A Squared: Meatless Monday: Cheesy Zucchini Cakes

Monday, August 4, 2014

Meatless Monday: Cheesy Zucchini Cakes

It's Monday already... and I can't believe it. I'm back from a long weekend away with the family in Michigan so it is tougher than usual to get back in the groove today. I had originally planned to post an easy lunch salad recipe here for you today, but when this meal got such an overwhelming positive response on Instagram last week I thought it was worth expediting. I'll be sharing the salad recipe with you next week, but for today let's observe Meatless Monday!

It shouldn't come as too big of a surprise that this meal took Instagram by storm. It's exactly the kind of recipe that would make me click "like" too. I love a fun dinner. You know, like a creative grilled cheese sandwich, a baked potato stuffed with nontraditional ingredients, nachos as an entree, or anything that can be dipped-- like these zucchini cakes in marinara sauce. Any meal that takes you away from a boring meat/starch/veggie plate and lets you have fun with your dinner is a winner in my book. Beyond that, they're cheesy-- which makes everything better-- and they are filled with some of my favorite flavors and ingredients: sweet basil and red bell pepper, savory garlic and shallot, and a little spice from crushed red pepper flakes.

Last, but not least, these zucchini cakes with marinara sauce make a great meatless dinner! The shredded zucchini combined with a little panko, flour, and egg creates a consistency that reminded me a lot of traditional German potato pancakes: moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, and with a delicious combination of the aforementioned flavors. With all of that zucchini in these cakes and some cheese, this is actually a really filling meal. This fun meal was a great alternative to the pastas and pizzas of our typical meatless dinners. They would also make a fun appetizer or a good side dish for many proteins too.


  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 Tbs. fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Marinara sauce, for serving

Using the largest holes in a box grater, grate zucchini and place in a colander. Sprinkle zucchini generously with salt and place colander in the sink or over a bowl and allow the moisture to drain out of the zucchini for 30-60 minutes. Use the back of a large spoon to gently press the moisture out of the zucchini.

In a large bowl, mix the shredded zucchini and next 10 ingredients (through salt and pepper) until fully combined.

To a medium skillet, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers and drop the zucchini mixture by 1/4-cup spoonfuls into the hot oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until browned, gently flip over, and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Serve zucchini cakes warm with marinara sauce.

Inspired by recipe by Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice.

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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Jillian! I can't wait to make them again-- and be sure to check out the original recipe too. Hers was a yummy Greek version!


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