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Cauliflower Fritters

cauliflower fritters

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

cauliflower beignets

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

I love these fritters. No, actually I LOVE these fritters! This is one of the best vegetarian recipes I have ever come up with — every bit as tasty as they are beautiful.

The consistency of these croquettes is soft – mashed potatoes are the primary binder. Chopped cauliflower adds texture, parsley color and chickpea flour a lovely brown crust; if you can’t find chickpea flour, use regular flour instead.

But as good as these fritters are, the whole plate is better than the sum of its parts. I’ve fallen in love with these chile threads, expertly sliced dried chiles that add texture, color and a little heat to the dish. I like how they look like saffron. Chile threads are available in Korean markets (they’re normally used in making kimchee), or online through Earthy Delights.

The yellow sauce is a saffron aioli, basically a homemade garlic mayonnaise with saffron. It is a wonderful accompaniment to the fritter.

Makes about 25 ping-pong ball sized fritters

  • 1 pound waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
  • 18 ounces cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt
  • 1-2 cups chickpea or regular flour
  • Oil for deep-frying (peanut, canola, safflower, etc)
  • Smoked paprika for garnish
  • 1 recipe saffron aioli
  • chile threads (optional)


  1. Peel and slice the potatoes into 1-2 inch chunks. Boil them in salty water until soft, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, saute the onion in the olive oil until the onion begins to color. Turn off the heat and set aside for the moment.
  3. Fish the potatoes out of the water and mash them in a large bowl.
  4. Turn the heat back onto the water you boiled the potatoes in and boil the cauliflower until it is al dente — soft, but not mushy. Remove and drain.
  5. Pour the onion into a food processor and buzz a few seconds to turn it into something between a puree and a mash. Don’t pulse more than a few times. Move the onions to the bowl with the potatoes.
  6. Pulse the cauliflower a few times to break into small pieces. You do not want to come anywhere near a puree here: The cauliflower needs to retain texture in the finished fritter. Add it to the bowl with the potatoes and onions.
  7. Mix in the parsley and mix well to combine. Taste and add salt if it needs it.
  8. Mix in the eggs.
  9. Heat the oil in your deep-fryer to 360 degrees. If you don’t have a deep-fryer, pour the oil into a large, heavy pot (like a Dutch oven) 3-4 inches deep.
  10. To make the fritters, use a tablespoon to scoop heaping balls of the mixture and pat into a ball. Roll this gently in the chickpea or regular flour and deep fry in batches. You want the fritters to be golden brown, so they will take 3-4 minutes to cook. Drain on a rack with a paper towel set underneath.
  11. To serve, scatter a few chile threads on the plate. Put a dollop of saffron aioli on the plate and anchor the fritter to the plate by placing it on half the aioli. Dust with the smoked paprika before serving.

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