A fresh, modern recipe for Italian fried zucchini to enjoy as a salad or healthy snack. Low-carb and gluten-free.
Frying zucchini in extra-virgin olive oil is one the best things you can do to them, transforming a somewhat bland everyday vegetable into something special and highly snackable.
Although we think of them as a full-blown summer kind of thing, I’m not afraid to take advantage of cute little zucchini grown in far more southern climates than the one I live in. It helps bridge the gap between late winter and summer.
I’ve been getting itty-bitty zucchini at my local Trader Joe’s over the past few months and this salad has become a major craving.
It’s a personal preference, but I like small zucchini best, for this recipe and in general. When zucchini matures and swells to a diameter larger than about an inch and a half, the flesh will likely have more seeds and become waterlogged and soggy when cooked.
It could be the inclusion of lemon that gives this combination of ingredients a spirit of freshness, making me think of impromptu warm weather eating, something I’m looking forward to.
Zucchini fritti are delicious and dare I say healthy (yes, I did). A light coating of rice flour and a little hot olive oil turns the neutral nature of zucchini into something almost like tempura.
You could easily eat fritti all on their own as a crunchy snack, but making a salad with the hot, crisp zucchini turns this into a simple meal.
zucchini fritti salad with lemon, parsley and parmesan
Yield 2 - 4 servings
- ¾ pound baby or small zucchini, between ½ - 1 inch in diameter
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 – 3 tablespoons brown or white rice flour
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ lemon, cut into wedges
- ¼ cup pine nuts, roughly chopped
- ½ cup picked Italian parsley leaves
- Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese, for shaving
- Slice the zucchini into coins about 1/2-inch wide; put them in a bowl with the onion and toss with enough rice flour to coat evenly.
- Heat a 12-inch (preferably non-stick) skillet over medium high heat until hot. Pour in the olive oil and heat until it just begins to shimmer.
- Put the zucchini-onion mixture and lemon slices into the pan, cut side down. Season with a generous pinch of salt and cook undisturbed for 2 or 3 minutes, until the zucchini turns dark golden brown on one side.
- Flip the zucchini over, either by shaking the pan or with a wooden spatula, to cook the other side. Add the pine nuts to the pan and sprinkle with a little more salt.
- Remove from the heat; stir in the parsley. Squeeze the juice from the fried lemons over the salad and serve right away topped with shaved cheese.
Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
Have a question or feedback? Get in touch or leave me a comment below — I love hearing from you!