crispy zucchini + potato pancakes with marbled applesauce yogurt

crispy zucchini + potato pancakes with marbled applesauce yogurt |

Go ahead. Admit it.

You’re officially over zucchini.

The summer season starts out with a bang… zucchini excites you. You receive heaps from your vegetable share and the neighbors are quick to share too. There’s zucchini bread to be made! But excitement quickly turns to anxiety because you’re drowning in zucchini. Perhaps you can relate?

It’s the season that keeps on giving.

crispy zucchini + potato pancakes with marbled applesauce yogurt |

How to battle zucchini overload

Try something new!

I took a chance and made potato pancakes (kid approved) with zucchini (TBD).

The traditional way to do this is with a box grater, but the food processor is a much faster method. My purist friend tells me this is cheating. Her grandmother would faint. But we’ll keep that between us, OK? I like shortcuts. Use the shredder blade for thin, uniform strands.

Zucchini is made up of mostly water. Water = soggy pancakes. After you shred the ingredients, place them onto a clean kitchen towel and gently squeeze out the moisture. Add to a large bowl with one egg and a dusting of flour. You can also use rice flour for gluten free. These are your binding agents.

crispy zucchini + potato pancakes with marbled applesauce yogurt | theclevercarrot.comWhat is a potato pancake anyway?

Potato pancakes are made from grated potatoes, onion, eggs, and flour. They are pan-fried until golden and crisp. They kind of remind me of hash browns… I could happily eat them straight from the pan however sour cream and applesauce are common accompaniments. We’ve tried ketchup too. Don’t judge.

crispy zucchini + potato pancakes with marbled applesauce yogurt | theclevercarrot.comAssembly shortcuts

Here, we’re faced with the repetitive task of shaping and frying. This brings me back to my intern days as a prep cook; I would peel potatoes for hours and pit olives until my eyes crossed. Not fun. To make it easy on yourself, prepare a small batch (this recipe yields 10-12) or 2-3 whole pancakes cut into wedges. The latter happens to be a very cool presentation.

You could always commission some friends to help too. They like this kind of stuff.

crispy zucchini + potato pancakes with marbled applesauce yogurt |

What’s up with the marbled yogurt?

I sub low-fat yogurt for sour cream and mix with applesauce. Unless it’s pink, applesauce looks a bit drab by itself, don’t you think? Top your pancakes with this sweet and tangy condiment as you wish. My ratio is 1:1.

crispy zucchini + potato pancakes with marbled applesauce yogurt | theclevercarrot.comcrispy zucchini + potato pancakes with marbled applesauce yogurt | theclevercarrot.comAny secrets?

Why, yes… test batch!

I can’t even begin to tell you how important this is. If your mixture is under seasoned, your pancakes will taste flat. They must have just the right amount of salt, pepper, and onion. Sure, you can season once they’re done but it’s no comparison when stirred into the mix. It’s like eating bland pasta.

To test batch, fry a small dollop and give it a taste. What does it need? Now is the time to go back in and make adjustments before diving into mass production. Same rules apply to meatballs, meatloaf, fritters etc.

Bonus tip: use a non-stick pan. Less oil is needed and they won’t stick.

crispy zucchini + potato pancakes with marbled applesauce yogurt | theclevercarrot.comThe verdict:

My kids hated it. Not because of the zucchini, but because of how they were shaped. They did not resemble perfect circles (there were too many ‘things’ sticking out). We call that rustic, OK? They were thin and crisp on the outside and slightly soft in the center. Just how I like them. We still have plenty of zucchini to go through and this barely made a dent. But my main goal was to try something new without waste. I shred and froze the rest of the zucchini to use throughout the year. See why I love my food processor?

Now, I have to work on my shapes…

crispy zucchini + potato pancakes with marbled applesauce yogurt
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10-12
  • 2 c. shredded zucchini
  • 4 c. shredded yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 small onion or ½ large onion
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2-3 tbsp. flour*
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
Marbled yogurt
  • ½ c. low-fat yogurt or sour cream
  • ½ c. applesauce
  • fresh chives
* Use rice flour for gluten free
  1. Peel the potatoes.
  2. Line a large bowl with a clean kitchen towel.
  3. Fit your food processor with the shredder blade. Process the zucchini, potatoes, and the onion togehter. Transfer the mixture to the bowl. Wrap the towel around the vegetables and gently squeeze to release excess moisture. You want this as dry as possible for crispy pancakes. Remove the towel.
  4. To the bowl, add the egg, flour, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
  5. Begin your test batch: In a non-stick pan, warm 1 tbsp. of olive oil over moderate heat. Using a ¼ c. measure, scoop out some of the mixture and place into the pan. Flatten gently with the bottom of the cup. Fry on both sides until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt if desired. When cool enough to handle, give it a taste. If it needs more seasoning, adjust the rest of your mixture.
  6. Repeat this process until you have fried all of the pancakes.
  7. To make the marbled yogurt, add the yogurt (or sour cream if using) to a bowl. Add the applesauce. Swirl with a spoon.
  8. To serve, arrange the pancakes onto a plater. Garnish with fresh chives and yogurt sauce on the side.


