High Protein Zucchini Waffles
Updated: Sep 14
It’s August, and that means lots of yummy fresh produce to harvest! For us, it also usually means vegetables from friends and family who have extra garden vegetables they can’t use fast enough. We don’t have a garden this year, but we are blessed to have a pear tree in our front yard. Chris and I often bring big bags of pears to everyone from our neighbors to our gym friends.
Lately we’ve received GIANT zucchinis from family members – so big that one zucchini is the same size as four to six normal sized ones! I typically cut zucchini into rounds or matchsticks and roast them, but the surplus had me thinking more creatively. I’ve been craving breakfast for nearly every meal recently, so I thought – why not make waffles?!
Drain your zucchini!
I made zucchini fritters recently, though I made the mistake of not draining my zucchini first. The result was super watery batter – nothing a little extra flour couldn’t fix, but I learned my lesson! I always thought this was an unnecessary step, but I see the rationale for it when baking.
If you can take the extra hour or so, drain your zucchini ahead of time before you make these waffles. I quartered the zucchini and sprinkled it with salt (salt draws out moisture), then let it rest for about an hour in a colander with a bowl set underneath. I was amazed at the multiple cups of water waiting for me at the bottom of the bowl!
There are many ways to drain vegetables. Some people prefer to grate the zucchini, then place it in a cheesecloth and wring it out. Others use the back of the spoon or their hands to press the moisture out of shredded zucchini. Some sources say you only need to let your zucchini rest for 10 minutes after salting it, but in my experience, longer is better!
My favorite, easy way to drain zucchini (in advance) is shredding it, then freezing for a day. Defrost in the fridge. Once it has thawed, you can press down on the veggie to release water. Simply drain, then use in your recipe!
Make it your own
By removing some of the excess water, I was able to keep the amount of protein powder down, keeping the waffles light and fluffy. If you like even fluffier waffles, you can experiment with about 1/4 tsp baking powder mixed into the batter. This recipe can be made vegan by replacing the egg with an alternative, such as 1 Tbsp chia seeds mixed with 3 Tbsp water. This recipe is also naturally gluten free (as long as your protein powder is too!), as we use protein powder instead of flour.
These are great to make in advance or in the moment. If you make a big batch in advance, freeze them and toss in gallon bags – then when you’re ready to eat one or more, pop them in the toaster! I like to top them with blackberries and coconut whipped cream (the banana and monk fruit are sweet enough that you don’t need any maple syrup). These are also an awesome way to get vegetables and protein in at any meal!
High Protein Zucchini Waffles
Makes 3 mini waffles or 1 large waffle*
30g (about 1/3 cup) protein powder**
3/4 c shredded zucchini drained (see above for how to drain your zucchini)
1/3 banana, mashed
1 Tbsp sweetener of choice (I use Monk fruit)
Heat/plug in waffle iron and spray with olive oil
Mix all ingredients until combined
Pour 1/3 batter into waffle iron if using mini, otherwise pour all batter into iron
Cook for 6 minutes or until lightly browned (check frequently)
*If you don’t have a waffle iron, pour on a griddle over stovetop and make pancakes!
**If you use unflavored protein powder, consider adding vanilla extract or extra spices.
Fat: 8g Carbs: 17g
Net carbs: 14g Protein: 33g
**For a lower calorie and lower fat option, use the egg white only and decrease calories by 55, fat by 4.5g, and protein by 3g.
Did you make these? What other breakfast foods have you been able to make more macro-friendly with your own modifications?