Zucchini Garlic Bites Recipe | Healthy & Delicious Appetizer


Zucchini garlic bites are a delightful appetizer that combines the fresh flavors of zucchini with the aromatic punch of garlic. These bite-sized treats are perfect for any occasion, offering a crispy exterior and a tender, flavorful interior. Originating as a creative way to use up the abundant summer zucchini, these bites have gained popularity for their versatility and ease of preparation.

In recent years, zucchini garlic bites have become a staple at parties and family gatherings. Their rise in popularity can be attributed to their simplicity and the increasing interest in healthy, vegetable-based snacks. Additionally, their ability to be adapted to various dietary needs—such as gluten-free, keto, and vegan—makes them a favorite among diverse groups of people.

The purpose of this article is to provide a comprehensive guide to making zucchini garlic bites at home. From understanding what they are and their essential ingredients to step-by-step instructions and tips for perfecting the recipe, this article aims to be your go-to resource. Additionally, we’ll explore various adaptations and answer frequently asked questions to ensure your zucchini garlic bites are a success.

What Are Zucchini Garlic Bites?

Zucchini garlic bites are a savory appetizer made primarily from shredded zucchini and garlic. These bite-sized morsels are typically mixed with breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs, then baked until golden brown. They are often served with a marinara dipping sauce, adding an Italian-inspired twist.

Key Ingredients:

  • Zucchini: The star of the dish, providing moisture and a subtle flavor.
  • Garlic: Adds a robust, aromatic element.
  • Parmesan cheese: Offers a nutty, salty taste and helps bind the mixture.
  • Breadcrumbs: Essential for texture and structure.
  • Fresh herbs: Such as parsley, basil, and oregano, enhancing the flavor profile.

Tips for Perfect Zucchini Garlic Bites

Creating the perfect zucchini garlic bites involves a few key steps to ensure they turn out crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Tips for Removing Moisture:

  • Grate and squeeze: After grating the zucchini, place it in a clean kitchen towel. Twist the towel tightly to wring out as much moisture as possible. This step is crucial for achieving a crispy texture.
  • Salt and drain: Sprinkle a little salt on the grated zucchini and let it sit for 10 minutes. This helps draw out excess water. Afterward, squeeze the zucchini again to remove the released moisture.

Ingredient Substitutions:

  • Breadcrumbs: For a gluten-free option, use gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond flour. Almond meal also works well and adds a nutty flavor.
  • Cheese: If you don’t have Parmesan cheese, try using grated Romano or Asiago. For a vegan version, use nutritional yeast or a vegan Parmesan substitute.

Ensuring the Right Texture:

  • Mix thoroughly: Combine the ingredients until they are well mixed, ensuring an even distribution of flavors.
  • Consistency check: The mixture should be moist but firm enough to hold its shape when formed into balls. If it’s too wet, add more breadcrumbs; if too dry, add a little beaten egg.

Variations and Adaptations

Zucchini garlic bites can be adapted in several ways to fit different dietary needs and cooking methods.

Air Fryer Method:

  • Preheat the air fryer: Set your air fryer to 375°F.
  • Cook evenly: Place the zucchini bites in the air fryer basket, leaving space between them. Cook for 10-15 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through to ensure even cooking. This method yields a crispy exterior with less oil.

Keto and Gluten-Free Options:

  • Keto adaptation: Replace breadcrumbs with almond flour or crushed pork rinds to keep the bites low in carbs.
  • Gluten-free option: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond meal. Ensure all other ingredients, like the baking powder, are also gluten-free.

Vegan Adaptations:

  • Egg replacement: Use a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water) as a binder.
  • Cheese substitute: Replace Parmesan with nutritional yeast or a vegan cheese alternative. This will maintain the cheesy flavor without the dairy.

Using Dried Herbs:

  • Flavor intensity: Dried herbs are more concentrated than fresh. Use half the amount of dried herbs as you would fresh. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, use 1/2 tablespoon of dried basil.
  • Mix well: Incorporate dried herbs thoroughly into the mixture to ensure the flavors are evenly distributed.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Proper storage and reheating are essential to maintain the delicious texture and flavor of your zucchini garlic bites.

How to Store Leftovers:

  • Refrigeration: Place the cooked zucchini garlic bites in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Make sure they are completely cooled before sealing the container to prevent moisture buildup.

Freezing Instructions:

  • Flash freezing: Arrange the cooked and cooled zucchini bites in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the sheet in the freezer for about an hour.
  • Storage: Once the bites are frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. Label with the date and use within 4 months for the best quality.

Reheating Tips:

  • Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Arrange the zucchini bites on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and crispy.
  • Air Fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 375°F and cook the frozen bites for 10-15 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through.

Serving Suggestions

Zucchini garlic bites are versatile and can be paired with a variety of sauces and incorporated into different meals.

Pairing with Sauces:

  • Marinara Sauce: A classic choice that complements the Italian flavors.
  • Ranch or Garlic Aioli: These creamy dips add a delightful contrast to the crispy bites.
  • Spicy Sriracha Mayo: For those who prefer a bit of heat.

Incorporating into Meals:

  • With Spaghetti: Serve the zucchini garlic bites on top of a bed of spaghetti, similar to meatballs, and drizzle with extra marinara sauce.
  • Salad Topper: Add the bites to a fresh salad for a crunchy texture and extra flavor.
  • Appetizer Platter: Combine with other appetizers like bruschetta and cheese sticks for a delicious and varied platter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cooking in an Air Fryer:

  • Preheat and Cook: Preheat your air fryer to 375°F. Place the zucchini garlic bites in the basket, ensuring they are not touching. Cook for 10-15 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Making Ahead and Baking Later:

  • Refrigerate the Mixture: Prepare the mixture and refrigerate it in an airtight container. When ready to bake, form the bites and proceed with baking as usual.

Gluten-Free Substitutions:

  • Breadcrumb Alternatives: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond meal. Crushed almond crackers also work well as a substitute.

Freezing and Reheating:

  • Freeze First, Then Store: Freeze the baked and cooled bites on a baking sheet before transferring them to a freezer-safe bag. Reheat in a preheated oven at 400°F for 10-15 minutes or in an air fryer at 375°F for 10-15 minutes.

Using Dried Herbs Instead of Fresh:

  • Conversion Ratio: Use half the amount of dried herbs as you would fresh. For example, use 1/2 tablespoon of dried basil instead of 1 tablespoon of fresh basil.

Vegan Options:

  • Flax Egg: Replace the egg with a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water). Use nutritional yeast or a vegan cheese alternative instead of Parmesan.

Alternative Cheeses:

  • Cheese Varieties: Romano, Asiago, or even nutritional yeast can replace Parmesan. Softer cheeses may affect the texture but will still be delicious.

Using Frozen Shredded Zucchini:

  • Thaw and Drain: Thaw the frozen zucchini and squeeze out the excess moisture before using it in the recipe.

Health Benefits of Zucchini Garlic Bites

Nutritional Value of Zucchini:

  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Zucchini is high in vitamins A and C, potassium, and dietary fiber, contributing to overall health and wellness.

Health Benefits of Garlic and Herbs:

  • Garlic: Known for its immune-boosting properties and ability to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Fresh Herbs: Provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits, enhancing the nutritional value of the bites.

Low-Calorie Snack Option:

  • Calorie Count: Zucchini garlic bites are low in calories, making them a great snack for those watching their calorie intake while still enjoying a flavorful treat.


In conclusion, zucchini garlic bites are a versatile and delicious appetizer that can be easily adapted to fit various dietary needs. With tips on removing moisture, ingredient substitutions, and variations like air fryer and vegan options, this recipe ensures a crispy and flavorful bite every time. Storing and reheating instructions help you enjoy these bites anytime, while serving suggestions inspire creative pairings.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Zucchini Garlic Bites Recipe | Healthy & Delicious Appetizer

  • Author: Sophia
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 24 bites 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


These Zucchini Garlic Bites are a delicious and healthy appetizer, perfect for parties and gatherings.


  • 1 cup shredded zucchini, drained well
  • 1 clove garlic, grated fine
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (or 1 tablespoon dried chives)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or 1/2 tablespoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Tomato sauce for dipping

Unlock the door to culinary bliss. Start cooking now!

ebook recipes


  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. Prepare Zucchini: Use a box grater to grate the zucchini into a clean towel. Roll up the towel and twist to wring out the moisture.
  3. Prepare Garlic: Grate the garlic using the small holes on the box grater.
  4. Mix Ingredients: Add the shredded zucchini, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan, chives, parsley, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to a medium bowl. Mix well to combine.
  5. Shape Mixture: Shape a tablespoon of the mixture into your hands, pat into small balls, and place on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake: Bake for 15-18 minutes in the preheated oven until golden. Serve warm with marinara sauce.


To make these bites gluten-free, use gluten-free bread crumbs. You can also add different herbs and spices to suit your taste.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 20kcal
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Sodium: 63mg
  • Fat: 1g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 8mg

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating