These cavolo nero and corn fritters are perfect for brunch, lunch or a vegetarian dinner. They are tasty and nutritious, plus gluten-free and nut-free, making them ideal for lunch boxes. They are served with a side of spiced mayo yoghurt sauce. If you’ve been looking for creative cavolo nero recipes (also known as Lacinato kale or Tuscan kale), make sure to give these healthy fritters a go.
What if I told you these are the best fritters I’ve ever tried? Well, they are! And, I’m not bragging. They are perfectly crispy, light and not too bready, with the gorgeous fresh flavour of leafy greens and sweet corn.
I think magic happens when you cook fritters made with shredded kale as well as sweet corn. You know how kale gets nice and crispy when you roast it? I think this works just as well in a frying pan. Plus, the batter has a little grated Parmesan cheese which melts into the most delicious crust when these corn fritters are cooked.
These fritters can be made with regular kale or cavolo nero (Lacinato kale, Tuscan kale) and fresh, frozen or canned corn. They are gluten-free, nut-free and vegetarian-friendly.
What Are Fritters?
A fritter is a fried pastry or a pattie made with thick batter or breading filled with shredded or chopped veggies, meat, seafood, cheese, fruit or other ingredients. Fritter batter looks like something between a pancake batter and burger or pattie mixture. It’s thick and moist but not too runny. Fritters are usually shallow-fried or deep-fried in oil to achieve a crispy crust. They can be sweet or savoury.
You can often find fritters on breakfast and brunch menus in cafes. I still remember my first experience with corn fritters at Bills cafe on Crown Street in Sydney. They were a little more doughy than I like but so delicious. You might have seen recipes for zucchini fritters, sweet potato fritters and corn is often added because it gives them great texture and sweetness.
What Is Cavolo Nero?
Cavolo nero is also known as Tuscan kale or Lacinato kale, and it works brilliantly in fritters. Here is a pic of what it looks like. The leaves are dark green and have that lovely marbling texture. Similarly to kale, the leaves are more stringent than say spinach or chard and need a bit of preparation before you eat them.
If you want to eat cavolo nero or kale raw, you have to give it a little massage to break down the fibres and to make it easier to digest (and to chew!). Otherwise, it can be sauteed, braised, stir-fried or added to soups and stews. You can also roast cavolo nero leaves like you would with kale chips.
Cavolo nero is as nutritious as kale. It’s full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and rich in fibre. It’s low in carbs and calories, making it perfect for those following a weight loss plan.
How To Make Corn Fritters
First, we have to prepare our two key ingredients: cavolo nero (or regular kale) and sweet corn.
Cut the leaves away from the firm stalk (you can use it in a soup) and slice into thin strips. Sprinkle the shredded cavolo nero leaves with a little salt and massage for 20-30 seconds with your hands. This process will soften the fibres and moisten the leaves.
I used fresh corn in this recipe. I cooked it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then rinsed under cold water and sliced the kernels off. You can use canned or frozen sweet corn instead. If using frozen corn, defrost it in a bowl of hot water first.
What’s In The Fritter Batter
To make the batter, combine our pre-massaged cavolo nero leaves with sweet corn kernels in a bowl. Add the seasonings, eggs, and grated Parmesan cheese and stir. Finally, I used a bit of cassava flour to thicken the batter. It’s a grain-free, nut-free starchy flour and you can find it in health food stores and online. You can also use tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, buckwheat or quinoa flour.
The batter will look like it might not hold together when you make the fritters out of it, but trust me, it will all work out!
Cooking Th Fritters
Okay, now the most exciting part of the process: frying the fritters. You don’t need too much oil to get these babies nice and crispy. I use about two tablespoons, to begin with, and get the pan medium-hot. Use a 1/4 cup or a tablespoon to scoop a pancake-sized fritter. Pop it in the pan and use the back of the spoon or the cup to press it to flatten it down.
As I said before, it might seem like the fritters won’t hold, but once they start to cook, the batter and the melted Parmesan will glue everything together, and the bottom will crisp up. Turn them over with a spatula after about 2-3 minutes or when you see the edges are starting to brown. Add a little more oil when you flip them over to prevent burning and to ensure that lovely crispiness.
What To Serve With Fritters
Every good fritter needs something to be dipped in. You can use regular mayonnaise, tomato sauce, sweet chilli sauce, pesto or aioli. I make a simple sauce with mayonnaise, Greek yoghurt, tomato paste, basil and garlic. Curried yoghurt or mayo with some grated garlic would also be a tasty condiment.
Fritters go well with fried or poached eggs, as you can use them to mop up all that runny yolk. If having these for lunch or dinner, serve a side salad or green veggies. I decided on a few cherry tomatoes.
Want to take it up a notch? Crispy bacon, smoked salmon or pan-fried mushrooms would be wicked additions.
How Long Do The Fritters Keep?
I’ve kept these in the fridge for the next two days, and they were just as tasty cold or reheated in a pan. Store them in an airtight container. I haven’t tried freezing them, but in general, fritters can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat in a pan in a little oil to return the crispiness.
More Recipes You Might Like
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Low-Carb Cauliflower Hash Browns
Paleo Broccoli Pancakes
Cavolo Nero Salad With Tomatoes & Fried Garlic Oil
Turmeric Chicken & Kale Salad With Honey Lime Dressing
Vegan & Paleo Mushroom Nut Roast
Find the full list of ingredients, instructions, and a nutritional breakdown below. If you have questions or cook this recipe, please let me know in the comments, and make sure to rate this recipe so it’s easy for others to find.
- 150 g cavolo nero kale, diced (6 leaves)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cobs corns boiled for 2-3 minutes
- 1 spring onion finely diced
- 1/2 red chili
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup cassava flour or tapioca flour
- Olive oil or coconut oil for cooking about 4-5 tablespoons
For the sauce
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons plain yoghurt of choice
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 5 basil leaves finely chopped
- 1 small clove garlic grated
- A pinch of salt
- First, we have to prepare our two key ingredients: cavolo nero (or regular kale) and sweet corn.
- Cut the cavolo nero leaves away from the firm stalk (you can use it in a soup) and slice into thin strips. Sprinkle the shredded cavolo nero leaves with a little salt and massage for 20-30 seconds with your hands. This process will soften the fibres and moisten the leaves.
- I used fresh corn in this recipe. Cook it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then rinse under cold water and slice the kernels off. You can use canned or frozen sweet corn instead. If using frozen corn, defrost it in a bowl of hot water first.
- Combine shredded, massaged cavolo nero with corn and the rest of the ingredients except for the flour. Mix well and then add the flour. Stir well.
- Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add about two tablespoons of oil, to begin with. Use a 1/4 cup or a tablespoon to scoop a pancake-sized fritter. Pop it in the pan and use the back of the spoon or the cup to flatten it down.
- It might seem like the fritters won't hold, but once they start to cook, the batter and the melted Parmesan will glue everything together, and the bottom will crisp up. Turn them over with a spatula after about 2-3 minutes or when you see the edges are starting to brown. Add a little more oil when you flip them over to prevent burning and to ensure that lovely crispiness. Cook for two more minutes on the other side. I had to cook the mix in two batches.
- In the meantime, combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Serve the fritters with the sauce and a side salad or some cherry tomatoes.
- Kale or Swiss chard can be used instead of cavolo nero.
- For a dairy-free version, omit the cheese. The crust might be of slightly different texture but they fritters should still cook well.