Updated: May 30, 2021
These little "tot-like" gems are perfect as an after-school snack, light lunch, or an addition to your next party appetizer platter.
Grated zucchini, lightly beaten eggs, soft breadcrumbs, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, and a touch of mayo are combined, then the fresh flavors of green onions, garlic, lemon zest, and chopped basil are added to make this one addictive finger food.
Store a batch (or two) of these crispy little bite-sized nuggets away in the freezer for an easy, make-ahead starter that will be sure to become a family favorite. They will disappear fast!
Source: Simply Recipes
Sunday is usually cooking day at our house. On the weeks when I am preparing simple and easy recipes, I like to add in a freezer appetizer to store away in my "freezer bank."
They are perfect for those nights when you're running behind and everyone's starving. Just pop these frozen nuggets into a preheated oven for under 15 minutes, and it will buy you some time (and keep everyone happy) while you prepare dinner. Better yet? Serve them alongside a tossed salad for a light, no-cook lunch or weeknight dinner.
These little, flavorful, and crispy tots are one of my new favorites. There is, however, a secret to keeping them super crispy.
Zucchini has a lot of natural liquid, especially after it is shredded or grated. The trick to removing all that liquid is to first salt the grated zucchini and let the excess liquid drain into a colander in the sink or over a large bowl for about an hour. Next, using your hands, press and squeeze it against the colander to release more moisture. Finally, wrap it up tightly in a clean kitchen towel and then squeeze out any remaining liquid. This will ensure they are nice and crispy and not mushy when you bake them.
While the zucchini is draining, in a large bowl, whisk together the mayo and eggs until smooth. Add the soft bread crumbs (I used gluten-free bread), green onions, garlic powder, lemon zest, chopped basil, cheeses (I used dairy-free), salt, and pepper. Let the mixture sit to allow the bread crumbs to soak up some of the liquid while you continue to drain the zucchini.
Once the time has lapsed, stir the well-drained, squeezed-out zucchini into the egg mixture until it is evenly distributed. Spoon it (about 1 rounded tablespoon) into mini muffin tins that have been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake them in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned. Let them cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen them from the pan. Move to a rack to finish cooling.
Serve these little bites warm with a bowl of marinara sauce for dipping, additional grated Parmesan cheese (and your favorite cocktail), if desired.
This recipe makes 24 appetizers.
To make ahead: Allow the zucchini bites to cool completely. Lay them on a large sheet pan and place them in the freezer. Flash freeze them until they are completely frozen, then place them into a 1-gallon freezer bag. To reheat, preheat oven to 400 degrees, then bake the frozen appetizers for about 10-12 minutes or until they are heated through. Serve as suggested above.
Let's get cooking!
2 pounds of zucchini, grated using large holes on a box grater or food processor
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh, soft bread crumbs (about 4-5 slices of sturdy white bread processed in a food processor; I used gluten-free bread)
1/2 cup minced green onions (including green parts)
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder (to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1-2 tablespoons of fresh basil, roughly chopped (to taste)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used dairy-free)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used dairy-free)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
Please be sure to visit Simply Recipes for the source recipe and original instructions.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Shred or grate the zucchini using a food processor or box grater.
Place the grated zucchini and salt into a colander.
Let the excess liquid drain out into the sink or over a large bowl for about an hour.
After an hour, using your hands, press and squeeze the zucchini against the colander to release more moisture.
Next, wrap it up tightly in a clean kitchen towel and then squeeze out the remaining liquid.
While the zucchini is draining, in a large bowl, whisk together the mayo and eggs until smooth. Add soft bread crumbs, green onions, garlic powder, lemon zest, chopped basil, cheeses, salt, and pepper.
Let the mixture sit to allow the bread crumbs to soak up some of the liquid while you continue to drain the zucchini.
Once the time lapsed, stir the well-drained, squeezed-out zucchini into the egg mixture until it is evenly distributed.
Spoon it (about 1 rounded tablespoon) into mini muffin tin(s) that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. It will make 24.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned.
Let them cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen them from the pan.
Move to a rack to finish cooling.
Serve warm with a bowl of marinara sauce for dipping, and additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
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To reheat zucchini bites from frozen:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the desired amount of frozen zucchini bites on a sheet pan that has been lined with foil or Silpat liner.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until heated through.
Serve as indicated above.