HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Gluten-free binder for zucchini cakes?

Hello all,

I was going to make this recipe for a party, and found out that there are some folks attending who avoid gluten. Any suggestions for what might work in place of breadcrumbs....maybe crunched-up GF pretzels? This is a FANTASTIC recipe, incidentally, but I can swap in another dish if necessary- just looking for ideas to test-run.



I Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Crab Crab Cakes (From Kim O'Donnel's "A Mighty Appetite" blog: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/migh...


2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg beaten
1 ½ teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise or plain yogurt
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
vegetable oil, for frying

Place grated zucchini in a colander; sprinkle lightly with salt. Let zucchini sit for about 30 minutes, allowing it to drain. Squeeze to remove additional liquid - zucchini should be fairly dry.

Place zucchini and bread crumbs in a large bowl and mix together.

Place egg, Old Bay, Dijon, mayo, lemon juice and parsley in a small bowl. Mix well.

Pour egg mixture into zucchini-bread crumb mixture, and mix gently and thoroughly. Form into 8 patties the size of crab cakes. Heat a small amount of oil in a saute pan, and cook patties on both sides, browning well.

Serve with tartar sauce, chopped capers, fresh basil and/or lemon wedges. Goes really well with halved sun gold or cherry tomatoes.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. i'd go with finely ground cornmeal or almond or flax meal (or even ground GF oats if the people can eat them)...but there are plenty of options, including several brands of store-bought GF bread crumbs:

    1. Gluten free bread crumbs, corn tortillas, crushed up GF cereals

      1. Get some GF bread from Whole Foods or your local natural market, whiz in the food processor and proceed as normal.

        I think pretzels would taste too strongly.

        1. Thanks for your guidance! I specifically went for a standalone posting because of the use of the breadcrumbs in zucchini cakes, compared to its role as a meatball binder or crispy coating/topping.

          Haven't found a swap that I'm pleased with- tried fresh gluten free breadcrumbs and dried. Even after wringing out the water from the grated zucchini, it just seems "heavier" in texture than I'd like. For now, I'm going to bring another dish to the menu. If I'm able to track down GF panko (not in my local stores) then it might be worth another shot.

          Thanks for your advice!

          5 Replies
          1. re: 4Snisl

            How about trying well-crushed potato chips? Try to get the low-salt variety. I think they might lend the texture you're after.

            1. re: 4Snisl

              maybe some crushed up rice crackers. rice-based products are quite light and probably won't give a heavy texture to the cakes.

              1. re: 4Snisl

                Excellent suggestions, CM and CM! :)

                Will see if I can test-run before tomorrow....if not, definitely on my "must-try" list!

                1. re: 4Snisl

                  "If I'm able to track down GF panko (not in my local stores) then it might be worth another shot."
                  i believe Kinnikinnick Foods is the only producer of GF bread crumbs, and i've never seen them in stores here in the US so you'd have to order them online. i have heard of people using finely crushed Rice Chex cereal as a panko substitute...

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    That might work; I saw Chex are now listed as "gluten free" in my local grocery store. Not sure whether corn or rice chex would be better---but try and report back! :)

                2. Chick pea flour, Rice flour, Tapioca starch, potato products in general and the list goes on.

                  1. If you decide to use rice crackers, make sure to check the ingredients. I believe many rice crackers include wheat flour. But in that vein, you may want to try crushed prawn crackers, though I'm unsure whether they would stand up in the zucchini mix the same way that panko would.

                    Another thought is to use crushed up pork rinds. A tip I picked up when I was low-carbing.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: soypower

                      Panko is made from wheat.
                      I do not think that Pork rinds or Shrimp chips have any binding or absorption properties.
                      If she uses a unaltered ingredient. there will be no worries about what else there may be in it.

                      1. re: chefj

                        Yes, I'm aware that panko is made from wheat. I was offering suggestions in lieu of my favorite binding ingredient (panko). Have you ever used Pork rinds as a binder? It does indeed have absorption properties, and also makes a nice crispy crust which I associate with crabcakes.

                        1. re: soypower

                          sorry about the miss read on the panko.

                    2. i second ghg's rec of almond meal... it's what i use for my salmon croquettes... eggs and almond meal do the trick beautifully!

                      1. I'm no help with the gluten free binder question (some great ideas here though) but I just wanted to say that I made these tonight and they were really excellent! Husband scoffed when I said 'zucchini cakes' but changed his tune when he tried them. I made a tartar sauce from chopped capers, dill, lemon and mayonnaise which worked well.
                        Thanks so much for sharing your great recipe!