Panko Corn and Pepper Schnitzel

Corn Panko and Pepper Schnitzel with Heirloom Tomato Relish - Vegetarian Recipe

When summer rolls around, two ingredients jump to the top of my “must cook with” list– corn and tomatoes. When I was a little girl, my Grandpa Avey had a vegetable garden where he grew rows of corn and big, beautiful vine-ripened tomatoes. During the summer I would help him harvest, pulling the tomatoes from the vine and smelling that wonderful aroma from the stem that lingered on my fingers. We’d pull the ears of corn from the stock, then I’d help my grandma shuck them in the kitchen, peeling the whisper-soft silks from the cob. Corn and tomatoes became forever associated with sunshine, gardening and family.

Nowadays, it is almost obligatory that I cook with corn and tomatoes during the summer. Recently I combined three of my favorite foods– schnitzel, corn and heirloom tomatoes– into one delicious dish, Panko Corn and Pepper Schnitzel. I spiced up a corn batter with Mexican-style flavors and added a roasted pepper for sweetness and depth. Grilling the corn and pepper added even more summery flavor to the mix. The result was, in a word, deeee-lish!

Because of concerns over pesticides and GMO’s, I try to find organic corn whenever possible. It can be somewhat tough to track down nowadays; I tend to have more luck at our local farmer’s markets than at the grocery store. Heirloom tomatoes can also be difficult to locate depending on where you live, which is why I started growing a couple of plants on my patio. My first harvest was last week. I swear to you, I have the opposite of a green thumb, but the tomatoes are popping out all over. Never have store-bought heirlooms tasted so sweet! You can see the results of my harvest in the tomato relish picture below. I’m very proud of my little patio garden. I know Grandpa would be proud, too. If you don’t have heirlooms on hand for the relish, vine-ripened red tomatoes will work great too. Just make sure they are ripe and sweet!

This Panko Corn and Pepper Schnitzel is very easy to whip up, and the recipe can easily be adjusted based on your time frame. I prefer grilling the corn and pepper prior to making the schnitzel; it adds an extra step but also kicks up the flavor substantially. If you’re in a hurry, no worries– just skip the grilling and use a pre-roasted, peeled pepper (you can sub a small roasted bell pepper from a jar in a pinch). To save even more time, make the corn batter, cover, and refrigerate up to overnight. The refrigeration makes the batter easier to handle, and will save on your prep time right before dinner.

This recipe makes 8 corn schnitzels. They are about the size of thick silver dollar pancakes or large latkes. If we’re eating it as an entree, we usually serve 2 per person alongside lots of relish and some side salads. Bigger appetites may want 3 or even 4 per serving, so feel free to double the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd. I prefer to serve them as an appetizer. They are wonderful topped with a dollop or sour cream or Greek yogurt and a scoop of fresh heirloom tomato relish. This is a terrific vegetarian alternative to traditional meat schnitzel, with so much flavor that nobody will feel deprived. Enjoy!

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Corn Panko and Pepper Schnitzel with Heirloom Tomato Relish - Vegetarian Recipe

Panko Corn and Pepper Schnitzel

Corn and Pepper Schnitzel Ingredients

  • 2 ears corn, shucked or 1 1/4 cups corn, canned or frozen (you will need 1 1/4 cups corn total)
  • 1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled and diced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 3/4 cup panko style breadcrumbs, divided
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying (1/4 inch in medium skillet)
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt for topping (optional- use non-dairy sour cream for pareve)

Heirloom Tomato Relish Ingredients

  • 2 cups heirloom tomatoes, diced (or sub red vine-ripened tomatoes)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey or agave
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

You will also need

  • medium skillet, mixing bowls, grill (optional)
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Servings: 8 silver dollar-sized schnitzels
Kosher Key: Pareve or Dairy depending on garnish

To Make Tomato Relish

  • A few minutes before cooking the schnitzel, place all tomato relish ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir to combine. Set aside at room temperature to allow flavors time to marinate. Serve with schnitzel. Use a slotted spoon for serving so that the juices from the tomatoes don't make the schnitzel soggy.

