I think I’m a vegetarian. Or at least I cook like a vegetarian, but I’ll eat meat/fish elsewhere (if someone else cooks it). I don’t think there’s a name for that, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I am. I don’t like cooking with meat. The texture kinda grosses me out and if I start thinking about the cute little animal it came from I guess I get a little turned off. Blame it on motherhood, hormones, or whatever, but I’ve found myself avoiding meat recipes lately so I’m just gonna roll with it. Which brings me to another point. Vegetarian cooks are AWESOME. Sure, everyone loves bacon because it’s…bacon. Greasy, salty, crispy, fatty bacon. What’s not to love? But if you can make me love kale? Broccoli? God forbid, brussels sprouts?! That’s talent. You also have to be pretty creative when it comes to vegetarian cuisine. We’ve all had steamed broccoli with cheese sauce and the emphasis is on the cheese sauce. If you really want to stick to a vegetarian diet you need to find a way to make vegetables not taste like vegetables. This was my thinking behind these crispy broccoli fritters. These lightly fried pancake like fritters work as a great alternative vegetable side to your meal, or topped with a fried egg and served with some sweet potato rounds become the main course!
When I was toward the end of my pregnancy with my daughter my mom was in town for a good month waiting for her tiny little baby butt to arrive. Since she decided to be two weeks late my mom and I had lots of extra time on our hands to do things like: paint the crib (3 coats of paint and 1 coat of clear finish in 90 degree heat with 50 extra baby pounds on your body…sounds fun, huh?) plant lots of plants, buy lots of baby clothes, purchase and construct an outdoor pergola (with a little help from husband and dad…okay they did it while we watched), go on lots of “get-this-baby-out” walks and cook A LOT of food. I’m talking every night we made a gourmet meal because “this could be the last meal I eat before baby”. As a part of the feasting saga my mom made these zucchini cornbread fritters that were UH-MAZING. I was trying to eat “healthier” since I’d managed to eat mac and cheese for nine of the nine months I was pregnant. Once I hit +30 pounds on the scale at around 20 weeks of pregnancy I kind of just said screw it, this is neither the time or place to stress over weight. And now, almost a year later, the weight is gone and I’m back to thinking about those fritters. I swapped zucchini for broccoli and breadcrumbs for cornbread mix to make them a little lighter. Both ways they are delicious and simple!
Have you ever been asked to a potluck-style party where they list out the different foods they want people to bring and then have you sign up? And then two weeks goes by and you haven’t put your name next to anything so you get last dibs…and the only thing not checked is “a vegetable side”? That’s because no one wants to be the one to bring the salad…and they can’t think of any other vegetable side other than salad. Not anymore! Fry up a whole bunch of these fritters and serve them with your favorite dipping sauce for a great alternative to salad…or carrots and dip. They’re a great finger food so they work well at parties and you might even fool a kid into eating one. I know my daughter loves them, but she also love eating headphones so…
To make these broccoli fritters follow this simple three step process:
- Cut, steam and mash the broccoli.
- Mix broccoli with batter and form into patties.
- Fry, flip and fry again.
All of this takes less than 30 minutes and most of the ingredients you probably already have on hand. In my house this is our new favorite way to pack in some unexpected veggies.
Let’s talk waste. If you know this blog, you know I’m dedicated to minimizing waste in the kitchen (and everywhere else). With this recipe you probably won’t need much from the store. Most of us have flour, eggs and spices in our cupboard…and maybe even a forgotten garlic clove. If so, then you’ll just need some breadcrumbs and broccoli at the store to make this recipe. Take your reusable produce bags with you and fill them with broccoli and avoid those plastic produce bags like the plague. You don’t need them. You can find breadcrumbs that come in a tube-like container that is recyclable when empty or you can be brave and make your own by baking leftover bread in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 250 degrees then whirling it in a blender or food processor. Add seasoning as you like. No waste and lots of happy, healthy tummies.
- 2 medium broccoli crowns, about 3 cups chopped, stems included
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, I used Italian seasoned
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Olive oil for frying
- Remove the florets from the broccoli and roughly chop. Cut the broccoli stems into 1" pieces. In a steamer basket, steam the broccoli for about 6 minutes until it is soft, but not mushy. Drain the water and lightly mash the broccoli with a potato masher in the same pan. There should still be small chunks of broccoli, so don't completely mash it.
- In a separate mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the flour, breadcrumbs, minced garlic, salt and paprika. Lightly stir, then add the broccoli. Mix together until combined. Don't be afraid to use your hands.
- In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Meanwhile, take a spoonful of the broccoli mixture and roll it into a ball in your hands. Gently flatten the ball until it forms a patty about 2-3 inches in diameter. Once the olive oil is warmed, begin adding the fritters. Allow them to brown on the bottom for about 2 minutes, then flip over and cook an additional 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining broccoli mixture.
- Serve immediately with crumbled feta, sour cream, greek yogurt or your other favorite sauce!