Zucchini Pancakes with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Crispy, golden zucchini pancakes with a tart lemon tahini sauce. These are perfect as a side dish or served over greens as a light meal. 

I have been wanting to play around with this recipe for a while now. Before transitioning to a plant-based diet, I LOVED Ina Garten's Zucchini Pancakes. The recipe and ingredient list is so simple. The first time I made them, I was skeptical. There was no way I thought something so simple could be packed with so much flavor. Never question Ina. Ever. Lesson learned. They are so good. 

I was determined to find a suitable plant-based variation of this recipe. As I started seeing zucchini pop back up at the farmers' market, I decided it was time. I opted to use a flax egg instead of the egg called for in the original recipe. I switched to whole wheat flour for two reasons: 1) it's more nutritious and 2) it's all I had on hand. The only other thing I needed to figure out was how to add in a layer of flavor that would be missing without the egg yolk. Enter: my new fave ingredient: nutritional yeast. This provides that cheesy, yolk-like flavor that is often lacking in plant-based dishes. It was a winner. The last thing I tried was baking them instead of frying them. While they were good and got a thumbs up from the hubby, the flavor, texture, and appearance is better when you cook them in a little olive oil in a pan. 

These pancakes are delicious on their own or over a salad. I decided to make a simple sauce to serve alongside them. This is optional but adds some additional flavor. 

Zucchini Pancakes

Makes 12 pancakes

Adapted from Ina Garten's

 *Note: If you wish to bake them instead of pan-fry them, bake on a lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. 

2 medium zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons red onion, grated

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal combined with 6 tablespoons water (these are your 2 flax eggs)

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

6 tablespoons whole wheat flour (you can use white if that's all you have)

1 teaspoon baking powder

Olive oil or other vegetable oil for cooking

Lemon Tahini Sauce (optional)

1 tablespoon lemon juice (juice from 1/2 a lemon)

2 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon warm water

3/4 teaspoon maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/16 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

1. To make the sauce, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, and water in a small bowl. Add maple syrup, salt, garlic powder and parsley. Adjust seasonings to taste. Set aside. 

2. In a medium bowl, combine zucchini, onion, and flax eggs. Add nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add whole wheat flour and baking powder, mix to combine. *If your mixture is really wet, you can add 1-2 more tablespoons flour. 

3. Heat a thin layer of oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter to the pan and gently flatten with the back of a spoon. *I used a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop for uniform size. Cook about 2 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb some of the oil. Serve along with sauce, if desired.