Baked Zucchini Pancakes

Zucchini. Courgette. Same thing, different name. Have you ever gotten an obsession with a certain food and kept eating it until you got sick of it and couldn’t even touch it? Well, it could be just me but over this past summer, I went through a phase where I was making some dish involving zucchini almost every week. Quiche, omelets, baked zucchini casserole, and roasted zucchini tarts to name a few. After a while, I got really tired of zucchini and didn’t even want to look at it in the market.

Until…at the end of August, I visited my parents in South Florida and went to one of my all time favorite Mediterranean restaurants (owners are Turkish). Although falafels are almost ALWAYS my choice at Mediterranean restaurants, there is something much better than falafels at this place. Yes, that’s right, I said it..better than falafels.

florida beach
Florida is very hot in the summer, even the water feels like a bath.

What can be better than falafels,  you ask? Zucchini fritters, also known as zucchini pancakes. These fluffy little wonders are pan-fried and served soft but crisp and golden to perfection along with warm pita bread, hummus, baba ghanoush, bulgur, and fresh mixed salad with cucumbers and tomatoes. I definitely leave this restaurant stuffed and happy every time I eat there and it is totally worth it. Especially since I only can have it when I go to south Florida.

Anyway, after my last visit to Florida, I realized that I can easily recreate this meal at home. I have plenty of recipes for hummus, baba ghanoush, and all the yummy accouterments, but I need to come up with a recipe for these delicious zucchini pancakes.

florida beach 2.JPG
Sunny beach day. There are less people on the beach in August compared to springtime, which is nice.

So I scoured the internet for recipes and finally came up with my own variation for lightly seasoned and fluffy pancakes. I tried pan frying and baking the pancakes, and honesty, I preferred the baked ones. They had the same texture and fluff factor as the fried version but didn’t ooze absorbed oil like the fried ones did. Baking wins this round! Ding-ding!

baked zucchini pancakes
Baked zucchini pancakes with tzatziki dip.

So I lightly seasoned my pancakes and played with the amount of flour to
get pancakes that were sturdy enough to stay in place without spreading in the oven. The amount of flour needed always depends on how much water is left in your zucchini after grating it. It is important to try to remove as much water as possible before mixing the other ingredients, otherwise you’ll need a lot of flour to form the pancakes. Anyway, here are the steps below. These go great with a simple yogurt dip and even better with tzatziki. They also make a great, unexpected appetizer for a party.

 

 

Fluffy Baked Zucchini Pancakes

Makes about 16-18 medium pancakes

  • 3 small zucchini, shredded
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 3 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, plus additional as needed
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Dash of nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375° shred zucchini and drain as much excess water as possible. Add to shredded zucchini the oregano, nutmeg, garlic powder, and salt and ground black pepper as needed. Mix evenly. Then add 2 eggs, crumbled feta, and lemon juice to this mixture and stir, incorporating ingredients together evenly.
  2. Slowly add ½ cup all-purpose flour to the mixture and stir as you add flour. You will need about ½ cup, possibly more depending on how much water remained in your zucchini mixture. Add enough flour to form loose patties, not overly thick and clumpy, but not so loose that they won’t maintain their general shape on the baking sheet.
  3. Drop about 2 tbsp. batter evenly spaced on a very well-greased baking sheet. It is critical that the sheet is well greased because pancakes will stick very easily to sheet during baking if it is dry. This is the key to having a good result with baked pancakes.
  4. Bake at 375°F for 25-28 minutes, until golden on bottom and side and slightly firm to the touch. If you are able,  flip pancakes once or twice during baking. Check frequently in the last few minutes as the pancakes will begin to stick to the sheet once the bottom gets crispy and cooked. *Alternatively, you can also pan fry some of the pancakes in olive oil over medium-high heat, flipping once golden on a side. This method took me about 5 minutes to fry each batch of ~5 pancakes.
florida bird
These big white birds roam freely around Florida.

 

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