Fluffy Zucchini Pancakes Taste Like Summer
And like savory Greek ‘Kolokithokeftedes’
On a recent family trip to Greece, we dined at a traditional Greek tavern and ordered savory zucchini fritters, known as kolokithokeftedes. Channeling those vacation vibes, I was inspired to make a version at home, which was easy to do, as they have similar ingredients to a fluffy American-style pancake batter. Full of tender zucchini, feta cheese, and plenty of herbs, these zucchini pancakes were delicious and only needed a squeeze of lemon to brighten their flavor.
Zucchini pancakes are a great summer side dish, or even a main dish, as my vegetarian-leaning daughter can attest to. And in case you need to make a dent in that bumper crop of zucchini or summer squash, it helps to keep this recipe in your back pocket.
How to make zucchini pancakes
- Prep the zucchini. Grate zucchini, then toss with salt and let drain while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Prep the other components. Grate lemon zest, crumble feta cheese, chop herbs (parsley and dill are great, as is a little bit of mint) and scallions. Add these to some beaten eggs.
- Squeeze the zucchini. Squeeze the moisture out of the zucchini and mix into the batter.
- Add the dry ingredients. Add some flour and baking powder to the batter and stir just until combined.
- Cook the pancakes. Pan-fry in a nonstick pan or cast iron skillet until golden-brown.
The one thing you need to do for zucchini pancakes
Salting the grated zucchini is essential to making great zucchini pancakes. Doing this helps draw out some of the excess moisture in zucchini, as too much moisture makes for soggy pancakes. Plus, the salt also seasons the zucchini right from the start, so don’t be tempted to skip this step. If you do this step first, you can prep the remaining ingredients as it sits.
What to serve with zucchini pancakes
While they’re delicious with just a squeeze of lemon, you can also serve these zucchini pancakes with tzatziki or a lemon-tahini sauce for dipping. Pair them with lamb chops for a hearty meal or with this chickpea sauté if you want to keep things vegetarian.
Makes 8 (3-inch) pancakes; serves 4
- 12 ounces zucchini or summer squash (1 large or 2 small zucchini)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 large eggs
- 1 medium lemon
- 2 medium scallions
- 6 sprigs fresh parsley or fresh dill, or a combination
- 1 sprig fresh mint (optional)
- 2 1/2 ounces feta cheese (1/2 cup crumbled)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Trim and grate 12 ounces zucchini or summer squash on the large holes of a box grater into a colander (about 3 cups). Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt and toss to combine. Let sit in the sink or over a bowl for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Plate 2 large eggs in a medium bowl and whisk with a fork until broken up. Prepare the following, adding each to the bowl of eggs as it is completed: Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon (about 2 teaspoons); cut the lemon into wedges and reserve for serving. Finely chop 2 medium scallions. Pick the leaves from 6 fresh parsley or dill sprigs and finely chop until you have 2 tablespoons. Pick the leaves from 1 fresh mint sprig and finely chop until you have 1 tablespoon if desired. Crumble 2 1/2 ounces feta cheese into pieces no larger than 1/2 inch (about 1/2 cup). Add the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- When the zucchini is ready, pick it up a handful at a time with your hands, squeeze as much liquid out as you can, and add to the bowl with the egg mixture. Stir with a flexible spatula until combined.
- Sprinkle 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder evenly over the top. Fold with the spatula until just combined; do not overmix.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Drop 1/4-cup portions of the batter into the pan, 4 in a 12-inch pan; gently pat down until about 3-inches wide. Pan-fry until golden-brown on the bottom, about 2 1/2 minutes. Carefully flip with a flat spatula and cook until the second side is golden-brown and the pancakes are cooked through, about 2 1/2 minutes more.
- Transfer to a serving plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan and repeat cooking the remaining batter. Serve warm or at room temperature with the reserved lemon wedges.
Recipe notes: Leftover pancakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four days. Reheat in a 350 F oven until warmed through, about 8 minutes.
Also by Christine Gallary: Perfect pumpkin pancakes
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