Easiest Lentils & Zucchini Cakes Recipe

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Ok, let me just say that you are about to try little savory bites of heaven!  Crispy outside, soft and warm inside, these Lentil and Zucchini Cakes are so satisfying!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan bringing a salty and nutty backdrop and oregano adding an herbaceous note.  The scallion gives a mild onion flavor.  But of course, the stars here are the meaty and earthy lentils and the fresh zucchini.  Formed into a perfect cake and pan fried in just a bit of olive oil.

Delicious and Good for You!

Lentils are not just a vegetarian staple, they are actually VERY versatile and very healthful. They have high levels of soluble fiber. Fiber is important for helping keep cholesterol low, supporting heart health and digestive health. Lentils are also high in protein, and a good source of iron. If you are a newcomer to the world of lentils, try this recipe and I promise, you will be Loving Lentils too!  

BTW, Lentils are a great protein to make a ton of and use in different ways.  You can use in soup, in these cakes, or in my Korean Rice Bowl with Lentils and Cauliflower recipe.  Click here to get 30 More Leftover Protein Dinner Ideas.

Zucchini is also healthy!  I mean, obviously, it is a veggie.  But here’s how!  Zucchini is low in calories and packed with vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin A.  Zucchini is also rich in antioxidants that are linked to benefits for your eyes, skin, and heart.   I love using Zucchini in my Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Zucchini recipe and my Crispy Parmesan Zucchini Chips!

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

For shredding the zucchini, I simply used the large-hole side of a grater. You could also use a food processor with a shredding insert if you have it.

You also need a large frying pan to cook the zucchini cakes. I use my absolute favorite 12″ Ceramic Pan, which is great because food really does slide right off with minimal oil and I don’t have to worry about food sticking and burning.  It comes with a glass lid, which is perfect for watching your dinner cook!

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR ZUCCHINI CAKES RECIPE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge as your meal Kit… (See the recipe below for more details)

Cook the lentils on the stove in water for 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain the lentils, then mash with a fork so that about 50% are mashed.
Fork mashing cooked lentils for Lentil and Zucchini Cakes. They have a crispy outside and soft inside and are perfect for an easy dinner!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan, oregano, scallions, lentils, and zucchini.

While the lentils cook, finely slice the scallions. Using the large hole side of a grater, shred the zucchini. After it is all shredded, squeeze out and discard the excess water.

Add the shredded zucchini, scallions, flour, parmesan, egg, salt, and pepper. Stir to completely combine. Note: If the mixture seems too thin, add additional flour, a little at a time, until it thickens up.

Parmesan, flour, shredded zucchini and lentils in a bowl for Lentil and Zucchini Cakes. They have a crispy outside and soft inside and are perfect for an easy dinner!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan, oregano, scallions, lentils, and zucchini.

Can I add or swap ingredients in this recipe?

Yes, as long as you have the general measurements and include the flour and egg to bind it all together.  You can swap the Parmesan out for another cheese.  Shredded cheddar, gruyere, or manchego would all be fantastic.  You can swap out the lentils as well.  In their place you could add black beans or chickpeas.  Or you could add more of the zucchini.  You may need a tablespoon more flour if you remove a creamy bean from the recipe just to help it all hold together.

You can also add herbs, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic, and a great many other seasonings.  I kept these simple in flavor as that’s what I found my kids wanted.

Can I make this Zucchini Cakes Recipe ahead?

Yes, you can make the mixture and store it in the fridge sealed airtight for up to 3 days before cooking them.  You can also form the cakes and freeze them raw.  From the freezer, you can bake them in a 400 F degree oven for 20-30 minutes until cooked through and browned on the outside.

COOK YOUR ZUCCHINI CAKES RECIPE

Divide the mixture loosely in the bowl into 8-9 equal large cakes or 16-18 small cakes.  Add oil to a large skillet, heat to medium, add pancakes and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned.

Lentil and Zucchini Cakes cooking in a frying pan. They have a crispy outside and soft inside and are perfect for an easy dinner!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan, oregano, scallions, lentils, and zucchini.

