Zucchini Cake Napoleons

Lunch / Dinner

Zucchini Cake Napoleons

It’s always a plus when you can cook a light dinner indoors without turning on the oven and heating up the kitchen on already-hot summer nights. Make savory zucchini cakes from the abundant squash, then stack up the fried patties with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil for a delicious dinner.


4 servings

Total Time

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Test Kitchen Tip

Cakes made with cracker crumbs are firmer than those made with bread crumbs. Try saltines or butter crackers, too.


Shred zucchini on a box grater, rotating when you come to seeds. Place zucchini and onion in a salad spinner, sprinkle with salt and let stand 30 minutes. Spin mixture to dry; transfer to a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove more liquid.

Cook pancetta in a nonstick skillet until crisp; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Reserve drippings in skillet.

Whisk together egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, and baking powder. Stir in zucchini mixture and cracker crumbs. Scoop batter with ⅓ cup measure onto a baking sheet and press into 8 cakes.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil with drippings in skillet. Sauté cakes in two batches over medium heat until golden, about 4 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed.

Add a mozzarella slice to each cake in the last 2 minutes of sautéing to slightly melt mozzarella. Transfer cakes to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Assemble Napoleons by layering a tomato slice, 2 basil leaves, a pancetta slice, and 2 more basil leaves on each of 4 cakes. Top each with a remaining cake and garnish with a basil sprig; serve immediately with lemon wedges.


To avoid soggy cakes, first spin liquid from the zucchini and onion in a salad spinner, then squeeze dry.

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts

Per serving

Calories: 523

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 38g 58%

Saturated Fat 13g 65%

Cholesterol 110mg 36%

Sodium 1162mg 48%

Carbs 27g 9%

Fiber 3g 12%

Protein 20g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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