Working With What You Have: Zucchini & Scallions

OTHER WAYS TO USE YOUR ZUCCHINI: Zucchini-Shallot Frittata; Green Goddess Soup with Zucchini, Chard, and Cilantro; Baked Orzo Ratatouille; Mediterranean Vegetable Hash; Squash Chips with Basil and Balsamic Drizzle; Parlsey Zucchini

The other day, a friend of my family came over for dinner and brought with him one fat kid of a zucchini from his garden. It might have been larger than my femur. He advised my mother to break it down into slices and slowly roast them at a low temperature, 250 degrees, for around 2 hours. She obediently followed his instructions the following week and, as promised, the 5 pound vegetable shrank down to but a cup or two of perfectly caramelized pieces.

When I moved back into my parents’ apartment earlier this summer, I inherited a few smaller zucchini that my mother had bought at the farmers’ market, no doubt with this soup in mind, but which she had left behind when she migrated to Martha’s Vineyard. Instead of finding a way to reduce it to nothing, I decided to stretch the little guys and make many delicious bites.

The little zucchini patties I ended up making were not terribly dissimilar from my corn cakes from last summer. And though I savored the fresh zucchini flavor, and that of a few crunchy green scallions–also left behind in my mother’s fridge–by eating these cakes plain, they would benefit from the addition of a creamy summer sauce like the corn cakes’ lemon creme fraiche, or a version of this cilantro crema.

Whether you are stretching your teeny tiny zucchini or trying to get rid of vegetables as large as a giant’s appendages, these cakes make for a perfect summer appetizer. I hope you inherit some of your own so you can give them a whirl.

From my kitchen, up to my ears in zucchini, to yours,



Zucchini-Scallion Cakes
Makes 10 small cakes

1 medium zucchini, grated ( about 1 1/2 cups)
2 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon butter (optional)

Combine the zucchini, scallions, flour, sugar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Toss to combine. Add the egg, lemon juice, and zest and stir until well incorporated.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter (you can use more olive oil if keeping this recipe dairy-free) in a large cast iron skillet. Once the butter is melted and the oil is fairly hot, drop in the zucchini mixture in tablespoonfuls, making sure not to crowd the pan (about 5 at a time). Cook for about 1 minute on each side until browned and semi-firm. Remove to a paper towel to drain and repeat with the remaining zucchini mixture, adding more oil as necessary.

NOTE: this can be done a day in advance. Simply reheat the cakes in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

  • Lainey_Elizabeth

    Wow Zucchini is in the air. I posted a very similar recipe the other day for zucchini fritters…funny!

  • Kate

    hi cara & phoebe! i just stumbled upon your sweet sweet blog via my best friend lily’s blog (bigbang) and it’s lovely! i look forward to following your cooking adventures in the future! xo, kate

    • BGSK

      Thanks Kate!

      Really glad you found us–Big Bang is one of our faves. (I went to college with Hopie, Lily’s sister).

      Please come visit us again soon!


  • Rhubarbandvenison

    Yes! New ways to use zucchini! And not another zucchini bread recipe in the bunch – thank you!

  • suzanne

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I’ve got a lone zuke in the fridge and have been trying to figure out what to do with it. This is perfect, I’ll make these up along with a nice sour cream based ranch dip and voila….a nice tv viewing alternative to chips and salsa!

  • Sarah

    I just made something similar to this…zucchini pancakes, instead of scallion I used vidalia onion…so good!

  • Lkgoodrich

    I just took a cooking class in Crete, and we made a similar recipe, but with crumbled feta, dill, mint, and onion instead of the scallion and lemon flavors. It’s a heavier flavor profile, but was delicious, so I thought I’d pass it on!

    • BGSK

      So jealous of your cooking class–Sounds fabulous! Definitely an interesting combination. I tried a version with some shredded cheddar in them and they were super decadent. I bet feta is a much better cheese for this. Thanks for the suggestion! xx Phoebe

  • Marisa

    When do you put in the flour? This looks delicious! 

    • Rowief

      good question..when do you add the flour? 
      can the flour be substitued with panko?  Many thanks

      • BGSK

        sorry for the omission! The flour gets added with the sugar. It’s corrected. I highly recommend making these. They have been a huge hit in our catering repertoire as well.

      • BGSK

        sorry for the omission! The flour gets added with the sugar. It’s corrected. I highly recommend making these. They have been a huge hit in our catering repertoire as well.

  • hooversmom

    This was great. Quick, easy and delicious. I always wonder what to do with all the zucchini and now I know. Thinking about expanding this into a zucchini quiche.

  • Rachel

    These are great! I made a sour cream/dill/cumin sauce to go with them. It is a really great lunch or snack food. 

    • BGSK

      Yum! that sounds like a great addition! Thanks for trying the recipe, and glad you liked the results. xo Phoebe

  • Lolalee

    These were delicious! Thank you :)

  • Mdc

    I made these yummy cakes and the kids loved them. They came out soft like pancakes. Any tips to making they crispy like chips?

    • BGSK

      Try a hotter pan and a bit more oil. Or, recrisp in a 400°F oven. Because zucchini isn’t as starchy as, say, potatoes, these will never be quite as crisp as latkes. Enjoy!

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