Lentil and Zucchini Cakes starting to cook in a frying pan with center cake flipped over. They have a crispy outside and soft inside and are perfect for an easy dinner!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan, oregano, scallions, lentils, and zucchini.

Serve with my Mind-blowing Remoulade or a Sriracha and Mayo mixture.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Lentil Zucchini Cakes Recipe

Crispy outside, soft inside, these Lentil and Zucchini Cakes are such satisfying little bites of heaven!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan bringing a salty and nutty backdrop and oregano adding an herbaceous note.  The scallion gives a mild onion flavor.  But of course, the stars here are the meaty and earthy lentils and the fresh zucchini.  Formed into a perfect cake and pan fried in just a bit of olive oil. They make a perfect main dish or side! #zucchinicakes #lentilrecipes #zucchinirecipes #vegetarian

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Keyword Lentils, zucchini
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 cakes
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-large zucchini 2 cups grated
  • 1/4 cup scallion finely sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cooked lentils drained cook according to directions on bag
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • ½ cup parmesan freshly grated
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive oil

Instructions

Prep-Ahead Steps

  1. Cook the lentils by adding 1/2 cup of uncooked lentils to 2 cups of water and 1 tsp salt. Bring the water up to a boil, then reduce the heat to lowest setting, cover and let cook for 15 minutes until tender.

  2. While the lentils cook, finely slice the scallions. Using the large hole side of a grater, shred the zucchini. After it is all shredded, squeeze out and discard the excess water.

  3. Drain the lentils and then transfer to a large bowl. Mash the lentils with a fork so that about 50% are mashed. Add the shredded zucchini, scallions, flour, parmesan, egg, salt, and pepper. Stir to completely combine. Note: If the mixture seems too thin, add additional flour, a little at a time, until it thickens up.

    Parmesan, flour, shredded zucchini and lentils in a bowl for Lentil and Zucchini Cakes. They have a crispy outside and soft inside and are perfect for an easy dinner!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan, oregano, scallions, lentils, and zucchini.
  4. Divide the mixture loosely in the bowl into 8-9 equal large cakes or 16-18 small cakes.

Cook the Lentil and Zucchini Cakes!

  1. Add oil to a large skillet, heat to medium, add pancakes and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned.
    Lentil and Zucchini Cakes starting to cook in a frying pan with center cake flipped over. They have a crispy outside and soft inside and are perfect for an easy dinner!  The flavors are simple but perfect with parmesan, oregano, scallions, lentils, and zucchini.
  2. Serve with my Mind-blowing Remoulade or a Sriracha and Mayo mixture.

Mediterranean Sheet Pan Dinner with Sausage, Chickpeas, & Zucchini

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This Easy Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER has hearty and satisfying chicken sausage, creamy and bright zucchini. and crispy nutty chickpeas.  Serve over quinoa with a few dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas
Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

I love cooking, but I hate doing dishes.  I don’t know about you, but in my house, there are always dishes piling up!  That’s one of the reasons I LOVE this Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER for easy cleanup!  It has hearty and satisfying chicken sausage, creamy and bright zucchini. and crispy nutty chickpeas.  Everything is infused with Mediterranean flavors from the garlic, oregano, and olive oil.  Serve over quinoa with a few dollops of seasoned Ricotta and you gotta one heck of a delicious dinner!

Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER on a plate with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

Loaded with Protein & Fiber!

Sometimes feeding kids leaves you wondering if they are getting enough protein, vitamins, nutrients, and fiber.  This Sheet Pan Dinner has you covered, with over 18g of Fiber and 52.5g Protein!   The average sedentary woman needs 46g of Protein per day and about 25g of Fiber per day so this meal definitely keeps you on track to meet your daily needs!

The reason this recipe packs such a punch in both Protein and Fiber is because you are getting high quality inputs from different sources here.  While many foods give protein, not all are the complete proteins that you can get from meat, meaning they contain all 9 Essential Amino Acids.  Chicken, Chickpeas, and Quinoa ALL provide complete proteins, so this is especially important here.  Chickpeas and Quinoa are also great sources of Fiber.

