Smoky Fried Zucchini Nuggets With a Spicy Dipping Sauce

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“A great easy recipe. Always a hit at BBQ's or cookouts. These make a perfect appetizer or starter course for a meal. The smoky bacon adds a lot of flavor, and a little spice is the perfect mix. No need to make patties, these bites are just dropped in by the spoon and served with a spicy "ranch like" sauce.”
24-36 Bites (depending on the size)

Ingredients Nutrition

  • Zucchini
  • 3 -4 medium zucchini, diced fine (skin on, lightly seeded)
  • 6 slices bacon, diced and sauteed until crisp (I like to use a smoky or hickory bacon if you can)
  • 12 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed and minced very fine
  • 1 small shallot, diced fine
  • 1 extra large egg (large, but don't use medium or jumbo)
  • 34 cup milk (no skim or low fat, half and half also works)
  • 1 12 cups all purpose flour
  • 12 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, diced fine
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Sauce
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 12 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, fine chopped (green and white parts)
  • 12 small chipotle in adobo sauce, minced (more or less to taste)
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Dip -- Simple - mix the sour cream, buttermilk, garlic, scallions, chipotle, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate. If you like it a bit thinner, just add a bit more buttermilk. Make ahead.
  2. Bacon -- Make this ahead as well. Just pan saute until crisp - remove to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.
  3. Zucchini -- I used 4, but they were a bit small. I actually mix all the flour and liquid ingredients first and then add in the zucchini. This way I start with 3 but I can always add another zucchini if needed.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the egg and milk and whisk well. Add in the cayenne, shallot, chives and jalapeno and stir to combine. Then add the flour and baking powder and finally add in the zucchini and bacon. Mix well to combine everything. As I said, you will need between 3-4 zucchinis depending on the size. It is a fairly thick mix, almost like hush puppies.
  5. Fry -- I used a large deep cast iron pan, but a small deep fryer will work as well. Use what you feel comfortable frying with. I happen to like a deep fry pan, but any method will work. About 3-4 cups of oil (vegetable) is what I used. Canola will also work. Heat to medium high, you want the oil hot - just like frying anything. My trick is to put the end of a wooden spoon in the oil and you should see bubbles around it. Simple method and it works every time.
  6. Add a heaping tablespoon of the mix into the oil, a few at a time -- don't over crowd the pan. Cook until golden brown. During cooking, you will need to roll the nuggets or bites over so they cook evenly. They don't take long 3-4 minutes is all mine took. Just until golden brown.
  7. Serve -- Enjoy with the dipping sauce. A spicy tomato sauce, marinara or even a spicy cheese sauce is a great dip for these bites. Simple and easy. A perfect way to get kids to eat their vegetables.

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