Friday, July 16, 2010

Tried and True - Vegetable pancakes

I don't know anybody who doesn't like pancakes.  When you say the word "pancake" most Americans will conjure up a vision of a stack of hotcakes, topped with a big melting pat of butter and maple syrup (most likely maple flavored syrup) dripping down the side.  Now there is nothing wrong with this vision.  One of these days we can talk about those kind of pancakes, because I really want you to know how to make the real thing.  It is SO EASY and QUICK.

Vegetable pancakes are EASY and QUICK too.  They are great for a quick lunch, supper or brunch in the summer when you don't want to turn on the oven or do any long slow cooking.  You are going to need a grater or a food processor with a grating attachment, however.  If you use a food processor, it helps to chunk up the squash first so it fits sideways in the feed tube.

Today I give you a recipe for zucchini pancakes that has been a favorite in my family for years.  When my boys were in grade school and junior high they even asked for them!  Which was pretty amazing because at that time they were mostly into their mac and cheese, hot dog and meatloaf phase.  Once you get comfortable with this basic recipe, you can vary it according to your tastes.  You can use other vegetables (or a combination) as well as herbs.  You can vary the cheese or omit the cheese. 

This recipe makes three supper servings or four first course or side dish servings.  It can be doubled.

2 eggs, separated
2 1/2 - 3 cups grated zucchini - lightly salted, drained well and squeezed dry (note - one medium zucchini will yield about 1 cup grated zucchini.
1/4 cup finely chopped onion or scallion
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 T. each - fresh minced parsley and mint (if you don't have fresh herbs use 1 t. dried mint and omit parsley.  Dried parsley is icky.  1 t. dried dill weed could also be used with the mint)
1/2 cup flour (I like to use half white and half whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)  You could also use cottage cheese or other type of grated cheese - whatever you have on hand.  The feta is the most wonderful, especially with the zucchini.)
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper and if you like a little heat, a few shakes of red pepper flakes

Beat the egg whites until stiff and set aside. 
Mix together all other ingredients in a large bowl.  Then gently fold in the egg whites. 
Drop batter in spoonfuls in a preheated pan.  I like to add a little olive oil or butter before each batch.  This time I decided to make larger pancakes in my favorite little cast iron skillet.  I like this pan so much I am thinking of buying another one so I can turn out more pancakes faster.  I am working on seasoning it and this was a great project for that  purpose.   You only need a teaspoon or so of fat for each pancake. 

These pancakes are excellent served with a spoon of plain yogurt and a sprinkling of more fresh mint. 

You could make these pancakes with grated raw carrot, kohlrabi or chopped broccoli.  If I was going to use kale or chard, I would blanch and chop it and squeeze it dry first.  I think they would work with finely sliced green or red cabbage too - but I haven't ever tried it.  If I had some fresh bell pepper I might dice some and add it too.  The possibilities are endless.   Raw potatoes, because of all their starch, require a little different treatment. We can talk about potato pancakes another day. 
If you have nice potatoes around, I would roast them and serve them alongside the vegetable pancake.


  1. It's a nice idea to incorporate veggies into pancakes but I'm not feeling good about the color though. If I could still see the green bits, then my kids will surely will, lol! They're not really into veggies, although they really enjoy fruits in their pancakes. Maybe if I peel the zucchini first and then maybe add more batter...I think that's worth a try, lol! Thanks for sharing this.

  2. How about throwing in a few mini chocolate chips? If you do that, omit onion and garlic. But you could still include a little mint.

  3. i loved these and so did my 15 month old. he is getting pickier with his veggies, but the feta, garlic and onion hid the veggie taste. these will become a staple of mine. thanks for the recipe!