread and chocolate zucchini bundt cake, which gets my own children excited to help me tend to it. But in addition to all of the sweets, I am craving more savory dishes as well. My palate has grown up a little bit, and now I find myself longing for zoodles, grilled zucchini, and often these zucchini-chickpea fritters.
Zucchini fritters were commonplace in my house until a few years ago, but after an egg allergy meant I could no longer use them as a binder, I started looking for some alternatives for creating a hearty little fritter that stayed together. That’s when I found chickpeas. The beans help keep the fritters soft on the inside, and the flour helps them get nice and crispy on the outside. And in all the excitement you can not forget about the red onion jam. The jam takes these from “yum!” to “oh wow!” It is sweet and savory, and I like to pile it on these fritters as high as possible.
And as good as these zucchini-chickpea fritters taste, you can not ignore how great they are for you. It is just a ton of fiber and nutrients packed into one small recipe. These savory little cakes could be served bite-sized as appetizers, or you could make them a couple inches across as a side dish at dinner or brunch. Just because eggs are off the table for me, I still think they would be dynamite with a poached egg on top!
Zucchini-Chickpea Fritters with Red Onion Jam
For the red onion jam:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the fritters:
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Vegetable oil, for frying
For the red onion jam: In a nonstick pan or heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sprinkle with salt. Stir and cook until tender and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the water and cook until the onion is very soft and the water has cooked off, about 10 minutes more. Add the vinegar and sprinkle the onions with the sugar. Stir well and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, until the vinegar has cooked off completely. Season with salt and set aside.
For the fritters: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Pulse the chickpeas in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment until they form a thick paste. Transfer to a large bowl and add the onion and zucchini. Use clean hands to mix well, then form the mixture into 10 cakes; set aside.
Combine the garbanzo bean flour and the salt on a large plate. Gently dredge each cake in the flour, patting it onto all sides of the cake.
Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a large frying pan or skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 3 or 4 cakes at a time and cook until golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the cakes to a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with cooking the remaining cakes, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
When all the cakes are cooked, bake until hot and a deeper golden color, 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve hot with the red onion marmalade.
Reprinted with permission from Pure Delicious by Heather Christo, copyright (c) 2016 by arrangement with Pam Krauss Books and Avery Books, members of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company.