Top with a poached egg or dollop of sour cream for a light dinner entrée
Are you part of the “breakfast for dinner” movement? Me too. So how about some pancakes? But maybe not the kind smothered in maple syrup.
Instead, I propose a savory variation. These Zucchini Pancakes give you all the breakfasty fun—without the sugar.
Add a poached or fried egg, or a dollop of sour cream, and you’ve got a complete meal. Or slather some butter on the cakes and serve them as a side dish, sharing the plate with a piece of meat or fish.
Dinner is served.
Recipe: Zucchini Pancakes
These pancakes feature zucchini, but you could substitute yellow squash. Or almost any other veggie—this is a dish that invites experimentation.
There are loads of veggie pancake recipes out there, and most are pretty similar. I adapted mine from one I found in Bert Greene’s Greene on Greens.
It takes about 10 minutes to prepare the pancake batter, and another 10 to 15 minutes to cook the pancakes (depending on how many you can fit on your griddle). So you’ll have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.
If you need to poach eggs for garnish, it may take a few minutes more. (See Notes for information on poaching eggs.)
This recipe makes about 8 to 12 pancakes—depending on how large you make them. It serves 2 people as an entrée (probably with a bit left over) or 4 as a side dish.
- ~¾ pound zucchini, cleaned, trimmed, and grated (about 3 cups)
- ½ ounce freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/3 cup)
- 3 scallions, cleaned, peeled, and minced (use all the white and half the green part; maybe reserve some green rounds for garnish)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (consider using pasteurized eggs; see Notes)
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon sriracha sauce (optional; may substitute another hot sauce)
- salt to taste (start with ~½ teaspoon)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (start with ~¼ teaspoon)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder
- butter or oil for greasing skillet or griddle
- sour cream with a sprinkling of green scallion rounds for garnish; or 1 Poached Egg per person (both optional; see Notes for procedure if garnishing with poached egg).
- Put a skillet or griddle on medium heat to warm while mixing the pancake batter. If you’re using an electric griddle or skillet, heat to 350 degrees F. Turn oven on to 200 degrees F if you plan to hold the first round of pancakes while finishing the rest.
- Wash and dry the zucchini. Trim the ends. Grate the zucchini with a food processor or box grater.
- Grate Parmesan cheese, using the fine holes on a box grater or microplane.
- Wash and dry the scallions. Peel off the outer skin, trim the root ends, and mince all the white and half the green tops. You may want to reserve some of the green rounds for garnish.
- Using a whisk, beat 2 eggs lightly in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the grated zucchini, grated Parmesan, minced scallions, milk, sriracha sauce, salt, and pepper.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together for at least 30 seconds (to fully distribute the baking powder).
- Add the flour and baking powder to the zucchini mixture, blending well. Taste the batter (if you’re using pasteurized eggs) and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Lightly grease the skillet or griddle (may omit if using a nonstick surface). Scoop batter onto the griddle, using 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons per pancake (see Notes). Cook the pancakes until the first side is brown (about 3 minutes). Flip, then cook the second side until lightly brown—another minute or two.
- Slide the cooked pancakes onto a flat pan or cookie sheet and place in a warm oven to hold while you finish cooking the rest of the pancakes.
- Serve pancakes with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of green scallion rounds for garnish, or add a poached egg (both optional; see Notes for information on poaching eggs).
- Because you’re grating the squash, this is a great recipe for using those huge, baseball bat-sized zucchini specimens that may appear in your vegetable garden. But of course smaller zucchini are superb too.
- When I plan to serve these as a side dish, I generally use 2 heaping tablespoons of batter per pancake (Step 8 of the Procedure). For main course-sized servings, I use about 3 heaping tablespoons. No need to be exact - you can eyeball it.
- About 2 smaller pancakes make a nice side serving, while 3 or 4 are enough for an entrée.
- Eggs carry a slight (but real) risk of salmonella. So I suggest using pasteurized eggs when making any type of batter that you want to taste raw. Although it’s unlikely the eggs you buy will be infected, why take the risk? Especially since most of us can’t make any type of batter without tasting it.
- You can identify pasteurized eggs because they usually have a red “P” stamped on them.
- Almost every baking powder you’ll find on your grocery shelf is “double-acting.” It’s called double-acting because you get a first reaction (the bubbles that help cause a rise) when you mix the powder with the wet ingredients, then a second reaction when the batter hits the heat of the griddle.
- Baking powder does become weaker over time (and most baking powder tins have an expiration date). So replace your baking powder when necessary. I usually replace mine once a year, when daylight saving time ends (so I remember to do it).
- It’s a good idea to shake baking powder before using it to make sure all its components are well mixed.
- When I serve these pancakes as an entrée, I like to use sour cream or a poached egg for garnish—it makes for a more substantial dish. When serving them as a side, a nice pat of butter is welcome.
- If you decide to use poached eggs for garnish, it’s easiest if you poach them ahead of time as described in our recipe for Poached Eggs. You can even poach them the night before (store in water in the refrigerator), then reheat in warm water right before serving, as directed in the recipe.
- If you plan to poach the eggs at the same time as you make the pancakes, just time them so they’re done when the pancakes are ready to serve. Because poached eggs take only 4 minutes to cook, you should have the water and vinegar mixture just barely simmering, as directed in the poached egg recipe. About 4 minutes before you’re ready to serve the pancakes, gently add the eggs to the simmering water. Simmer the eggs for 4 minutes, then remove them from the cooking water and drain; add one poached egg to each stack of Zucchini Pancakes. I usually also add a sprinkling of green scallion rounds.
“Winner!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs as she took her first bite of Zucchini Pancakes.
“Yeah, I love veggie pancakes,” I said. “And you can make them with pantry staples, so they’re a great quick meal when you don’t have ‘anything’ in the house.”
“And no maple syrup, so you avoid the sugar high,” she added.
“Much lower in calories too,” I said.
“Good for maintaining those washboard abs, eh?” asked Mrs K R, patting my mid-section.
“Why, yes,” I said, drawing in my stomach. “Flat as, um, a pancake.”
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