Home » The Crispiest Zucchini Fritti Made Gluten Free

The Crispiest Zucchini Fritti Made Gluten Free

zucchini fritti with parmesan

If you want your kids to eat more vegetables then give this Italian zucchini fritti recipe a try!

My children absolutely love this dish and often eat it as an appetizer while waiting for me to plate a quick pasta with arugula or artichoke pesto during the week!

When zucchini (or courgettes) are fried they become sweet and tender.

And the crisp from the fried batter just adds another layer of deliciousness that no one can resist: crunchy on the outside, tender, and sweet on the inside!

But the best part is – I have adapted this recipe using gluten-free flour!

Rice flour (either white or brown) is used in place of the traditional flour in the batter.

Now, our ideas of “Italian food” and “gluten-free” aren’t usually in the same thought, let alone spoken in the same breath.

However, this zucchini fritti recipe was fairly easy to makeover.

Zucchini, when it is fried is magical and deserves a go if you are looking to expand your repertoire of gluten-free cooking, especially vegetables!

What is Zucchini Fritti?

Zucchini Fritti means “fried zucchini” in Italian. Traditionally it is the zucchini flower that is filled with ricotta or mozzarella and herb mixture, is then battered and deep-fried (Fiori di Zucca Fritti).

This batter generally consists of any combination of the following ingredients :

zucchini flowers
  • all-purpose (AP) flour (usually wheat, or tip 00)
  • cornstarch
  • sparkling water
  • ice water
  • sea salt

This recipe, however, will only utilize the part of the zucchini separated from the flower and leaves, known as “the fruit”(it is the long green portion that is commonly found at the supermarket).

What You Need For To Make Zucchini Fritti

rice flour batter ingredients

Rice Flour

This will make the zucchini fry up crispier because of its light texture. It also doesn’t absorb as much oil as regular wheat flour when used in frying. And less oil absorption means that it is less greasy.

Cornstarch

Adding this ingredient will thicken the batter, and allow it to adhere better to the sliced zucchini. Plus it is also a great starch to add crispiness during the frying process.

Baking Powder

I chose to use baking powder because I did not have sparkling water and it serves the same purpose: it causes air bubbles in the rice batter, making for a crispier coating.

Cold Water

The water should be as cold as possible: either refrigerated beforehand or placed into the freezer a few minutes before mixing the batter – the colder the water, the crispier the zucchini will fry up.

Why Should I Use Rice Flour Instead of All-Purpose Flour For Zucchini Fritti?

First and foremost, rice flour is gluten-free.

Secondly, it is the best substitute for all-purpose (AP) flour or in a recipe like this because they have similar characteristics.

The flavor is not compromised, and I dare someone to refute this claim in a blind taste test – seriously!

(In fact, I think that the rice flour batter gives a superior result).

Comparison: Rice Flour Vs. all-Purpose Flour

Characteristics Rice FlourAll-Purpose (AP) Flour
TasteNeutralNeutral
Proteinvery lowaverage, or medium
Texturelight, granularlight, airy
GlutenNo Yes
AbsorbencyHigh Average

So what does all of this mean?

In short, both flours are ideal for batters like the one used in the fried zucchini recipe.

However, the characteristics of the rice flour will produce a batter that results in a crispier product.

Plus, have I already mentioned that it’s gluten-free?

Replace 7/8 cup (140 grams) of rice flour for every one cup (160 grams) of all-purpose flour.

Pro tip

Can I Make My Own Rice Flour?

make your own rice flour

Yes, it is very easy to make your own rice flour as fine or as coarse as you like. Simply measure out your rice and place it in a high-powered blender or coffee grinder and process it to your desired texture.

The rice flour can be stored in an air-tight container indefinitely – if not a couple of years safely.

How to Make Zucchini Fritti in a Rice Flour Batter

how to make zucchini fritti

Step 1: Prepare The Zucchini

Slice a whole zucchini in half. Then quarter the halves. Slice the quarters into strips, about 1 cm (or 1/2 in.) wide.

Step 2: Preheat The Oil

Preheat 5 – 6 1/2 cm (2 – 2 1/2 in.) of oil in a heavy bottom pot for frying. Heat the oil to at least 325 F (160 C).

