I’m a HUGE fan of winter vegetables. There are loads of great vegetables in season at the moment and this recipe is based solely on two pretty delicious vegies, leeks and zucchini’s. They are available all year round however now is the time that they are truly at their best. When fruit and vegetables are in season, not only are they super delicious but they are also reasonably priced. It’s a win-win!
Fritters are a super winter meal - they are a great way of eating loads of nutrient rich foods without feeling like you are just eating a plate full of vegetables. This recipe uses almond meal instead of flour, which means they are gluten free, and best of all this makes them light and fluffy and gives them a lovely nutty flavor. After eating them you will feel full and satisfied - no post fritter belly I promise!
Leeks belong to the allium family of vegetables, which is the same family as garlic and onions. They are rich in B vitamin folate, which is a vitamin that supports our cardiovascular system and helps with blood cell production, enabling nerves to function well. Leeks give a lovely sweet flavour to a dish that is more mellow than using garlic or onion. Zucchini’s are pretty great too - they are extremely low in calories and a great source of fibre. I love their texture either raw or cooked. These two vegetables really are a great combination!
220 g chopped leeks (approx. 1.5 large leeks)
550g grated zucchinis (approx. 5 large zucchinis)
1 1/2 cups almond meal
½ bunch mint, finely chopped
½ bunch dill, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbs olive oil, plus a little for frying
4 tbs yoghurt
2 tbs tahini
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt to taste
HOW IT'S DONEYou might be thinking that I’ve gone a little mad measuring precisely how much leek and zucchini you will need for this recipe, but trust me a little too much of this or too little of that will affect the consistency of your batter and how they cook. You need the batter to be wet, not too runny or too dry. I’ve cooked these many times and have found that this ratio is best!Firstly, grate your zucchinis - you can use a regular grater on the coarse side or if you have a food processer use the grating attachment to make it even easier. Once grated, give the zucchinis a generous pinch of salt, toss and sit them in a colander over the sink for about 10 minutes to let all of their juices drain. Give them a good squeeze, I like to push them against the colander to really ensure you get as much liquid out of them as you can.
Finely slice the leeks and sauté in a pan with a dash of olive oil until they are translucent, for approx. 10 minutes. Add the ground cumin and coriander and sauté for 1 more minute until they are lovely and fragrant.
Now for the dressing. Combine the yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice, salt and ground cumin in a bowl and whisk together until smooth. If you can’t eat dairy simply add a little more lemon juice with the tahini cumin and salt and whisk together. Still SO delicious!
In a mixing bowl combine the leeks, zucchini and all remaining ingredients. Don’t forget to add the olive oil, it helps bind everything together.
Heat a large fry pan and drizzle with a little olive oil. Dollop a heaped spoonful of the batter into the fry pan and even out into a round shape with the back of the spoon as best as you can. Cook each side for about 3 minutes or until golden, making sure the fritter is cooked all the way through.
This recipe will make 12-14 fritters and will feed 4 people. Serve these with a generous dollop of the zingy tahini dressing and a leafy salad of your choice. I love rocket drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil. They are also pretty tasty the next day for breakfast!
Photography by Andy Stavert