To Make Corn Schnitzel

  • If you'd like to grill the vegetables (I love doing this as it adds a lot of flavor), shuck and clean the corn cob of its silks. Brush corn and pepper with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Corn Panko and Pepper Schnitzel with Heirloom Tomato Relish - Vegetarian RecipeGrill both corn and pepper for 10 minutes on high heat, turning every 2-3 minutes, till corn is tender and blackened in places and pepper is softened, blackened and collapsing. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Corn Panko and Pepper Schnitzel with Heirloom Tomato Relish - Vegetarian RecipeRemove corn from cob. I prefer to use a bundt pan, placing one end of the cob in the center and slicing the kernels off with a sharp knife so that they fall neatly into the pan. Measure out 1 1/4 cups corn and reserve. Save any additional corn to add to a salad, or you can add it to the tomato relish if you prefer.
  • Corn Panko and Pepper Schnitzel with Heirloom Tomato Relish - Vegetarian RecipeIf you're not grilling the corn, steam it till tender, then allow to cool to room temperature before removing the kernels from the cob. If using frozen corn, run under warm water till it is thawed, then drain and pat dry. If using canned corn, drain and pat dry. If you're not grilling the pepper, then roast it, peel, and let cool, or use a pre-roasted peeled pepper.
  • Dice the peeled cooked pepper into small pieces.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, salt, smoked paprika, cumin, sugar and cayenne.
  • Corn Panko and Pepper Schnitzel with Heirloom Tomato Relish - Vegetarian RecipeIn a separate mixing bowl, combine beaten eggs, lemon juice and scallions.
  • Corn Panko and Pepper Schnitzel with Heirloom Tomato Relish - Vegetarian RecipeCombine the egg mixture with the dry ingredients. Mix well.
  • Corn Panko and Pepper Schnitzel with Heirloom Tomato Relish - Vegetarian RecipeMix corn kernels and diced peppers into batter. At this point, you can cover the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to overnight (which will make it easier to handle and make into breaded patties), or you can proceed immediately with the recipe.
  • Corn Panko and Pepper Schnitzel with Heirloom Tomato Relish - Vegetarian RecipeTo bread the schnitzel, fill the bottom of a shallow baking dish with 1 cup panko breadcrumbs. Drop ¼ cupfuls of batter into breadcrumbs using an ice cream scoop or measuring cup (I like using an ice cream scoop). Gently flatten the batter into a patty, shaping it as you go, and coat the opposite side with crumbs. The patties will be delicate and somewhat prone to crumbling, but they will hold together much better after being fried in hot oil. Remove from panko with a spatula.
  • Corn Panko and Pepper Schnitzel with Heirloom Tomato Relish - Vegetarian RecipeHeat 1/4 inch of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat till hot enough for frying. Add breaded schnitzels gently to the hot oil. Cook for approximately 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels.
  • Serve schnitzel warm topped with heirloom tomato relish and optional sour cream or Greek yogurt.
  • Corn Panko and Pepper Schnitzel with Heirloom Tomato Relish - Vegetarian Recipe

Comments (32)Post a Comment

  1. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Okay, LOVE this recipe. Cannot wait to try as I do love fresh summer corn, but I adore that you posted a pic of taking the kernels of the cob (always the messiest part of the process for me) – thanks for that great tip and for all the wonderful recipes!! xo

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi Tori, thank you so much for your wonderful recipes, and lovely photos! I’m a visual person, and your pictures are magic :). I especially appreciate your take on many Middle Eastern recipes you post! You were able to reignite my love for so many difficult, yet time consuming Arabic dishes. Your recipes include familiar flavors, but in a much easier format than anyone else’s I have come by!
    I will be making your corn schnitzel and delicious looking chocolate pie for my family’s Eid dinner this weekend. Our Eid starts today, and although these two recipes are not Arabic, I will be creating with my family our own new food traditions. Thank you :)

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Lama. I’m so pleased that you’re enjoying the recipes, and I really appreciate you taking the time to write. Wishing you and your family blessings.