Step 3: Prepare The Rice Flour Batter

In a mixing bowl combine the rice flour, oat fiber, baking powder, salt, and water. Whisk together making sure everything is combined.

Step 4: Coat The Zucchini

Make sure the strips are evenly coated by dipping and turning them in the rice flour batter.

zucchini in rice flour batter

Step 5: Fry The Zucchini In Oil

Carefully place your battered zucchini strips into the heated oil. Fry them until they are golden brown and crispy.

zucchini frying in oil

Step 6: Drain Zucchini Strips

Drain excess oil on a plate lined with paper towels. Season it with salt.

Step 7: Serve The Zucchini Fritti

Transfer the drained zucchini to a serving plate and sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over it. Serve immediately.

Serving Suggestion:

Sprinkle the fried zucchini with fresh lemon juice, herbs, or cracked black pepper along with a garlic aioli for dipping!

Pro tip

(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Can I Make The Zucchini Fritti In The Air Fryer?

Yes, you can make zucchini fritti in an air fryer with one small adjustment to the recipe: use a dry coating (breading) instead of a wet batter on your zucchini strips.

Here’s how:

Step 1:

Mix the dry ingredients/breading in a bowl.

Step 2:

Make an egg wash for the zucchini breading in a separate bowl. To make the egg wash:

  • Beat two eggs with two tablespoons of either milk (or non-dairy milk), heavy cream, or water.

Step 3:

Place zucchini strips first into the bowl with the egg wash; then coat the strips in the bowl with the dry ingredients/breading. Repeat the steps again for an extra coating if you wish.

Step 4:

Arrange your prepared zucchini in the air fryer basket and spray it with olive, avocado, coconut, or an oil of your choice. Cook for 5-7 minutes at 300 F (150 C) turning halfway through the cooking time.

Step 5:

Place the zucchini fritti on a serving plate with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and serve immediately.

Can I Make Fried Zucchini In The Oven?

baking rack

Yes, you can absolutely fry zucchini in the oven by using an egg wash and breading method with a baking rack.

Follow the same breading technique for using an air fryer ( steps listed above).

Then:

Arrange your zucchini strips on a baking rack placed on top of a baking tray to catch any fallout from the breading. Spray the zucchini with your oil of choice and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 F (175 C) or until golden brown and crispy.

Place the zucchini fritti on a serving plate with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and serve immediately.

zucchini fritti with parmesan

The Crispiest (Gluten-Free) Zucchini Fritti

FamilyandGlamour
Rice flour is key to making the batter for frying strips of the crispiest zucchini you will ever taste – plus it's gluten-free!
4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine International, Italian
Servings 4
Calories 173 kcal

Equipment

  • heavy bottom pot
  • tongs or similar tool for frying
  • a plate
  • paper towels

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup cold water (add more or use less depending on desired consistency)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • oil, for frying (avocado, grapeseed, coconut, or any oil good for frying)

Instructions
 

  • Cut the zucchini in half, then into quarters. Slice the quarters into strips ½ inch wide.
    Zucchini strips
  • Heat 2-3 inches of oil to 325° (160° C) in a heavy-bottom pot.
  • Add all of the dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk to blend. Add your cold water and whisk until the batter comes together.
  • Immediately add your zucchini strips into the rice flour batter to coat.
  • Carefully lower the strips into the hot oil, taking care not to overcrowd the pot.
  • Fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain the zucchini on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Immediately season with additional salt while hot.
  • Transfer the zucchini to a serving plate and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese before serving.

Notes

  • The nutrition information does not include the oil the zucchini is fried in.
  • When working in batches, be sure to stir the rice flour batter before adding the zucchini to ensure that any settled flour is mixed before coating.
  • The zucchini fritti is best served immediately after a quick drain and seasoning on the paper towel.

Nutrition

Sodium: 357mgCalcium: 192mgSugar: 2.1gFiber: 1.8gPotassium: 241mgCalories: 173kcalSaturated Fat: 0.2gFat: 0.8gProtein: 3.3gCarbohydrates: 38gIron: 0.5mg
Keyword fried, rice flour, zucchini
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Have you tried fried zucchini?

What is your favorite gluten-free flour to fry with?

Leave your tips in the comments!

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