Other Sheet Pan or One Pot Dinners packing a punch:

For with bite of zucchini, chickpeas, sausage, and ricotta. Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER has hearty and satisfying chicken sausage, creamy and bright zucchini. and crispy nutty chickpeas.  Serve over quinoa with a few dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  But, I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Nothing special for this one! Just a large sheet pan (I use a 17×11) and a small-medium pot with lid for the quinoa.

PREP-AHEAD TO MAKE YOUR MEDITERRANEAN SHEET PAN DINNER

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge as your meal Kit… (See the recipe below for more details)

Ingredients for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

For this recipe, you can prepare all of the ingredients in advance and simply roast them in the oven the night you want to eat this!

  1. Prep the Chickpeas
  2. Slice the Zucchini
  3. Slice the Sausage
  4. Cook the Quinoa
  5. Mix the Ricotta

Start by draining the chickpeas and rinsing them under cold water.  Store them in the fridge until ready to cook.

Slice the zucchini lengthwise in half and then cut 1/4 inch slices.Sliced zucchini on cutting board with knife for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

You can make the Quinoa up to 4 days in advance and store it in the fridge as well!  Start by measuring out 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and rinsing it in a strainer with cool water in the sink.  Then put the rinsed quinoa in a small-medium size pot with fitted lid.  Add 2 cups of water and 2 tsp of Chicken Base or a Bouillon cube.

Rinsing quinoa in strainer for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

Spoon adding chicken base to quinoa for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

Bring the water to a soft boil and stir to make sure the base or bouillon is dissolved.  Turn the heat down to the lowest setting, cover with fitted lid and cook for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, turn the heat off, but keep it covered for another 5 minutes or so as it starts to cool down.  Then fluff with a fork and transfer to storage container to store in the fridge until ready to reheat and eat.

Italian Chicken Sausage

Next slice the Chicken Sausage and store it in the fridge as well. 

For this recipe, I used pre-cooked Italian Chicken Sausage.  There are several brands now at stores.  If you want to use Raw Italian Chicken Sausage, you will have a choice between links or bulk.  If you buy links, you will want to pre-cook it yourself and then slice it for the recipe.  Or you can squeeze it out of the casings into bite-size pieces and cook them on the sheet pan. 

I used Italian Chicken Sausage from Hungyroot!  It’s a subscription box service that sends you pre-prepped fresh and healthy food products every week.  The food products range from fresh produce that’s been peeled, chopped, diced.  To healthy proteins like cooked chicken and meat alternatives, such as Beyond Burger, and other vegetarian and vegan products. For a limited time, Hungyroot is running an amazing  promotion!  New customers get $50 off their first 2 orders ($25 off each order)!  Just click here to check it out!

Sliced sausage on cutting board with knife for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

Sliced sausage on cutting board with knife for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

Ok, the final prep-ahead step is to mix the Ricotta with garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.

COOK YOUR MEDITERRANEAN SHEET PAN DINNER

Preheat your oven to 400 F degrees.  

Add the Chickpeas to a Large Sheet Pan. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp dried oregano. Toss the chickpeas in the seasoning until dispersed evenly and then spread them out into a single layer on the pan. Roast the Chickpeas in the oven for 15 minutes.

Chickpeas on pan for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

Chickpeas on pan for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

After 15 minutes, push the chickpeas to the side of the pan and add the zucchini slices in the center and the sausage slices on the other side. Drizzle olive oil on the zucchini and sprinkle with salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp Oregano. Flip the zucchini over and do the same to the other side. Bake in the oven for another 15 minutes.Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

After 15 minutes, take the sheet pan out and add parmesan cheese on top of the zucchini. Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes either under the broiler or back on center rack to get golden brown.Hand sprinkling parmesan on zucchini for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

While everything is roasting in the oven, warm up the Quinoa in the microwave for 1 minute. Or you can put it in a pot on the stove with a tbls of water. Cover and reheat on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring to ensure it doesn’t burn.

