Zucchini Lentil Fritters

5 from 3 votes

I am delighted to share this recipe for lentil fritters with you. These intensely tasty treats are held together with a hearty red lentil paste, eliminating the need for eggs or breadcrumbs. They are vegetarian, gluten-free, and full of nourishing ingredients. I find them irresistible and slightly addicting, too. Plus, they are super easy to make!

close up: a hand holding zucchini lentil fritters over a plate with yogurt

I love learning creative new ways to use old ingredients, and this recipe for zucchini lentil fritters is a perfect example. Whether you have a garden full of zucchini to eat or simply want more vegetables in your life, these lentil fritters will help you get the job done.

Mine are just starting in the garden and I can’t wait to make these again with them. Until then, the farmers market has been helping me.

close up: crispy zucchini lentil fritters on a wire rack

Make sure that you allow an hour for the lentils to soak and the vegetables to drain. After that, the recipe comes together incredibly quickly. The soaked lentils are pureed, seasoned, and mixed with the shredded zucchini and onions. A few minutes in the frying pan and you’re good to go! I fried these in ghee, but oil will do just fine. I loved the flavor it brings to these…

For more fritter recipes, check out my Zesty Cauliflower Fritters, Crispy Corn Pakora (Corn Fritters), and Onion Pakora (Indian Onion Fritters).

overhead: zucchini lentil fritters ingredients

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Red Lentils Hold the batter together and add a sweet, earthy flavor. Red lentils soften quickly and are the only right choice for this recipe. 
  • Zucchini – All you need is one zucchini per batch. Feel free to mix in a bit of whatever in-season squash is around. I recommend yellow summer squash.
  • Onion – I prefer red onion for its mild flavor and delightful color, but yellow or white onions are fine replacements. 
  • Herbs and Spices This batter boasts the fiery heat of Kashmiri chili powder, the deep earthiness of turmeric, and the fresh pepperiness of parsley.
  • Lemon Zest – Brightens and lightens the dish with a fresh lemony pop.
  • Ghee – Choose ghee or a vegetable oil that has a decently high smoke point like avocado, peanut, or grapeseed.

How to Make Zucchini Lentil Fritters

  1. Clean & Soak. Rinse the lentil in a mesh sieve until the water runs clear. Place the rinsed lentils in a bowl along with 2 cups of water. Set aside to soak for one hour. 
  2. Prepare the Zucchini. While the lentils are soaking, get the zucchini ready. Trim the ends off, slice lengthwise, and cut each strip into ¼  inch pieces. Alternatively, you can use a mandolin. 
  3. Salt & Drain the Veggies. Transfer the sliced zucchini to a colander along with the thinly sliced red onions. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and set aside over the sink or a bowl. This will help draw out excess liquid, which you can then discard. 
  4. Puree the Lentils. After an hour, drain the lentils and transfer them to a food processor. Pulse until you see a nice smooth paste form. 
  5. Combine All Ingredients. Put the lentil puree in a large mixing bowl along with the chili powder, turmeric, parsley, lemon zest, and the rest of the salt. Squeeze the zucchini and onions to remove any extra moisture, then add them to the bowl as well. Mix thoroughly to incorporate all the ingredients. 
zucchini lentil fritters cooling on a wire rack
  1. Prepare to Fry. Use paper towels to line a rimmed baking sheet. Place a wire rack on top of that and set aside. Place a cast iron skillet or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Heat the ghee or oil until it sizzles when you drop in a tiny bit of batter. Now you are ready to fry.
  2. Fry the Fritters. Working in batches of 4, scoop out ¼ cup of batter for each fritter and carefully add it to the hot oil. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, then transfer to the prepared rack. Season with salt and repeat with the rest of the fritters. You should end up with a total of 16. 
  3. Serve. You can enjoy lentil fritters right away. They are perfect as is or enjoy them with plain yogurt, ketchup, Tomato Pachadi, or Pudina Chutney (Indian Mint Chutney).
a plate of lentil fritters over yogurt

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do my zucchini fritters fall apart?

If your fritters are falling apart, the batter is too wet. Be sure to allow enough time for the salt to draw out the extra moisture from the vegetables. Doing this up to an hour in advance is perfectly okay. 

Also, don’t forget to wring out as much remaining liquid as possible before transferring your zucchini to the batter bowl. I find a piece of cheesecloth or kitchen towel really helps with this step.

How do you keep lentil fritters crispy?

There are a few simple ways to ensure scrumptiously crispy fritters every time. Keep these pointers in mind for your next batch. 

– As we touched on above, be sure to remove any excess liquid for the best results. 
– Make sure the oil is hot enough before frying by using the sizzle test or testing with a thermometer. Around 350 degrees F is a good ballpark. If the oil isn’t hot enough, the fritters will simply absorb the oil and become soggy.
– Keep your zucchini lentil fritters small, using no more than ¼ cup batter at a time. Otherwise, you might end up with burnt outsides and soggy, uncooked insides. 
– As they are cooling, keep your fritters on the rack so they can drain and properly crisp up.

What to serve with lentil fritters?

These zucchini lentil fritters are as versatile as they are tasty. 

– As an appetizer, enjoy with a smear of labneh, Onion Raita, Tzatziki, or Tahini Sauce.
– For a satisfying lunch, pair with Mulligatawny Soup and this Greek Chicken Souvlaki
– As a side dish, serve lentil fritters with Chicken Tikka Kebab, Grilled Koobideh Kabob, or your favorite Burger Recipe.
– Pair with Gobi Masala (Cauliflower Curry) or Kala Chana (Black Chickpea Curry) for a vegetarian meal.

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close up: zucchini lentil fritters and yogurt

Zucchini Lentil Fritters

5 from 3 votes
These irresistible onion zucchini lentil fritters are crispy, savory, protein-packed, and infused with just the right amount of smoky heat.
Servings: 4
Prep: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes
Total: 1 hour 16 minutes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Rinse lentils until water runs clear. Transfer to a bowl and cover with 2 cups water. Let soak for 1 hour.
  • In meantime, trim ends off zucchini and slice lengthwise. Cut each strip into 1/4-inch pieces OR use a mandoline. Set aside in colander with onion and toss with 1 teaspoon salt. Let excess water drain from vegetables in sink or over a bowl (discard liquid).
  • Drain lentils and add to a food processor and pulse until a smooth paste forms.
  • Transfer lentil puree to a bowl along with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, chili powder, turmeric, parsley and lemon zest. Squeeze any excess water from zucchini and onion and add to bowl. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and place wire rack on top. Set aside.
  • Heat ghee or oil in a deep skillet or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Test oil with a drop of batter, if it sizzles it’s ready. Scoop a 1/4 cup of batter and carefully fry, 3 minutes per side, four fritters at a time. Remove from oil and place on prepared rack, season with salt. Repeat with remaining batter. You should make 16 fritters total.
  • Serve with optional labneh, plain yogurt, ketchup, Tomato Pachadi, or Pudina Chutney (Indian Mint Chutney).

Notes

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit and Sohla El-Waylly.

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 892mg | Potassium: 690mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1455IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 5mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: appetizers, snacks
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): zucchini lentil fritters

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are great. I love the idea of a batter made of lentils- and there can be so many variations. I squeezed out the zucchini and onion in a clean kitchen towel, and they came out crispy and delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    I tried these because the idea of a lentil batter intrigued me and I was not disappointed. These were really good and easy to make.