Zucchini has become one of my favorite foods. Since its flavor, texture and color are not particularly intense, you can turn it into so many different things. Here we use them as a base for savory cakes, which pair wonderfully with a tangy salad and sauce. Spinach is a great source of iron, vitamin K and carotenoids (vitamin A), which are necessary for blood health; and all the spices in this recipe have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Zucchini Garlic Cakes with Corn Salsa, Smoky Tomato Sauce and Pumpkin Seeds [Vegan, Soy-Free]





Zucchini Garlic Cakes:

  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Heaping 3⁄4 cup chickpea flour
  • Heaping 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1–2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for cooking

Smoky Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 cup tomato purée
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon cumin powder, as desired
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup Brazil nuts
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de provence
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • Water, as needed

Corn Salsa:

  • 2 cups sweet corn kernels
  • 2 cups chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Lime wedges
  • Chopped herbs, like cilantro and basil


  1. To make the cakes, put all the ingredients in a food processor -- except the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast and olive oil -- and process until you have a chunky mush. Add the chickpea flour and nutritional yeast, and then process once more so everything is evenly blended.
  2. Heat up a bit of olive oil in a large nonstick pan on medium or medium-low heat. It should be hot enough that when you place in a cake, it immediately begins to sizzle.
  3. Form your batter into balls or cakes (I use an ice cream scoop and then pat them down into patties) and cook on medium-low heat, about 5 minutes for each side. They should hold together and become a dark, crispy brown once done.
  4. To make the smoky tomato sauce, blend all the ingredients until smooth.
  5. To make the cheese, blend all the ingredients until smooth. It’s ready right away, or let it sit out for 24 hours to develop some sharper notes.
  6. To make the salsa, throw everything together and add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. To assemble, scoop the salsa onto plates, top with your cakes and serve with your sauce and cheese. This is excellent with lime wedges and extra chopped herbs; they take this dish to the next level.