Zucchini Cakes are a great way to use up those prolific summer squashes. Made with fresh zucchini and a short list of simple ingredients, these tasty zucchini patties can be served as a light main dish, a side dish, or even as an appetizer.
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Mom always let our zucchinis grow to ginormous proportions before she picked them. Then she would slice and cook them 1950’s-style – boiled in salted water until they lost all signs of life. Served up flaccid and grey on my plate, they looked like the slugs Mom salted on the sidewalk at night. Our dog wouldn’t even eat them from under the table for me.
Fast forward about twenty years: we were invited to have dinner at the home of our friends, Bob and Vicky. When we arrived, Vicky informed us that we would be having, among other things, fresh zucchini. Vicky appeared so excited about her zucchini, as if it is something to look forward to.
Imagine my surprise then when Vicky placed before me a dish of lovely little green and yellow coins, lightly seasoned and perfectly tender-crisp. I nearly ask her what they were – I didn’t recognize them as zucchini! They were delicious!
That night over dinner, Vicky told us how she grew those little zucchinis in her very own garden, and that it was the first time she had ever planted zucchini. She went on to say that she had no idea how prolific they were, so she had planted about twelve zucchini hills. (If you’ve ever grown zucchini, you know what that means!)
Vicky sent me home with a bag of pickle-size zukes – and I was thrilled to have them!
It’s been a long time since I discovered my love for zucchini, and I’ve had lots of opportunities to learn how versatile they are.
Zucchini Cakes have become a summer favorite, and a great way to use those abundant summer squashes. This healthy zucchini cakes recipe outlines directions for baking them in the oven. (Slower, but healthier.) However, if you prefer, they can be fried in a skillet instead. (Quicker, and the results are prettier.)
Baked Zucchini Cakes can be served as either a light main dish, a side dish, or even an appetizer.
Baked Zucchini Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Roasting Red Peppers
- Place oven rack 4-5" away from heating element. Preheat boiler.
- Seed and remove stems from 1 1/2 red bell peppers. Brush both sides of each pepper half with olive oil. Place prepared pepper halves on a foil lined baking sheet.
- Place baking sheet in the oven and broil the pepper for 4-5 minutes on one side. Turn peppers over and broil peppers for another 4-5 minutes. The pepper skin will char.
- Remove broiled peppers from oven and allow to cool. When peppers are cool, use a paring knife (or your fingers) to carefully peel away as much of the pepper skin as possible.
- Preheat oven to 400°F [200°C]
- Finely chop one of the roasted pepper halves.
- In a medium bowl, combine chopped red pepper, zucchini, onion, Panko crumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.
- Pour beaten eggs into zucchini mixture and stir to combine.
- Bake the in the Oven (Zucchini cakes cooked this way aren't as pretty, but they're healthier.)Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray it with cooking spray. Form zucchini mixture into cakes and place on parchment. Bake cakes for 12-15 minutes, turn and bake another 12-15 minutes. I use a wide-mouth canning lid to make perfectly-formed cakes.
- OR Fry Them on the Stovetop (Fried zucchini cakes have a lovely, golden-brown crust, but they are higher in calories and fat.)Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough vegetable oil so that there is a thin coating across the entire skillet. Form patties or use a measuring cup to drop 1/4 cup size cakes onto the skillet. Fry on both sides until gold brown. Do not overcrowd the pan.
- Serve with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.
Making the Red Pepper Sauce
- Place 2 roasted red pepper halves, along with the remaining Sauce Ingredients, into a small blender cup and process until smooth.
- Serve hot or cold. Keeps in fridge for about a week.
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The Roasted Red Pepper Sauce in this zucchini cakes recipe is also delicious on Crab Cakes!