This recipe for chicken zucchini poppers combines ground chicken and zucchini that’s been grated, along with a little bit of fresh garlic, for a quick and easy weeknight meal. Topping it off with a little creamy cilantro sauce gives these little chicken patties tons of flavor!
Healthy Chicken Zucchini Poppers
I honestly didn’t know whether to call these poppers, bites, or patties so I just settled on chicken zucchini poppers since it sounds much more fun. They’re truly just like mini chicken burgers! What I love about these is they’re healthy and flavorful. They don’t have any breading on them or egg mixed in so they’re naturally Whole30 approved, gluten free, and even Keto Heal Your Headache if you are following both diets.
With the holiday, and especially as a person with a food blog, it’s easy to feel a lot of pressure to put out these fancy recipes that are great for parties and having company over. Since it’s cold outside I feel more inclined to stay in and cook a cozy dinner, but sometimes I’m just too tired for a full meal with sides and everything. I noticed that during the week I found myself gravitating to “meat rolled into things” on lettuce. Lovely description, I know…have fun with that one, Google.
But just like these meatballs, I love that combining zucchini with ground chicken allowed these poppers to still stay moist while packing in a ton of extra veggies. For a super quick meal, I’ll just throw these on top of lettuce and drizzle with the creamy cilantro sauce.
Creamy Cilantro Sauce
Now of course using this sauce wouldn’t make this meal totally Whole30 and/or dairy free unless you left out the cottage cheese. You can totally do that and just use all mayo, but you may need to use a little bit more mayo to make the mixture thick. If you have an egg sensitivity, check out this Aquafaba Mayo recipe.
Once you’re done blending the ingredients for the cilantro sauce together, just pop this back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You want to give it time to thicken and also for the flavors to really combine.
I love garlic so I use one whole clove in the creamy cilantro sauce. As you know, garlic cloves range in size. The other night I tested this recipe with one of those super large, hulk garlic cloves and was thankful I was not on a first date. Honestly garlic breath is probably the best kind of bad breath you can have, but I digress.
If you’re a garlic lover, just use a whole clove, preferably small to medium size. If you hate garlic, then try just a half of a clove and taste test. You can always add more later and the flavor will get stronger as it sits.
This sauce goes great with these chicken zucchini poppers, but it can also be used on burgers or tossed with a salad.
Tips to Make Ahead
I sometimes like to double the batch on these and make them for lunches or to have on hand if I don’t feel up to cooking. If you’re freezing these, thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat in the oven or microwave. If reheating in the oven, I cover my chicken patties with tin foil (sealed all around) and then place it in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. By the time the oven gets warmed up, they’re usually warmed through.
However you serve these chicken zucchini poppers, I know your family will love them for a healthy, quick, and delicious meal.
For more easy and fast recipes see:
Chicken Zucchini Poppers with Creamy Cilantro Sauce
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1-2 medium zucchini squash 1.5 cups shredded
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons oil for cooking
Creamy Cilantro Sauce
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- ½ garlic clove (or more depending on preference)
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon cottage cheese
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- Combine cilantro, garlic clove, mayonnaise, cottage cheese, and vinegar in a food processor and blend till combined. Pop in the fridge to thicken and let flavors combine at least 30 min. You can also just chop the cilantro small and mix everything together by hand. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- On a cheese grater, grate the fresh zucchini squash into small pieces and place on a paper towel. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of kosher salt and squeeze to remove excess moisture. Place into a large bowl with chicken, garlic, chives, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and a sprinkle of fresh black pepper. Form mixture into 3 inch patties, you should have 6 total.
- Prepare a large nonstick or cast iron skillet with oil and bring to medium heat. Cook chicken patties on each side for 4 minutes until browned on both sides and cooked through. If they're not quite cooked through but getting really brown, pop them in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 minutes or so.
- Serve warm with dipping sauce or top each popper with a little bit of the sauce.
- If you can't find fresh chives, you can substitute green onion.
- If you want to make this all paleo/Whole30, leave out the cottage cheese and replace it with mayo. Cut back on the vinegar to 1-2 teaspoons to taste. Mixture might be a little more thin.
- For an egg free mayo, see my Aquafaba Mayo recipe
- Store in the fridge or in the freezer for long term (see post for defrost instructions).