by the handful

Nutritious culinary and healing recipes collected from the North American garden, orchard, forest, river and ocean

Zucchini Cakes with Charred Sweet Pepper Sauce

zucchini-fritter2This recipe cheats the fall season a little by using summer garden vegetables that have their days numbered but are still around, barely. If there are two vegetables that are here and then gone completely until the next season it’s tomatoes and peppers. You simply cannot get them fresh and they also won’t survive being shipped so when they are gone they are gone. This recipe gives those sweet garden peppers that have held on a little longer one last chance before the season is over. When it comes to farmers market garden variety peppers there are so many delicious sweet pepper varieties it really doesn’t matter which you use and they all are easy to grow and do so surprisingly well in a short growing season. Some of my favorites are Jimmy Nardello, Italian Sweets, and Red Marconi. The Cherry Bomb is a good one to choose if you want one that is sweet and hot. Although, keep in mind that most sweet peppers are not hot peppers, they have little to no heat but a jalepeno left out will eventually turn red and also become quite hot. So, make sure to know your peppers. If you don’t have any sweet peppers, red bell peppers make a perfectly suitable substitute.


Zucchini Cakes with Charred Sweet Pepper Sauce

2 handfuls of sweet peppers (substitute 2 red bell peppers)

4 garlic cloves

2 average size zucchini 

2 ramps if you have them or sub green onions

1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp almond flour (divided)

1 egg


olive oil

fresh parsley or basil


To make the sauce:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and turn broiler on to high heat. Drizzle a little olive oil on the garlic cloves and then place peppers and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and place under broiler. Time frame does not matter but they need to be checked frequently and flipped. Garlic is done when it is brown which should be fairly quick, and remove it early. Once exposed side of peppers is about half blackened, use a pair of tongs to flip each pepper. Continue to do this until all sides are blackened. Each pepper will be about half black and half red. Remove peppers from oven and set in a bowl to cool.

Once peppers have cooled its time to peel them. First do your best to peel off most of the skin. It’s not necessary to get all all the skin. Next, pull the stem out and open each pepper up. Remove seeds from each. The side of a knife helps.

Toss peppers, garlic, 1 Tbsp almond flour and 1/4 tsp salt in blender and pulse a few times.

Next add a drizzle of olive oil and blend. Continually add small amounts of olive oil until you have a pasta sauce texture.

With a spatula remove the sauce and store in a bowl. Finally mince and stir in fresh herb of your choice.

To make the cakes:

Chop the stem from each zuchini and slice each into 3 pieces. With a box cheese grater begin to grate each piece turning and grating all four sides. Discard and compost the most inner (core) 1/3 as it is tasteless and mostly water.

When you are done you will have a nice pile. Add this to a large bowl and sprinkle 1 tsp of salt on top. Mix up the zucinni and salt and then let sit for 15 minutes to draw the liquid out.

Next turn bowl sideways and squeeze the zuchini with one hand, allowing the liquid to run out of the bowl as you push the mix down into the bottom of the bowl. Get out as much as you can but it’s not necessary to get it all. This is a good method to use for removing excess liquid from water-heavy vegetables before frying them in a pan. Next add the egg and beat with a fork.

Thinly chop the green onions and add those along with the reserved 1/4 cup almond flour and mix well. Let the mix sit for 5 minutes to thicken. Add a good drizzle  of olive oil to a skillet, just enough to faintly coat the bottom of the pan. Heat to med-high heat.

Form the mix into 6 balls with your hands and then flatten into a cake. Add each cake to the skillet and smash down slightly with a metal spatula. After 4 minutes carefully flip each, turn heat down to medium and cook 4-5 minutes more. Plate the cakes directly from the pan and top with sauce.


Makes about 6 cakes, good for a side or appetizer.




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