I’m no stranger to veggie cakes, and I can’t wait to share this latest version with you! This one has an Italian twist. Full of delicious Italian veggies and gooey mozzarella cheese, this Italian vegetable cake recipe is baked in a muffin tin for minimal cleanup and deliciously crispy edges.
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Italian veggie cakes
I have a love for turning any and all veggies into delicious little patties and this Italian vegetable cake recipe is no different.
They are so versatile, which makes them a great option for meal-prepping as well. We have eaten them at all hours of the day. Try them with a poached egg on top for breakfast – it’s a great way to get an extra serving of vegetables in the morning.
Why this recipe works
Most of my veggie cake recipes are either fried or coated in breadcrumb and baked, and while that is incredibly delicious, I wanted to make these even quicker and easier.
Baking them in a muffin tin gives me the individually sized portions that I’m looking for, plus the heat from the tin gives these vegetable cakes crispy edges. The cheese gets nicely browned and lacy around the top, like the edge of a pan pizza – it’s fantastic.
This recipe for Italian vegetable cakes is really simple and straightforward, but if time is tight, you can break it up to make it work for you.
Prep all of the vegetables ahead of time, then mix and bake when you are ready.
- Broccoli rabe – Also called rapini, it is a green cruciferous vegetable. A good substitute would be broccoli.
- Mozzarella – A block of regular mozzarella that you would use for pizza, not the fancy kind.
- Eggplant – Regular eggplant, look for one with smooth skin, free of brown spots.
- Basil – Fresh, dried, or a combination of both will work.
- Garlic – Obviously.
- Sun-dried tomato – Use the kind packed in oil, they are softer and that oil has a ton of flavor.
- Chickpea flour – Also called besan or gram flour, it is loaded with protein and fiber, plus it has a delicious nutty flavor.
- Swiss chard – A good substitute would be spinach or kale.
- Salt and pepper
How to make savory veggie cakes
The first step in making these savory vegetable cakes is to roast the diced eggplant. I don’t bother peeling it or salting it and letting it sit to remove the excess liquid.
Toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and slide it into a hot oven.
Then, sauté the remaining vegetables, just to soften them a bit, and let let them cool.
Once the vegetables have been cooked, all that’s left to finish this Italian veggie cake recipe is mixing everything up in a bowl and piling it into a muffin tin.
You’ll want to make sure that you dice the veggies fairly small. Big chunks of vegetables won’t be quite as nice here.
Finally, when the mixture has been evenly portioned in the muffin tin, press it down (as I have in the bottom right corner of the photo above).
At this point, you could sprinkle a bit of extra cheese on top, or even buttery breadcrumbs, if you want an extra crunchy top.
After they have cooled slightly, remove them from the tin and serve. They will keep in the fridge for 4 or 5 days, or in the freezer for a month.
Not as written, but you can swap out the cheese for vegan cheese and replace the egg with a chia seed egg.
Yes! Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Drop a big spoonful of the mixture into the pan and let it cook for a few minutes on both sides, until golden brown.
Helpful tools and equipment
To make this Italian vegetable cake recipe, you’ll need the following:
- Muffin tin – regular size pan
- Small offset spatula – the veggie cakes pop right out with this tool!
- Medium sauté pan – I like this one will the taller sides to keep the greens contained until they cook down.
- Half size baking sheets – One can never have enough sheet pans. If yours warp in a hot oven, replace them with these.
Serving suggestions for Italian vegetable cakes
These veggie cakes loaded with Italian vegetables are perfect for any time of the day. They are a nutrient-dense breakfast with a poached egg on top, or as a light lunch.
To serve them as a side with dinner, here are a few mains to consider:
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- 1 medium eggplant (1 lb.), diced small
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced small
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped small (about 1 cup) *see note
- 2 cups Swiss chard, finely sliced *see note
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, or 1 tbsp. dried basil
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C / Gas mark 5.
- Toss diced eggplant with 1 - 2 tbsp. olive oil, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Place on parchment-lined sheet pan (eggplant will stick to pan without paper!) and roast for 20 minutes, or until softened and browned, then set aside to cool.
- While eggplant is roasting, heat a medium sauté pan over medium / medium-high heat. Add remaining olive oil to pan. Then add onions and cook for 4 - 5 minutes until beginning to soften.
- Add garlic, broccoli rabe, chard, salt and pepper, and dried basil if using. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes, until vegetables wilt. Remove from heat and add sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil (if using).
- Sprinkle chickpea flour over warm vegetables and stir to mix well, set aside to cool.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk egg, then add cheese. Add vegetable mixture to bowl and mix to combine.
- Portion evenly into 9 muffin cups and bake for 14 - 16 minutes.
Substitute broccoli for broccoli rabe.
Substitute spinach or kale for Swiss chard.
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Serving Size:1 vegetable cake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 104Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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