    • Emilie says

      Hi Matt! Thank you so much! I just wish the kids liked them as much as we did. They’re the worst critics that’s for sure.
      Let me tell you what is also a work of art- your burger battle with Naomi. Wow! The best of both worlds :)

    • Emilie says

      Oooo, onion bhajis! Yum. I might have to make that next…
      Yeah, the zucchini situation in our house has gone mad. I usually like to grill them (marinated in soy, ginger and garlic) but I’m over that combo as well. That’s the best part about seasonal eating- the love/hate relationship that occurs as a residual side effect. Onto the next season! Thanks for stopping by Mariana! :)

  1. says

    These look gorgeous! I made potato-pancake inspired fritters out of zucchini a few months ago (with spinach and feta, as well) and I was shocked out how well zucchini works in these sorts of things! I love that yours is mixed in with the potato– I’ll have to try that soon =)

    • Emilie says

      Hi Morgan! OMG. That sounds so good. Almost like mini spinach pies but in fritter form? I’m drooling.
      I was surprised at how well the zucchini held up too. It’s very watery, especially when fresh but I found that the kitchen towel trick worked perfectly. Definitely try it with the potato. I think you’ll like it ;)

    • Emilie says

      Hi Kiran! I know, I thought that too at first but then I got overwhelmed… zucchini everywhere! This was a nice way to make a little dent in my stash, even if I had to freeze the rest. I’ll make some risotto in the winter or something when I’m dreaming of warm, summer sun :)

  2. says

    I actually love the “things sticking out”- they’re beautiful! Huge fan of the zucchini and these pancakes remind me of the Korean pancakes (pa-jun) my mom used to make when I was little. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Emilie says

      Thank you! At least somebody does ;) Now, I am so curious about your childhood pa-jun. I wasn’t sure what it was, so I did a quick search. Similar to scallion pancakes? I would love to hear about your recipe!

    • Emilie says

      Ahhh… you are so sweet. I will happily drop some off on your doorstep. Any excuse to visit sunny California works for me!

  3. says

    As my zucchini have all grown into enormous marrows maybe I should try this rather than just ignoring them as they grow bigger every day. Luckily we all like ‘rustic’ and yours do look very good.
    I am SO over zucchini.

    • Emilie says

      The big ones are the worst. As a kid, I used to be amazed by their size but learned quickly that they’re not very flavorful. My grandfather would cut them up into big chunks and braise them in tomato sauce. We ate it with pasta. Now that was some good flavor! You could always just keep them in the garden and put it back in the system. I’m sure the little critters will appreciate that ;)

    • Emilie says

      Thank you! I love sweet potato pancakes too, and they would be great with added zucchini. This is what I love about recipes- they’re meant to be tweaked and shared. Thanks for the great idea and enjoy! :)

  4. Emilie says

    Me too! Kids though, they’re a whole different story! People always assume that my boys are great eaters and they are SO not. It’s borderline embarrassing, actually. One day they’ll appreciate good food :) Thanks Laura!

    • Emilie says

      Sooooo crispy! Just how I like them! Pam, do you have a recipe for potato pancakes? I’d love to compare notes. I bet yours are fab :)

  5. says

    Hi Emilie! These look scrumptious! I was looking through my pages stats this morning and saw traffic coming from Food & Wine. Excited and curious I clicked the link and saw you lovely feature! Congrats! And many thanks for your kind words about Fare Isle! You’re an inspiration! xo Kaity

    • Emilie says

      Hi Kaity! You are quite welcome. I LOVE your blog and while we’re at it, I’ll just go ahead and announce that I’m obsessed with your IG feed (I tagged you on the F&W link too~). The beauty that you capture here on the East Coast is beautiful. Don’t ever stop what you’re doing :) xx

  6. says

    These sound great! I love the rustic look, and I have to smile at the kids’ criticism-kids are weird. I have come to see that. And your photos, as always, are beautiful!

  7. says

    Emilie, I can never be over zucchini, especially if it morphs into these gorgeous fritters! Love that applesauce yogurt–it totally puts a stop to my agony: sour cream or apple sauce on my latkes? I’m going to put this on every fritter I make now!

    • Emilie says

      Welcome Amy! Thank you so much! That was exactly my thought behind the marbled yogurt- just combine the two! You can make it with either low-fat yogurt as I’ve done here, or sour cream if you prefer. Thanks for your comments and I hope you enjoy :)

  8. says

    You always get me craving the things you make! Reading this very pretty post means now I totally want zucchini pancakes for dinner. They will have to wait though, because there’s a ricotta pasta in the oven right now. Definitely bookmarking this for later. Crispy zucchini, marbled applesauce…what’s not to love?

    • Emilie says

      Oooo… ricotta pasta? I’m hoping you post this one! Sounds SO good. There’s just something about the word ‘ricotta’ that makes you want it, whatever it is. Enjoy your dinner Denise! :)

    • Emilie says

      Welcome Sini! Thank you kindly for your sweet compliments! I hope you enjoy this space… off to check out yours right now ;)

  9. Beverley says

    I can eat zucchini every day and now I’ve added your recipe to my meal plan. Your kids are so lucky to have you as their mother, well they may not appreciate it now but they will! xoxo

  10. says

    Stumbled across this recipe on Reddit and I need to give it a try, stat! I’ve been eating so much raw zucchini pasta lately that I’m getting bored of it, so this is the perfect recipe to switch things up with!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Chelsea!

      I know what you mean… eating seasonally is such a love/hate relationship! The zucchini potato combination in this recipe is lovely. I hope you enjoy! :)

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