Persian zucchini frittata (kuku kadoo), the best and easiest baked omelette filled with zucchini, delicious spices and herbs. It is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. So tender and custard like. Low calorie, low carb and with high quality protein.
Quick and easy dishes like this and our Kuku Sabzi (Persian Herb Frittata) are our go to recipes for busy days.
Persian Zucchini Frittata
This zucchini frittata is like a vegetable quiche with no crust. So delicate with crispy golden edges. It is a gorgeous frittata with a rich flavor from the addition of spices, which also give an anti-inflammatory boost to the dish.
Persian frittata or kuku is easy, quick to prepare and works well for any meal of the day. It can be a main dish with salad or bread. Or serve it as a side dish. It combines the high quality egg protein with lots of veggies.
Apart from saffron and Persian spice blend (advieh), kuku has turmeric. Curcumin, the active substance in turmeric has been found to have health benefits for heart health, cancer prevention, brain health, inflammatory bowl diseases, diabetes and more.
How to Make it
- Sauté thinly sliced zucchini with onions and garlic until softened. Squeeze juices really well.
- Combine salt, spices, flour and baking powder. Add a third of whisked eggs into the spice-flour mixture and mix well. Pour remaining whisked eggs and stir.
- Then combine sautéed vegetables with eggs. Adjust the seasoning.
- Heat oil in a skillet, pour egg-vegetable mixture and bake it uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Spread ½ to 1 tbsp butter or olive oil and sprinkle chopped herbs.
- Bake for another 5-10 minutes until golden brown on the top.
- Loosen baked zucchini omelette from the pan and cut into wedges.
Pro Tips and Tricks
- Much of the antioxidant potential of zucchini is in the skin. So, don’t peel it away. Use organic zucchini and scrub it nicely with a vegetable brush.
- Slice the zucchini very thin or you may grate it thick. Cook them until soft and tender.
- While cooking the zucchini, some juices are released. Be sure to squeeze the juices really well before adding to the whisked eggs. (You can add the drained juices to another soup or stew.)
- You could add some parmesan, feta or goat cheese if you prefer. Up to ½ cup would be ok for this recipe - ⅔rd added into the mixture and the rest on the top.
- For a creamy frittata you may add 2 tbsp heavy cream, half-and-half, whole milk, sour cream, yogurt or crème fraîche. Adding cheese or creamy additions to kuku is not typical in Persian cuisine.
- Persian spice blend (advieh) can be substituted with a ‘mild’ middle-eastern or eastern Mediterranean spice blend.
- Bake the frittata at a low temperature. Higher temperature may result in a kuku (frittata) that is dry and with an off flavor.
- Don't overcook the frittata. It needs to be puffed, but tender in the center. Remember that the cast iron skillet will continue to impart some heat to the frittata.
- Traditional Persian zucchini frittata (kuku kadoo) recipes use a pat of butter on the top, but olive oil works well too.
Storage and Leftovers: This Zucchini frittata keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days. Warm it up in the oven or in a skillet.
Freezer Friendly: It does freeze well up to two months. In fact, I make some batches and freeze them for a quick meal or dish after travel. Just thaw and reheat loosely covered in an oven or in a skillet.
Make Ahead: You can sauté the zucchini and drain them. Whisk the eggs with all the other ingredients except the baking powder, which should be added just prior to cooking.
Is Zucchini Healthy?
So now a little bit more on the star of the show – Zucchini! It is a member of the cucurbitaceae family along with pumpkins, cucumbers and gourds.
Zucchini is low in calories and carbohydrates. And high in free radical fighting nutrients such as vitamin C and manganese. This vegetable is also rich in B vitamins, that participate in energy metabolism.
Then it is good for eye health as it is a good source of the carotenoids – lutein and zeaxanthin. It is rich in potassium, the nutrient that balances sodium levels and regulates blood pressure – which makes it very heart healthy. And is a good source of dietary fiber.
Zucchini has a high percentage of water, so it makes a filling and satisfying dish. That is so good for maintaining a healthy body weight with a nutrient dense food. And it is easy to digest too.
More Squash Recipes:
- Tahini Creamed Yellow Squash with Caramelized Shallots
- Roasted Butternut Squash with Coconut, Cumin and Ginger
More Egg Recipes:
- Persian Mushroom Frittata with Spinach and Red Peppers
- Spinach Egg Stuffed Mushrooms
- Shakshuka (Eggs in Tomato Sauce)
Other Delicious Recipes:
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Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant Dip)
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Prick the eggplants with a fork in couple spots and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the skin turns darker and shrinks. Check foot notes for grilling, broiling or stove top options.
- The eggplants should be cooked through completely in the center. To check, press the back of a fork on the eggplant. It should compress easily all the way into the center without any resistance.
- Cut through the eggplant skin and scoop out the soft cooked flesh and mash it with a fork and set aside.
