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This recipe for zucchini tempura tacos is what the late Bob Ross would call, a “happy little accident.” Sometimes the best recipes start out that way, though.
Last year, while we were under quarantine, we began ordering fresh produce from a local farm. In one of the boxes, we elected to add on a recipe box that included zucchini flowers.
I was eager to make them. I pulled out all of the ingredients, including these zucchini flowers that I’ve never heard of, and attempted to make tacos for my family. I’ll spare you the details, but the recipe was missing instruction and they just weren’t turning out like anything I thought my family would eat.
So, I improvised. I grabbed the zucchini out of the produce box and happened to have some tempura batter mix in the pantry. I fried the zucchini and topped it with the slaw I had already made for the original recipe and sprinkled it with cotija cheese. My family LOVED them.
Before I share our homemade zucchini tempura tacos recipe, let me share a few tips.
It’s super important to make sure that your oil is heated to 350º. I purchased an instant-read cooking thermometer last year that makes the process so much easier!
Turn the zucchini every minute or so, so that all of the sides cook equally and they don’t burn.
If you like extra sauce on your tacos, mix together the mayo, lime juice, and spices before adding in the coleslaw mix. Save 1/4 cup of the sauce on the side. Then combine what’s left with the coleslaw mix (bag of shredded cabbage and carrots). You can drizzle the extra sauce on top of each taco before serving.
Can I use other veggies instead of or in addition to the zucchini?
While we haven’t tried it yet, we do love vegetable tempura! You can try sweet potatoes, onions, peppers, or broccoli. Just test out one piece to make sure that they are cooked to your liking, as different veggies will cook differently once battered and fried.
Do you have a tempura batter mix that you prefer?
I buy the Kikkoman Tempura Batter Mix. It’s easy to use and all you need is 2/3 cup of ice-cold water for every cup of tempura batter mix. That will give you a thicker batter.
What is the easiest way to cut the zucchini?
I chop the ends off of each zucchini and then quarter them. Next, I slice them all in half so that I have pieces that are approximately 3″ by 1/2″. They don’t have to be perfect, but you want them to be around the same size so that they cook evenly.
What if we don’t like mayo?
I typically buy the avocado oil mayo, but you can also use greek yogurt or sour cream if you aren’t a fan of mayonnaise.
I’ve tried to show the steps in the photos above for you, to make it a bit easier to make these zucchini tempura tacos.
Step 1: Place all of the cilantro-lime slaw ingredients into a large bowl.
Step 2: Mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate.
Step 3: Mix the tempura batter according to the instructions on the box.
Step 4: Coat zucchini pieces in batter (6 at a time). Fry in oil for 4-5 minutes. Repeat with remaining pieces of zucchini.
Step 5: Place fried zucchini tempura in a bowl with a paper towel on the bottom. This will help drain any excess oil.
Step 6: Build your taco! Place one or two pieces of zucchini tempura in a warm tortilla, cover in slaw and sprinkle cotija cheese.
zucchini tempura tacosPrint
Looking for a change for your next taco night?! These delicious zucchini tempura tacos feature lightly battered zucchini, a cilantro-lime slaw, and cotija cheese.
Cilantro Lime Slaw:
- 1 12oz bag of coleslaw mix
- 1 cup mayo
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Taco Filling Ingredients:
- 2 zucchinis, sliced into 1/2 inch thick and 3 inch tall pieces
- 1 box of tempura batter mix (plus ingredients listed on box)
- vegetable oil
- cotija cheese
- corn tortillas or taco shells
- Place all of the cilantro-lime coleslaw ingredients into a large bowl. Mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate.
- Pour approximately 2 inches of oil into a deep pan and heat to 350º.
- Mix the tempura batter according to the instructions on the box.
- Coat zucchini pieces in batter (6 at a time). Fry in heated oil for 4 minutes, turning every minute or so until golden brown. Repeat with remaining pieces of zucchini.
- Place fried zucchini tempura in a bowl with a paper towel in the bottom. This will help drain any excess oil.
- Warm your tortillas or taco shells.
- Build your taco! Place one or two pieces of zucchini tempura in a warm tortilla, cover in slaw and sprinkle cotija cheese.
If you try our zucchini tempura tacos, we’d love to hear your thoughts. If you take a picture or share it on social media, don’t forget to tag us! Don’t forget to check out all of our family-friendly recipes!