Have you ever seen three grown men get excited over zucchini? Because I have to say that was definitely a new experience for me.
Don’t get me wrong– there’s a lot to love about these Cheesy Garlic Zucchini Bites. They’re tender inside and crispy outside, kind of like what you’d expect out of a great tater tot. They’ve got a ton of cheddar cheese mixed in for that ooey-gooey factor. They’ve got garlic powder, fresh dill, and green onion to make ’em even tastier. And all of that zucchini? It’s mild in flavor so it doesn’t overpower any of the other ingredients (as evidenced by the aforementioned grown men being excited by these things), but makes the bites tender and, of course, loaded with vegetables.
We could even say that the zucchini makes them healthy, right?
Speaking of healthiness, did I mention that these Cheesy Garlic Zucchini Bites are baked? Usually I fry my zucchini up in the form of fritters, but this is my new favorite way– it’s just as tasty, much less messy, and ultra-dippable when they’re in those little bite-sized bits.
In fact, I think it might have been the whole serving them with ranch for dipping thing that piqued the guys’ interest.
That and the fact that these things smell AWESOME as they bake. Imagine the aroma of cheesy garlic bread in the oven, but with the knowledge that what you’re cooking up is actually not all that bad for you. That’s basically what you get here,.. and the bites taste even better than they smell.
So much so that when the mini-crowd we’ve amassed for watching Game of Thrones showed up to our place on Sunday, they actually devoured these. You know, it was kind of like Ramsay Bolton’s dogs. Or a swarm of wights. The point is that they ate them so quickly that George R.R. Martin would be awestruck by the scene.
Ok, I promise I’m done with the Game of Thrones references now. Stay with me here.
Whether you make these as a snack like I did, or as an appetizer, or even as a side dish, I would be willing to bet that they are just as huge as a hit in your house as they were in mine. If you’ve got a garden full of zucchini to use up, this is one seriously delicious way to do it. And if you’ve got picky eaters in your house that you’re struggling to get greens into, look no further than these Cheesy Garlic Zucchini Bites. You just can’t go wrong with these.
I’ve got three guys willing to testify to that.
- 2 cups shredded and patted dry zucchini (from about 2 medium-sized zucchini)
- 1 1/4 cup plain panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Ranch, for serving
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the zucchini, panko bread crumbs, cheddar cheese, egg, green onion, dill, and seasonings until well-combined.
- One tablespoon at a time, press the zucchini mixture into small balls. Place onto the baking sheet and repeat until all of the zucchini mixture has been used up.
- Bake until browned and crisp, about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Serve warm with ranch, for dipping, if desired.
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