Spiced Savory Zucchini Flat-Cakes


This is a little something that I made up. Since my body is still being really cranky (inflammation and pain) with grains and starchy food, I’ve had to start experimenting with non-starchy veg. This has been my go-to for something fairly quick to turn out of the oven. Spiced with Indian and Middle-Eastern spices, it is a treat for the palette. What makes me even happier – it is filling without adding a lot of calories or starch to the diet.


If you don’t have Besar, and lets be honest, most people probably don’t you can try a combination of cinnamon, cumin, ground fennel, ground corriander, ground black pepper, turmeric, and a pinch of cayenne.


Harissa spice mix can be substituted with chili powder in a pinch. World Spice, in Seattle’s Pike place market carries all the mixes mentioned in this post and also ships. You can click on the spices mentioned below in the ingredients list. It will take you to their site where you can buy Besar, Harissa, and so much more.


I used chickpea flour to add a little protein and keep the carb count lower. You can find this ingredient in most Middle Eastern stores but I’ve also seen it at places like Whole Foods and PCC. You can use regular flour if you prefer, but the taste will be a touch different as will the texture.


Additionally, feel free to experiment with these cakes. Zucchinis are so flavor-neutral you could add just about anything you like. Try simply adding cumin and cayenne, or try ranch seasoning, or dill or whatever you’re in the mood for.


  • 3 small or 2 medium zucchinis
  • 3/4 tsp ground Besar spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp Harissa spice mix (more or less depending on heat preference)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2-3 tsp besan flour (chickpea flour)
  • 4 tsp egg whites (the stuff in the cartons is really handy)
  • cooking spray
  • olive oil


  • Preheat your oven to between 425-450 F. Wash and grate the zucchini. Using a cheese cloth or kitchen towel, squeeze out as much of the water from the zucchini as you can. Next, place the wrung and shredded zucchini in a large mixing bowl. Add the Besar, Harissa, besan, and egg whites along with a good pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper. I would estimate that I use around 1/2-2/3 tsp of kosher salt for this recipe although it depends on how big your zucchinis are. If you use a finer grind of salt, use less than the recommended amount.
  • The mixture won’t stick together well at this point but that’s ok. Form the zucchini mixture into mounds on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil that has been coated with cooking spray. I usually make my cakes about 1.5-2 Tbs. Next, flatten them down a little with your hand. They should be about 2.5 inches across. Drizzle them with a fair amount of olive oil (if you omit this step I find that the cakes stick).
  • Bake on the top rack for 12-15 minutes or until the bottom has become golden. Flip and back for another 6-8 minutes.

I usually serve my zucchini cakes with Chaat Masala, which is a Middle Eastern powder that is designed to be used a condiment. It is tangy and savory and pairs wonderfully with fruits and vegetables. Unlike most spices, it is NOT supposed to be cooked. Instead it is sprinkled over foods or used as a dip.


Hummus is another great pairing with these cakes. The sky is the limit, get creative and see what you like. Enjoy!


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