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Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis

Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis – a healthy version of your favourite Indian street food. Deliciously spicy, crispy on the outside and yet soft and light on the inside. Naturally vegan and gluten free.

Complete your homemade Indian feast with a batch of fragrantly spiced Courgette and Onion Bhajis served with a minty dip. Quick and easy to make and no need for a deep fat fryer!

Too many courgettes ? Regular visitors to the Kitchen Shed will know I’m always looking for ways to use up our courgettes and I think my bhajis deliver a really tasty transformation.

Baked courgette and onion bhajis on a slate platter with a minty dip and lime wedges.

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Feedback from my taste tester panel (family and friends) to my latest addition to our courgette recipe collection was unanimously positive. In fact, based on their responses, I think Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis might end up being more popular than my Courgette Chutney or Brownies.

Onion bhajis are one of my favourite treats but so often they can be a disappointment. Supermarket offerings or even some restaurant bhajis can be a real let-down. My Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis are so much better than any store bought and they have the added bonus of being healthier and less calorie laden. They are set to become a very popular starter dish on our homemade healthy Indian takeaway nights when we tuck into Roast Bombay Potatoes and Beef Madras curry.

A pile of bhajis on a slate platter.

What Are Bhajis ?

Bhajis (part of the pakora family) are an Indian snack often served with a cup of chai. They have become a firm favourite as a starter in the UK since the 1980s.

You may also see bhajis referred to as pakodas.
Vegetables, fish or meat are deep fried in a batter made with gram/chickpea flour and spices. Here in the UK, onion bhajis are the most popular.

What Equipment Do I Need ?

  • A spiraliser or grater. I’ve used a spiraliser in this recipe because the long strands of courgette, when compared with grated courgette, give more shape to the bhaji. And you don’t need to spend a fortune on a spiraliser these days. Mine is from Amazon, it’s easy to use and comes apart for easy cleaning.
  • A muffin tin or large baking sheet. I like to use a heavy based muffin tin as you get a more even bake. My favourite muffin tin is by Masterclass.

What Do I Need To Make Healthy Courgette Bhajis ?

Two images showing spiralised courgettes, onion and spice and flour ingredients.

Courgettes / zucchini. To make 12 bhajis you need 500 grams which is about 2 medium courgettes.

Red Onion – use one red onion. I prefer the sweeter taste of red onions when they are cooked because it contrasts with the slightly bitter flavour and hint of onion in the nigella seeds. However, brown or yellow onions will give good results.

Gram, Besan, or Chickpea flour. I used Besan flour and I love the nutty earthy flavour it adds to the bhajis. It gives a crunchy and crispy finish and has the added bonus of being gluten free. You can buy Gram flour or Besan flour from most UK supermarkets these days but if you can’t find it locally to you, you can order it online.

Rice flour and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda. Rice flour adds extra crispness to the batter and bicarb makes the bhajis light and fluffy.

Spices – I’ve used a blend of Indian dried spices. You will need turmeric, nigella seeds, coriander, cumin and chilli powder. I like to use fresh ginger for a background fiery heat.

How To Make Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis

Oven baked bhajis are easy and quick to make and you can have a batch ready from start to finish in around 35 minutes. For full recipe instructions see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Salt spiralised courgettes and leave to drain while you weigh out and prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Squeeze excess water out of the courgettes before transferring them to a large mixing bowl.
A set of four images showing how to spiralise courgettes and sal them.
  • Mix the red onion slices in with the courgette before adding the spices and flours so they evenly coat the courgette and onion. You shouldn’t need to add any water as the courgette will continue to ooze liquid even though you have already squeezed out excess water.
A set of four images to show how to mix the bhaji batter in a bowl.
  • Spoon the bhaji mix into your muffin tin or pile up in mounds if you’re using a baking sheet.
  • Pop in the oven for 25 minutes, brushing the bhajis with oil halfway through baking.
  • Once cooked, leave to rest for 5 minutes before removing from the tin.
Two images to showing the batter being spooned into the muffin tin.

Why Are My Oven Baked Bhajis Not Crispy ?

  • Make sure you leave your courgettes to drain while you prepare the rest of the ingredients and then squeeze out any excess water.
  • Finely slice your onions and make sure they are roughly the same size – the onions will cook evenly and quickly.
  • Using rice flour in the batter mix helps to give a crispy result.
  • Do not add extra water – there will still be plenty of moisture in the squeezed courgette to bring the batter together.
  • Don’t leave the batter mix to stand use it straightaway.

How To Serve

A hand dipping a bhaji onto a minty dip.
  • With a minty yogurt dip or chilli sauce
  • A starter for your homemade Indian feast
  • A light lunch with salad
  • In a wrap like falafel but with mango chutney or raita
  • Perfect picnic food

How Long Do They Keep ?