To serve, plate a large scoop of Quinoa and top with some sausage, zucchini, and chickpeas. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and add a dollop or two or three of the seasoned Ricotta. 

ENJOY!

😍 Carrie

Mediterranean Sheet Pan Dinner: Sausage, Chickpeas, Zucchini

This Easy & Delicious Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER has hearty and satisfying chicken sausage, creamy and bright zucchini. and crispy nutty chickpeas.  Everything is infused with Mediterranean flavors from the garlic, oregano, and olive oil.  Serve over quinoa with a few dollops of seasoned Ricotta and you gotta one heck of a delicious dinner! #sheetpandinner #easydinner #healthydinner #familydinner #dinnerideas #onepandinners #30minutemeals #chickpeas #quinoa

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword chicken sausage, chickpeas, sheet pan dinner, zucchini
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 747 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Sheet Pan Ingredients

  • 15 oz Chickpeas
  • 1 Zucchini, large
  • 4-5 links Pre-cooked Chicken Sausage, Italian
  • 2 tsp Oregano, dried
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder

Other Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups Water or Chicken Broth (add 2 tsp Chicken base or bouillon cubes to water)
  • 1 cup Ricotta Cheese, whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano, dried

Instructions

Prep-Ahead

  1. You can make the Quinoa up to 4 days in advance and store it in the fridge.  Start by measuring out 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and rinsing it in a strainer with cool water in the sink.  Then put the rinsed quinoa in a small-medium size pot with fitted lid.  Add 2 cups of water and the chicken bouillon. Stir and bring to a simmer. Turn down to the lowest heat setting, cover and let cook for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, turn off the heat, but leave the lid on until ready to serve.

    Rinsing quinoa in strainer for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas
  2. Drain the chickpeas and rinse them under cold water.  Store them in the fridge until ready to cook.

  3. Slice the zucchini lengthwise in half and then cut 1/4 inch slices.

    Sliced zucchini on cutting board with knife for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas
  4. Slice the sausage and store in fridge until ready to cook.

    Sliced sausage on cutting board with knife for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas
  5. In a medium-size bowl, mix the Ricotta with 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder, 1/2 tsp Oregano, 1/2 tsp Salt, 1/2 tsp Black Pepper. Store in the fridge until ready to eat.

Cook

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees

  2. Add the Chickpeas to a Large Sheet Pan. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp dried oregano. Toss the chickpeas in the seasoning until dispersed evenly and then spread them out into a single layer on the pan. Roast the Chickpeas in the oven for 15 minutes.

    Chickpeas on pan for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas
  3. After 15 minutes, push the chickpeas to the side of the pan and add the zucchini slices in the center and the sausage slices on the other side. Drizzle olive oil on the zucchini and sprinkle with salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp Oregano. Flip the zucchini over and do the same to the other side. Bake in the oven for another 15 minutes.

    Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas
  4. After 15 minutes, take the sheet pan out and add parmesan cheese on top of the zucchini. Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes either under the broiler or back on center rack to get golden brown.

    Hand sprinkling parmesan on zucchini for Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas. Serve over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas
  5. While everything is roasting in the oven, warm up the Quinoa in the microwave for 1 minute. Or you can put it in a pot on the stove with a tbls of water. Cover and reheat on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring to ensure it doesn't burn.

  6. To serve, plate a large scoop of Quinoa and top with some sausage, zucchini, and chickpeas. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and add a dollop or two or three of the seasoned Ricotta. Enjoy!

    Mediterranean SHEET PAN DINNER on a plate with chicken sausage, parmesan zucchini. and crispy chickpeas over quinoa with dollops of seasoned Ricotta. #sheetpandinner #chickpeas

Recipe Notes

Sausage: If you are using raw sausage links, you have a choice:

  1. cook the sausage links whole first - you can put them on the sheet pan first and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Then slice and follow the recipe to add the chickpeas and Zucchini and bake another 20 min. Or...
  2. Remove the raw sausage from the casing and separate it into bite-size chunks. Then cook according to the recipe. 20 min should be enough at the 400F high heat to cook the raw sausage through.