There’s something endearing about bite-sized food. Some people might think chicken nuggets and the like are for kids, but adults flock to them too. Take the energy ball trend, for example, or chocolate truffles, foods created by adults for adults with that spark of childhood fun. Our favorite sweet bite-sized snack though? Zucchini garlic bites. It’s like the savory version of our sweet frozen chocolate banana bites.
Perhaps these foods are so beloved because they are small, portion-controlled, and therefore diet-friendly; or maybe because they are shaped perfectly for dipping, and the fun and delicious of dipping speaks for itself. What about dipping carrots in hummus makes the bland vegetable so good? Why do chips in salsa, or fries in ketchup become even more addictive than on their own?
Why worry about those unhealthy foods when there’s a nutritious recipe filled with all of the crispy, garlicky, scrumptiousness of Italian food? Enter the Zucchini Garlic Bite.
Zucchini: The Vegetable that Keeps on Giving
Zucchini is the quintessential healthy food to substitute unhealthy food. There’s the trend of zucchini fries, zucchini snuck in chocolate desserts, zucchini noodles, zucchini muffins, and the list just goes on! And it should.
First of all, zucchinis are low in carbs, which is why they’re so popular with the dieters. It’s also rich in essential nutrients like potassium, manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin A. Due to their water content and polysaccharides, a certain kind of carbohydrate, zucchinis could even improve one’s heart health. It contains pectin, a fiber that has been shown to reduce inflammation and may protect the body against diabetes and insulin resistance.
There’s no wonder this vegetable took the food world by a storm.
How to Make Zucchini Garlic Bites
In order for the balls to taste crispy, it’s imperative to squeeze as much moister as possible out of the zucchini. This will ensure the inside of the bites is soft and the outside is crunchy.
Here’s how: Shred the zucchini using a food processor or hand grater. Place the zucchini shreds in a kitchen towel and wring out the moisture. Grate the garlic and combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Mix until all of the ingredients are combined, shape the mixture into small balls, and place them on prepared baking sheets.
Bake the balls until they’re golden and serve them with a dipping sauce, because, as we said before, dipping makes everything taste better. It’s science (but don’t look that up!)
Zucchini Garlic Bites
- Prep Time: 12 minutes
- Cook Time: 18 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Servings: 16 bites
- 1 cup zucchini, grated and wrung out
- 1 egg*
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs**
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated finely*
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
- pinch of salt and pepper
- Marinara sauce, for dipping***
- Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray.
- Use a box grater or food processor to grate the zucchini.
- Place the zucchini shreds onto a clean towel. Roll up the towel and twist it to wring out the moisture.
- Grate the garlic using the small holes on the box grater or in the food processor.
- In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.
- Shape the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls, and place on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 15–18 minutes in the preheated oven until golden.
- Serve warm with marinara sauce.
*For vegan zucchini bites, use a flax egg and substitute the parmesan cheese with store-bought vegan brands or make your own. Simply add ¾ cup + 1 tbsp raw cashews in a food processor and blend until the cashews are ground into a meal. Add ¼ cup nutritional yeast, ½ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, and ¾ tsp salt, and mix until combined.
For gluten-free zucchini bites, use gluten-free breadcrumbs, store-bought or homemade. Blend 2–3 slices of gluten-free bread in a food processor. Bake the crumbs on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 325 degrees. Bake for 7 minutes, stir and bake for another 7 minutes. These breadcrumbs store for up to 2–3 days in the fridge, or 3 months in the freezer. For ‘cheat’ breadcrumbs that are also grain-free, use almond flour. Add some of your favorite spices to make up for the flavor and use them in the recipe as directed.
For the marinara sauce, you can also use store-bought for quicker cooking time. Simply blend the following in a food processor until smooth:
- 2 (14.5 ounces) cans of stewed tomatoes
- 1 (6-ounce) tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Sauté the following in a large skillet:
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup onion, diced
Then add the tomato sauce with:
- ½ cup white wine
Simmer the sauce on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, and serve with the Zucchini Garlic Bites.