3 Tips to Cure a Cooking Rut (Zucchini Feta Pancake Recipe Included)

By Lisa Kivirist, Green Options

Every mid-July, I hit a culinary rut. An odd confession, I realize, given that right now fresh garden fare is edging on peak abundance and gifts me with a daily cornucopia of seasonal produce for ingredients. But as the zucchini harvest piles up on the kitchen counter this time of year, I feel a bit overwhelmed and uninspired. I crave a fresh cooking groove.

However, I’ve learned that just like any artist needs to at times rekindle a creative muse, we foodies too need a dose of cooking inspiration, especially during this time when we have a bounty of fresh fare to savor.

Here are three tips I’ve discovered for shaking up a peak summer cooking rut, followed by a summer breakfast classic we serve at our Wisconsin B&B, Inn Serendipity: Zucchini Feta Pancakes, that will cure any summer cooking rut that ails you:

1. Flip Savory and Sweet

Twist the expected menu and serve a familiar item category a new way. For example, most folks expect pancake to be bread-like and sweet, swimming in a pool of syrup. These Zucchini Feta Pancakes provide a savory alternative to traditional pancake fare, served “naked” with no syrup or toppings needed. While we serve these for breakfast at Inn Serendipity, you could easily serve them for a quick supper.

2. Add a Strong Companion Flavor

Adding in a distinct, unexpected flavor to a dish also perks up the palette. The feta cheese in these pancakes enhances the flavor in an unusual, distinct manner. 

3. Blend in Fresh Company

Just like you sometimes need a fresh recipe, add a dose of newness around the table. Share the summer garden abundance by inviting someone new over to share a meal. Living in a B&B environment, I’m blessed with a near daily dose of new, interesting and inspiring people coming through my kitchen, providing the ultimate in keeping life fresh.

Next: Zucchini Feta Pancakes

These Zucchini Feta Pancakes are from our B&B cookbook, Edible Earth: Savoring the Good Life with Vegetarian Recipes from Inn Serendipity. Be sure to make these during the summer, when zucchini is fresh. The taste is much better. 

Zucchini Feta Pancakes

4 eggs, separated
4 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. finely crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c. finely chopped green onions
1 T. fresh of 1 t. dried mint
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
Oil for frying

1. Combine everything except egg whites, toppings and oil. Mix well.
2. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into batter mixture.
3. Heat oil until very hot. Drop about 1/8 cup batter for each pancake. Cook on both sides until crisp.
Serve immediately.


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Dana W.
Dana W.3 years ago

Sounds easy and yummy. No pictures of the finished product? Also you didn't mention if they were to be pan fried or deep fried.

Pinke A.
Pinke A.5 years ago

Oh thaaaanks!! I'm going to be tomorrow evening alone,so this will be my evening yummy,with fresh tomato-salsa,carlic and basilica.I think it will go fine together.

Janae Smith
Janae Smith6 years ago

Thank you Genevieve and Donni! :)

Donni Schick
Donni Schick6 years ago

Janae (love your name!) I use Celimix Pancake and Waffle mix, it has no sweetener, so it's very versatile. Also, Bob's Red Mill has a GF Flour Mix that you can substitute cup for cup. GF living is pretty scary at first, but a really healthy way to live. Google for gluten-free, there is so much out there. In its own way, celiac disease forced me out of my own rut. My greatest pride is making wonderful spanakopita with rice wraps that are usually used on vietnamese rolls. Have fun, enjoy the journey.

Genevieve H.
Genevieve H.6 years ago

To Janae Smith: I think you could replace the flour by either some almond powder, or something the Japanese call "okara" and which is the remnants of the soya beans when tofu is made. I would use the same quantity as the one stated for flour in this recipe. I've often done that for cakes, without any problems. I often use a combination of the two together.
I don't know how easily "okara" is available in America, but you could try to find it in a local Asian shop, or in a health food shop. It keeps well in the fridge.
In Japan, it's dead cheap since it is a byproduct of the tofu industry. But since you also make tofu in America, I don't see why it should not be available. Maybe it's called something different ?
Another alternative might be to use some chickpea flour which the Indians (from India) call gram flour (not to be confused with graham flour which is another name for wholewheat flour). You might have to add a bit of baking soda, if you use gram flour. The best is to experiment.
Bon appetit!

Janae Smith
Janae Smith6 years ago

Any advice to make these gluten free? I'm new to mixing tapioca/rice and other alternate flours...

Mary Anne Donovan

This is a great recipe I've been making Zuchini Pancakes for years from the original recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen.