For a while I’ve been wanting to make homemade tater tots – they’re trendy and everyone loves a good tot. I wanted to make my own recipe, something a little healthier, like a broccoli version similar to this one. Last weekend I decided to give it a shot, but I was fresh out of broc and had a zucchini staring me down in the fridge. Zucchini tots it was. Only, I was feeling especially lazy and didn’t break out the food processor. Instead, I went the “rustic” approach and roughly chopped up a zucchini and shallot for this recipe. I quickly realized these were not going to hold up in tot form, but like any great “chef” I pivoted quickly and opted to make these Rustic Oven-Baked Zucchini Cakes instead! They turned out perfect, honestly. I was surprised, but they tasted like a savory potato pancake, except slightly better for you.
I added quinoa to the recipe last minute too. It was not cooked quinoa. I think it worked out well though, despite the fact that most baked goods with quinoa call for the quinoa to be pre-cooked. I thought it did a nice job of absorbing some liquid out of the Zucchini Cake and also providing a soft crunch in the finished product.
These Oven-Baked Zucchini Cakes are great on their own, but pretty solid with a dipping sauce too. I served it with ketchup… but honestly, I’m not sure that was the best choice. I think marinara could also be good? Or buffalo sauce? Up to you, but I think there are some good options to take this recipe to the next level by adding a dipping sauce.
As I mentioned, for this rustic recipe I opted to finely chop the zucchini so that I could avoid the annoying food processor clean up. You could use a food processor if you’d like, but I think the rustic chop approach turned out great. Here is the knife I am packing at home to chop, cut, dip, dive, and dodge (and cutting board too):
Can you get by with a $10 Chef’s Knife from Target or Walmart? Of course. Though, like everything, I measure the value of purchases, not just the cost. That is the difference between being cheap and being economical, and I think the value of an every day Chef’s Knife is high and if you can afford, it’s worth investing in.
Alright, on to the recipe – Rustic Oven-Baked Zucchini Cakes! Each ingredient is bringing something to the table here:
- Zucchini – the essential ingredient and sub for potatoes in this healthier “cake” recipe.
- Parmesan cheese – gives the Zucchini Cake a salty, savory and cheesy flavor.
- Shallot – like the parm, provides a savory but also oniony flavor.
- Egg – helps bind everything together.
- Quinoa – gives the finished product a nice crunch and absorbs some of the liquid from the zucchini to provide a crispier cake (in my opinion).
- Olive oil – prevents things from sticking and burning, obviously.
If you are wondering how finely to chop the zucchini and shallot, wonder no more. See below…
Just remember, the rougher the chop, the more “rustic” you can call it. If you dice it super fine, then you’ll have more of a smooth batter consistency.
Once the zucchini and shallots are chopped, add them to a bowl of the quinoa, egg, and cheese. Then, thoroughly mix everything together and start scooping small cakes into the baking pan. You should be able to make about 15 small cakes if you use one zucchini. If you want more, just double or triple the recipe!
Out of the oven, the bottoms get golden and crispy and the interior is slightly fluffy (with a soft crunch from the quinoa).
This recipe will yield roughly 15 small Rustic Oven-Baked Zucchini Cakes. The nutrition is pretty healthy as they are mainly made up of vegetables, here is the nutrition for one cake:
- Calories: 23.5
- Total Fat: 1.2 g
- Total Carbs: 2.0 g
- Protein: 1.4 g
- Total Sugar: 0.6 g
This is a low-calorie side dish loaded with vitamins – mainly vitamins A, C, and K:
- Vitamin A: bolsters the immune system and vision. The specific type of vitamin A here is beta-carotene, the same vitamin found in carrots.
- Vitamin C helps fight sickness. According to Livestrong, it also helps build collagen to heal wounds.
- Vitamin K: simply put, helps build strong bones.
Can’t get enough zucchini? Check out this Baked Hasselback Zucchini recipe.
Let’s get economical with these Rustic Oven-Baked Zucchini Cakes:
- 1 medium zucchini (about 1 cup chopped) – $0.32
- 1 small shallot – $0.50
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese – $0.27
- 1 egg – $0.25
- 1 tbsp uncooked quinoa – $0.15
- About 1 tbsp olive oil (or olive oil spray) – $0.17
- Salt and pepper
The grand total is $1.66! That’s about $0.11 per Oven-Baked Zucchini Cake. Honestly, one person could probably eat all of these no problem, but it’s safe to say you could 3-4 servings assuming everyone eats 4 or so cakes. This would bring the cost to about $0.40 per person.
Any way you slice it, it’s a pretty solid deal.