Monday, January 9, 2012

#51 New Recipes: Zucchini Cakes

I'm pretty picky about my vegetables (and well all food), which makes eating healthy kinda hard on me sometimes. I get tired of eating the same food, made the same way over and over again. Which is what makes goal #51 of my Day Zero project kind of exciting, I'm trying out a lot of new ways to make my staple items, one of which is zucchini. Now, normally I saute zucchini with some herbs and sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on it (delicious and healthy!). But I do get tired of the same old, same old and Pinterest has some awesome zucchini recipes that I decided to try out.

I served my zucchini cakes with the Artichoke Crusted Chicken that I tried a few weeks ago. Since the zucchini cakes have bread crumbs in them and the chicken has mayo and cheese, I decided I didn't need any additional carbs. Despite how small this dinner portion looks (I have big plates), it was very filling, not to mention tasty! A little bit of ranch on the zucchini cakes adds to the awesomeness, if not the overall healthiness.

1 large zucchini grated, excess water removed (Note: To do this, after you grate the zucchini, put the grated zucchini into paper towels and squeeze to release the water)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
sprinkle of ground nutmeg, about 1/8 teaspoon (Note: If you add too much if can quickly take over the taste, less is more)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1. Combine all ingredients, except olive oil, in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Using a heaping tablespoon form the mixture into 8 patties.
2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Once heated, add patties and cook until golden brown. About 3-4 minutes per side. Serve warm.

Now, those are pretty easy instructions, but it does take a little longer than the length of the instructions hints at. First of all, you have to grate your zucchini:

I did this onto the paper towel, knowing that I would be using it to squeeze out the excess water. You will end up with a rather large pile of grated zucchini.

At this point I realized that it had already leaked water all over the paper towels it was grated onto, so I added a couple extra and then held it over the sink and squeezed all the water out.

It is going to completely soak through your paper towels and turn green all over... I worried that the paper towel might stick to the zucchini and tear and I'd end up eating paper towel bits, but fortunately that didn't happen and it unwrapped really easily despite its balled appearance.

So! Finally we move onto step one: combining all the ingredients.

Because I was using Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs I skipped adding any of the seasonings listed in the recipe. I definitely need to go out and get some unseasoned bread crumbs though, because zucchini doesn't not have a very strong flavor and I think it was definitely over powered by the seasons in the bread crumbs I used. While delicious, I'd still like to try it the way the recipe calls for.

While I was mixing everything together the ingredients seemed dry and flaky and I didn't think they'd hold together very well, but once I actually got my hands in there and tried to make some patties they actually held together quite nicely.
I used Calphalon pans, which heat up and cook much faster than other types of pans, so I ended up keeping the cakes in the pan for only about 2 minutes on each side and they turned a nice golden brown!
I put them onto a paper towel, since they'd been cooking in oil, to soak up any extra oil that they might have left on them.

Chef Hubby was very impressed! He liked them a lot, especially with the artichoke chicken (which is one of his new favorite things for me to make =) It's nice cooking for an appreciative audience!

I'm going to keep looking for new zucchini recipes though, mostly because I feel like this isn't the healthiest zucchini recipe I've ever made - on the other hand if I don't have any other carb in the meal I think this is a pretty good option! Would also make a tasty appetizer.


  1. Yum these look awesome! Def trying!

  2. I am TOTALLY going to make these for hubby. He claims he doesn't like zucchini, although I suspect he's never actually had it before. This way I can sneak some health food into his diet. I'll just tell him it's broccoli or a lot of parsley or something. Muah hah ha!

  3. Hahaha that's awesome! You sneaky girl =)