We can easily eat a batch of these in one sitting as they are so moreish! But if you want to save some for another day, make sure they have cooled down before storing in an airtight container in the fridge where they will keep for up to 3 days.
Reheat in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 160 C.

Can I Freeze Courgette Bhajis ?

Yes, you can! Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis freeze well. Why not make a double batch and pop some in the freezer for later ?

Once cooled, place your bhajis in a freezer bag or a sealed container before freezing. Bhajis will keep for up to three months in your freezer.

Allow frozen bhajis to defrost before reheating in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 160°C.

Baked bhajis on parchment paper on a slate.

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More Courgette/Zucchini Recipes…..

Courgette Brownies

Courgette and Feta Muffins

Savoury Courgette Bread

Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis

Baked Courgette & Onion Bhajis – a healthy version of your favourite Indian street food. Deliciously spicy, crispy on the outside and yet soft and light on the inside. Naturally vegan & gluten free.
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate Save Recipe
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12 Bhajis
Calories: 82kcal
Author: Sarah James

Equipment

  • spiraliser
  • muffin tin or a lined baking sheet

Ingredients

  • 500 g courgette – about 2 medium courgettes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 red onion
  • 100 g besan or gram/chickpea flour
  • 2 tbs rice flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbs rapeseed/canola oil

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6
  • Spiralise your courgettes using the coarse setting to give the thickest strings.
  • Mix spiralised courgette with salt in a colander and leave to one side to drain.
  • Slice red onions as thinly as you can. Make sure your onion slices are all roughly the same size.
  • Squeeze the excess water out of the courgettes before transferring to a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix the red onion slices in with the courgette.
  • Add spices and flours until the courgette and onion are evenly coated. You shouldn’t need to add any water as the courgette will continue to ooze liquid even though you have already squeezed out excess water.
  • Add ½ tsp of oil to each muffin cup.
  • Evenly distribute the bhaji mixture into the muffin cups – about one heaped tablespoonful per cup. If you are using a lined baking sheet – pile up in 12 equal mounds.
  • Pop in the oven for 25 minutes, brushing your bhajis with oil halfway through baking.
  • Once cooked, leave to rest for 5 minutes before removing from the tin.

Video

Notes

  • Serve with a minty yogurt dip or chilli sauce.
  • If you want to save some bhajis for another day, make sure they have cooled down before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Courgette and Onion Bhajis freeze well. Why not make a double batch and pop some in the freezer for later ?
  • Allow frozen bhajis to defrost before reheating in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 160°C.
  • Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Nutrition Facts
Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis
Serving Size
 
12 g
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
82
Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
4
g
6
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Sodium
 
250
mg
11
%
Potassium
 
203
mg
6
%
Carbohydrates
 
8
g
3
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
2
g
2
%
Protein
 
3
g
6
%
Vitamin A
 
114
IU
2
%
Vitamin C
 
8
mg
10
%
Calcium
 
16
mg
2
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Pin For Later

Two images, first showing pakoras with a mint dip and lime wedges and second showing batter in a muffin tin.

I’m linking Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis to Cook Blog Share hosted by Lavender and Lovage, Sew White and guests. This week’s host is Marita over at My Dinner

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Recipe Rating




Janet Huyton

Thursday 19th of August 2021

Hi - can't use rice flour as hubby is diabetic, could I put a bit of coconut flour in or more baking powder do you think? thanks for reading!

Sarah James

Thursday 19th of August 2021

Hi Janet, thanks for getting in touch. I use rice flour as it adds to the crispness and lightness of the batter. As I understand it, coconut flour is coarser than rice flour so I think the best option is to substitute with more besan or chickpea flour. I have had good results making the bhajis with all besan flour. Do let me know how you get on.

Kat (Kat's Veg Kitchen)

Sunday 18th of July 2021

I must try these- they sound so yummy!!

Sarah James

Sunday 18th of July 2021

Thanks Kat, they're so easy to make. Do let me know how you get on :-)

Janice Pattie

Friday 16th of July 2021

A wonderful recipe, it ticks all my boxes especially as my courgette plants have gone bonkers!

Sarah James

Saturday 17th of July 2021

Thanks Janice, you can never have enough courgette recipes :-) Our Courgette Bhajis have been so popular I'm making some more tonight for our curry night with friends.

Choclette

Tuesday 13th of July 2021

Ooh what a very splendid idea. Love onion bhajis, but I bet they're equally good if not better with courgettes in too. I hate deep fat frying, so baked ticks all my boxes.

Our courgette glut has just started. Strangely, I've just posted a new courgette recipe too.

Corina Blum

Tuesday 13th of July 2021

I love onion bhajis and its a great idea to bake them to make them a little healthier.

Sarah James

Tuesday 13th of July 2021

Thanks Corina, we love them too. I wasn't sure they would be as good as fried but family and friends prefer our baked option. Had a request to make them again for our family curry night at the weekend.