  3. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This looks wonderful. Here in Berkeley we have access to wonderful heirloom tomatoes and corn on the cob from local farmers. I’d love to try the schnitzel. However, I’m vegan. Would the egg substitute made from flax seed with its viscous texture work? Or?? It would be lovely if you could offer suggestions for egg substitutes. We have some non vegan friends very allergic to eggs. We vegans know how to deal with dairy substitutes, but eggs can be more difficult to figure out.

    1. Hi Ruchama– sorry, unfortunately I am not familiar with egg substitutes and how they work. It’s just not on my radar at the moment. My recipes on Shiksa in the Kitchen are kosher, which means I have a lot of restrictions to deal with already… eggs are one of the few “allowed” foods with both meat and dairy, so I don’t tend to worry about them much. Perhaps a vegan reader will see your comment and have some input? If I have a chance to experiment with egg replacements in the future I’ll be sure to include that information on the blog.

  4. My kitchen is kosher as well. So I’m aware of the challenges of adding vegan requirements, (not to mention dealing with guests with various allergies and sensitivities. There are a few Kosher vegan cook books, but not many. Fortunately most vegan ingredients (except some prepared meat and dairy substitutes) are certified. I’m going to try this delicious looking recipe using ingredients and method for the panko breading from one of my vegan sources and let you know how it comes out.

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    So excited to try this recipe! It sounds delicious and perfect for summer! Have you ever tried baking it rather than frying? I am a fellow shiksa, and my health-conscious Jewish mother-in-law is coming to visit next week. I think this would be right up her alley, minus frying in oil. Any suggestions?

  6. We are health conscious as well. In cases like these I would either use my well seasoned iron frying pan, sprayed first with kosher spray oil; or I would heat the oven to 350, put parchment paper on a baking sheet, spray one side of the schnitzels with the spray oil; cook for about 20 minutes until brown; turn over spray the reverse side, and bake another 20 minutes. I think if you just bake them without spray, they would be too dry. I have had great success with the oven method for meat-balls, vegan meat balls, felafel etc.

    1. Ruchama thanks for chiming in here, however I’m not sure the baking will work with this particular recipe. They are quite delicate when they’re not fried (more delicate than some other fried recipes) and prone to crumbling. Caitlyn, I can’t promise baking will work here, and I would hate to steer you wrong with your mother-in-law! Best to test it out before she visits. :) If it does work, please let us know!

  7. I agree that frying pan with spray would be much easier and surer and of course you would want to try them out first; my initial post actually stated that frying would be preferable, but the page load timed out and I forgot to include when i made my second attempt. I have one question: is responding to a request for suggestions “chiming in?” Are we supposed to leave such responses to you? I thought it was a general question. Perhaps I don’t understand this site’s protocol?

    1. Hi Ruchama– everybody is welcome to chime in here, this is a cooking community. I try to answer most of the questions that come in on the site, and on this particular recipe my advice would be slightly different than yours. The baking may work out great here, I just wanted to make sure Caitlyn had my answer too (since I wrote the recipe). I encourage all of my readers to discuss, provide feedback, etc… we are all learning together. :)

  8. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I tried this recipe tonight with my family for Rosh Hashana. Tori, I have made many of your recipes and with great success and acclaim from my family, but this one was very difficult for me. I could not get the schnitzel the right consistency to stay together in the frying pan very well, I had to make a double batch of the dry ingredients and it took me more than twice as long as you said. Oy vey! Some of the all of my issues I attribute to this being my first time with this recipe, of course. And it tasted DELICIOUS. L’ Shana Tovah!

    1. Hi Jenny! Sorry this process wasn’t a home run off the bat. It is a bit tricky to hold together, but with practice the process will become easier. Try refrigerating the mixture next time, it tends to make the patties much easier to form and hold together. Glad you enjoyed them!

  9. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This looks like a perfect way to use the end of some beautiful summer produce! Gorgeous!

  10. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    What an unusual and delicious dish this is-I would of never thought to make something like this. I love making your recipes. I served this with halibut and it was a completely perfect meal. I used Red Heirlooms with yellow stripes which made it extra pretty too. Thanks Tori.

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