- Chop the tomatoes into small pieces, discarding some seeds if you wish. See note below for peeled and deseeded tomatoes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan at medium setting. Add the chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne or chili powder, ⅓ teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes are softened, stirring in between, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the mashed eggplants and cilantro. Continue to cook over low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, mashing it if needed, into a thick but slightly textured dip like consistency.
- Stir in lemon juice and salt. Adjust as per taste, let it cool and transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate it overnight before serving.
- Take the zaalouk from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving and let it come to room temperature. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Garnish with cilantro and red pepper flakes if you prefer.
- Chunky Zaalouk: To make a chunkier but less traditional zaalouk, insert garlic cloves into eggplant and roast it in the oven at 400˚F, along with the tomatoes. Chop the eggplants and tomatoes. Add the spices, herbs, half the olive oil, salt and mash it up to desired consistency. Drizzle olive oil and serve.
- Cooking Eggplants:
- Grill: Roast eggplants on charcoal or gas grill for 20 to 30 minutes, turning them slowly in between, until skin turns darker and shrinks.
- Broil: Cut eggplants lengthwise into halves and place the cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Place on the second rack and broil until skin turns darker and shrinks, about 20 minutes.
- Stovetop: Peel the eggplants completely, only some stripes or leave the skin on if you don’t mind it. Cut the eggplants into small pieces. Steam on high heat until soft or cook in a pan with some water until soft and mushy.
- Easy Zaalouk: Combine all ingredients with ⅓ cup of water and cook it over stove top until softened. Mash it up well and drizzle olive oil.
- Peeled and deseeded tomatoes: If you prefer, you can blanch the tomatoes. Cut a small cross on the surface of tomatoes and dump them in hot boiling water. After a minute, pick out the tomatoes and peel the skin, cut them into halves and deseed. Chop them into small pieces.
- Use more tomatoes if you want the dip to be saucy. You may even try using a little bit of tomato paste to give it thickness.
- Leftovers: Can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. You can freeze zaalouk for couple months. Thaw and reheat. Adjust the consistency, evaporating or adding water as needed. Check the seasoning as well.
- Nutrition facts not including any added salt.
- For other variations, tips and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.
Zucchini Frittata (Kuku Kadoo)
- 1½ lb zucchini sliced thin or grated thick
- 1 red onion large or shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic large, grated
- 2½ tbsp olive oil
- ½ tbsp butter grass fed or olive oil
- 6 eggs large
- ⅓ tsp salt adjust to taste
- ½ tsp ground black pepper ground
- 1½ tsp advieh try advieh for rice
- ⅓ tsp saffron ground, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1½ tbsp rice flour or all purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp green onions chives or basil, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Sauté onions or shallots until translucent. Then stir in grated garlic.
- Next add zucchini and sauté until soft. Tip: slice thinly or grate thick.
- Squeeze juices really well and transfer zucchini to another bowl.
- Then whisk the eggs well. In a separate bowl, mix salt, pepper, advieh spice mix, saffron, turmeric, flour and baking powder.
- First, add a third of the whisked eggs into the spice-flour mixture and mix very well. Pour the remaining whisked eggs and stir.
- Then add the sautéed vegetables to eggs and combine. Adjust seasoning as per taste.
- Heat remaining oil in the skillet. Then pour egg-vegetable mixture and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Remove skillet from oven and spread ½ to 1 tbsp butter or olive oil and sprinkle chopped green onions, chives or basil.
- Return skillet to oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until it turns golden brown on top. If needed, may broil the top for a minute or so.
- Run a knife around the baked zucchini omelette to loosen from the pan and cut it into wedges.
- This Persian zucchini frittata may be served with bread and yogurt if desired. Enjoy!
- Use organic zucchini, scrub it nicely and try to retain the peel for better nutrition.
- If you prefer, add up to ½ cup some parmesan, feta or goat cheese - ⅔rd in the mixture and rest on the top. For a creamy frittata you may add 2 tbsp heavy cream, half-and-half, whole milk, sour cream, yogurt or crème fraîche. Adding cheese or other creamy additions to kuku (frittata) is not typical in Persian cuisine.
- Persian spice mix (Advieh) recipe is on the blog. Ready made advieh is available at Persian or middle eastern grocery stores or online. It can also be substituted with a ‘mild’ middle-eastern or eastern Mediterranean spice blend.
- The Zucchini kuku is gluten free when using rice flour and not the alternative option (all purpose flour).
- Bake the frittata at a low temperature and don't overcook. It needs to be puffed, but tender in the center.
- Storage and Leftovers: It keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze up to two months. Thaw and reheat loosely covered in an oven or in a skillet.
- Make ahead: Cook zucchini and drain well. Whisk eggs with all other ingredients except baking powder, which should be added just prior to cooking.
This post was first published on January 2016 and has been updated with improvements in recipe, formatting, tips, and additional enhancements.