Sweet Potato and Courgette Chia Fritters, Avocado-Feta Dip

With the sun now occasionally sneaking a peak from behind the winter clouds to remind us spring is around the corner, I’m finding myself splashing the colours and flavours of sunnier climes liberally onto my plate in anticipation.

There’s hints of springtime in Greece in this dish with the tomatoes, feta, lemon and mint nudging the pastel green of the avocado and feta dip. And there’s enough vitamins, minerals and vitamin C to shake a stick at. This should see you through till Easter without yet another cold. Hopefully.

I was going to make the fritters with eggs (which you still can if you prefer). But fritter recipes allover the web are awash with people asking whether they could use an egg substitute. So I decided to test it out for all you vegans and non-egg lovers out there. Without any guarantee of success.

Flax and chia

Flax and chia seeds make excellent egg substitutes in baking and many other dishes. You basically soak 1 tbsp of whole or ground flax or chia seeds  in 3 tbsp water until they become gel-like (20-30 mins) and use them in your creations instead of eggs.

It is said that freshly ground flax or chia seeds work better than the ready-milled shop bought stuff. Use a coffee grinder, a dedicated spice mill or even a pestle and mortar if you fancy adding some elbow grease. work  but I’ve had great results with the ready-milled and even the whole chia seed (for instance in my Whole Orange, Almond and Chia Cake), so I’d say don’t be put of if you don’t have the equipment to grind your own.

Flax egg and Chia egg

Even for non-vegans and egg lovers, it’s worth occasionally experimenting with flax or chia eggs to increase nutrition five-fold and add variety. Sure, you can’t use them in an omelette, frypoach or confit them. But I’ve had great results and interesting alternative textures by changing things up once in a while in dishes that normally need eggs to bind them or help them rise.

Now, I will be honest with you: the chia eggs did leave these particular fritters quite fragile and difficult to turn over. So feel free to use normal eggs if you don’t mind them. On the reverse, use the chia eggs, and replace the feta and poached egg with a vegan halloumi-style “cheese” to veganise the dish.

This lovely vegetarian combo can be served as a starter or light lunch. The avocado and feta dip is delicious on toasted sourdough or bagels. Or use it as a dip for crudités, toasted pitta bread or tortilla chips.

Goes without saying the Greek-style tomato salad is equally versatile to serve with whatever needs a colour and crunch upgrade. But then, I don’t need to teach you how to suck (chia) eggs, do I. Boom boom.

THE RECIPES

Sweet Potato, Kale and Courgette Chia Fritters (makes 12 – GF LC DF V RSF)

Sweet potato and Courgette fritters

Omit the feta to make this dairy free and vegan. Most feta uses vegetarian friendly rennet, but please check the label if you are vegetarian. Else use a vegetarian alternative or just leave it out.

The kale is entirely optional, but I quite like the bitterness of it contrasting with the sweetness of the other vegetables.

Use normal flour and baking powder if you don’t need this to be gluten free.

Ingredients

1 sweet potato, peeled and grated

A handful of kale, stems removed and torn into small shreds

1 small courgette, grated

2 eggs or chia eggs

1-2 tbsp (GF) flour (I used coconut flour)

1/4 tsp (GF) baking powder

1/2 red onion, peeled and sliced into thin half moons

2 tbsp finely diced or crumbled feta (optional)

a little mint, finely chopped

1 tbsp coconut oil

S&P

Optional to serve: green leaves, avocado and feta dip, Greek-style tomato salad, poached egg,  extra feta or (vegan) halloumi.

Sweet potato and Courgette fritters

Method

Generously salt the onion, sweet potato and courgette. Place in a cloth or muslin in a large sieve or colander. Allow the salt to extract the moisture from the vegetables for at least 30 mins.

Blanch the kale in boiling water for 40 secs, or blast it in the microwave for 1 min. Drain, squeeze dry and add to the vegetables in the cloth.

Wrap the cloth around the vegetables. Wring and squeeze firmly to get rid of any remaining moisture. Else your fritters will be soggy.

Add the drained vegetables to a large mixing bowl and season with pepper.

Stir through the (chia) eggs, mint, flour and baking powder. Mix thoroughly. Then gently stir through the feta. Set aside to rest for 15 mins or so.

sweet potato and Courgette fritters

Melt the coconut oil in a large non-stick frying pan or on a griddle.

Shape the mixture into individual patties, pressing the vegetables together best you can. Add them to the pan or griddle. Flatten down a bit if needed, but don’t try to make them look too tidy.

Fry the patties until golden on one side, then carefully flip and fry until golden on the other side as well.

Serve with any dip you like, or with the suggested accompaniments.

Sweet potato and Courgette fritters

Sweet potato and Courgette fritters

Avocado and Feta Dip  (GF LC V RSF)

Avocado and feta dip

Ingredients

1 avocado

70 gr feta, ricotta, soft goats cheese or cream cheese

zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

a little mint, finely chopped

S&P (I like to use white pepper for this)

Avocado and feta dip

Method

Either blend the avocado and feta until smooth, or mash together with a fork for a more rustic look. Stir through the mint and add lemon zest, juice and seasoning to taste.

Greek Style Tomato Salad  (GF LC DF V Vg RSF)

Lemony tomato pepper and avocado salad

Ingredients

A good handful of tomatoes, diced (I used a mixture of small heritage tomatoes)

8-10 cm cucumber, diced

1/2 pepper of any colour, deseeded and diced

1 avocado, diced

2 tbsp finely diced or crumbled feta (optional)

1 tbsp olive oil or rapeseed oil

zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

a little mint, finely chopped

S&P

Tomato salad with Greek flavours

Method

Whisk together the oil vinegar, herbs and seasoning. Combine the rest of the ingredients and mix the dressing through. Serve at room temperature, not straight from the fridge.

Sweet potato and Courgette fritters

Sweet potato and Courgette fritters

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