What Are Zucchini Pancakes?

Jennifer Voight

Zucchini pancakes are a type of patty made of a batter containing grated zucchini, flour, and eggs. The batter is typically flavored with salt and pepper, although other seasonings may be added as needed. Sometimes additional ingredients, like onions or cheese, may be used. Zucchini pancakes are fried in oil in a skillet, much like traditional pancakes. Unlike breakfast pancakes, these are usually eaten with non-sweet condiments like salsa or marinara sauce.

Raw sliced zucchini.
Raw sliced zucchini.

In locations suitable for growing zucchini, many gardeners find they have a large crop of this prolific summer squash. It can be difficult to use all of the zucchini without much of the same recipes. Zucchini pancakes are a great way to make use of a bumper crop of zucchini and make a delicious entrée suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They may even be eaten cold as a snack.

Zucchini prior to slicing.
Zucchini prior to slicing.

Some of the most popular condiments to eat with zucchini pancakes are sour cream, spaghetti sauce, or salsa. When eaten with spaghetti sauce, it can be tasty to add basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic to the batter. Likewise, zucchini pancakes that are to be eaten with salsa are tasty with Monterey jack cheese and cumin added to be batter. Some cooks add chopped sausage, shrimp, or other meats to the batter.

Although they are usually eaten as a savory dish, zucchini pancakes can be eaten as a sweet pancake. If the salt is reduced, pepper eliminated, and the onions omitted, zucchini pancakes can be eaten with maple syrup, honey, or berries. They are also compatible with nut butters or honey as toppings. Two zucchini pancakes can be used to sandwich a sausage patty for a quick breakfast sandwich.

As pancakes in general appeal to children’s tastes, they can be a great way to get kids to eat vegetables without their knowing it. Zucchini is a rich source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Whole wheat flour can be substituted for refined white flour in the zucchini pancake recipe to make the nutritional value even higher. Zucchini is naturally low in fat, contains lots of manganese and potassium, and has only 20 calories per 4 ounces (120 grams). Pancakes can even be made gluten-free by substituting rice flour and a little cornmeal for the wheat flour.

One of the best features of zucchini pancakes is their versatility. The batter can be made thicker or thinner with the addition or subtraction of flour, or the pancakes may be large or small. Smaller zucchini pancakes make a great appetizer at a summer cookout. They can be browned in a skillet with non-stick cooking spray for a lower-calorie entrée, or they can be fried in lard or butter for a rich, savory dinner.

Whole wheat flour can be substituted for refined white flour to make a higher nutritional value.
Whole wheat flour can be substituted for refined white flour to make a higher nutritional value.

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