Zucchini “Crab” Cakes

I love crab cakes. However, I can never have more than one at a time, because they are usually sooo heavy. I discovered this recipe a few years back, and as a poor student on a very tight budget, this was first tested in my kitchen as a substitute for crab cakes (and to eat more veggies, because let’s face it, we all need more veggies).

I think this dish is great for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment, because it is soft (but mixed in with small crispy bits, not enough to cause debonding of braces but just enough to satisfy a craving for something with a “crunch”), easy to chew, delicious, and fairly healthy! (I think each pattie is about 140-160 calories).

Anyways, onto the recipe!

Prep: 30 m Cook: 10-25 m Ready in: 40-55 m

Adapted from


  • 2 1/2 cups grated zucchini (small to medium zucchini works best)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  •  1/4 cup minced onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced (if very small garlic, or you prefer more of a garlicky taste, this can be doubled; and if you don’t like garlic at all, this can be removed completely)
    • if no fresh garlic, garlic powder can also be used
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (if you prefer extra-flavorful version, use italian breadcrumbs, although some think it detract from the old Bay seasoning a bit)
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (I think this is the key ingredient in making it taste like crab cakes)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying (OR cooking spray if you are baking)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted or margarine (optional, will taste a bit more decadent with it)


  • Sprinkle the grated zucchini with the salt (about 1/2 tsp) and toss to combine, transfer to colander and allow to drain while pushing on it with a flat spoon, and then continue to squeeze out any excess moisture (this in my opinion is the most time-consuming but important step, if not drained well, you will get soggy patties)
  • Transfer the drained zucchini to a large bowl, add the onions, garlic and breadcrumbs,toss to combine.
  • In a separate smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, butter, mayo, and old bay seasoning.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture (the zucchini mixture), season with black peppers, toss until everything is well incorporated.
  • Shape the mixture into patties/cakes and set aside (I usually make about 6-8), you can
    • dredge the patties in flour, or
    • dredge the patty in Panko breadcrumbs if you want more crunchiness
    • (I usually just dust my hands with flour while I make the patties and don’t add more)
  • There are 2 ways to cook this:
    • Faster way is the skillet way: Heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in large skillet over medium heat, and add the cakes to the pan once the oil is hot. Cook for 4 and 1/2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
    • Healthier version: preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, lightly oil a baking sheet, bake for 12 minutes, flip over, and bake for another 12 minutes. (if oven is on the weaker side, you may need 15 minutes each side)
  • Serve warm with homemade tartar sauce, if desired. Enjoy!!

braces friendly, zucchini cake, no-crab cake

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