The zucchini are here! The zucchini are here! The world’s cheapest ingredient has arrived in gardens, farmers’ markets and grocery stores, and it’s cheap, cheap, cheap. So what do you do with all this bounty? Well, you can pan-fry it as a side vegetable, cube it and put it on kabobs, slice it raw into a big summer salad, put it on a summer veggie tray with dip or even make pickles out of it. Zucchini also is a great add-in for quiches and frittatas. Add zucchini to soup and stir-fry. Grated zucchini even helps keep meatloaf moist.
The uses are endless, because the veggie takes on the flavors around it. It has some vitamin C and a dash of vitamin A and almost no calories. Here are a couple of recipes that might help you use up the bounty:
Straight-up sautéed zucchini side
No fuss, no muss, but there’s hardly anything more delicious than sautéed or pan-fried zucchini!
- Slice 3 or 4 zucchini (at least one per adult, maybe a half zucchini for each of the kids)
- Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet; medium heat should be good for a nonstick skillet. If you’re using stainless or cast iron, you can increase the heat for faster cooking and a nice slight brown crispiness, but you’ll also need to stand over it to be sure it doesn’t burn
- Add zucchini slices as evenly as possible around the pan, then salt and pepper them.
- Stir and toss the zucchini slices around as they cook; they’re done as soon as they become slightly translucent. Take one out and taste it to know for sure! (Overcooking will result in a soggy – but still very tasty! – side.)
- 1 pound Italian sausage (or Italian-flavored ground chicken or turkey)
- 1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- ½ cup finely minced onion
- 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped fresh tomato
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 medium-large zucchini, about 8 to 10 inches long
- ½ cup grated Parmesan (or other) cheese
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sausage (or other meat), bread crumbs, onion, mushrooms and tomatoes. Add salt sparingly if using already-seasoned Italian sausage. You can add a bit more if using turkey or chicken. Pepper to taste. Halve the zucchini. With a melon-baller or large spoon, scoop out the center, with the seeds and discard. Leave a sturdy shell for stuffing. Stuff each zucchini half as full as you like – if the mixture doesn’t fill all eight halves, save the rest of the zucchini for another use. Place stuffed zucchini into a large baking pan that has been sprayed with vegetable spray. Cover and bake for about 40 minutes, or till meat is cooked and zucchini are tender. Uncover, top with the cheese and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, or till the cheese is melted. Allow about 1 zucchini per person.
- 3 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs (If you make just half the recipe, use one whole egg and one egg white)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup water or orange juice
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts) and/or
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips or
- 1 cup raisins or
- 1 cup dried cranberries (craisins) and 1 tablespoon orange zest
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water and zucchini. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts or other optional add-ins and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans (8-by-4-inch), sprayed well with nonstick spray (or greased and floured, whichever works better for you), for 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Note: Eat one loaf and freeze the other for later. You also can put different add-ins in each loaf … just cut the proportions in half for those. I’ve substituted whole wheat pastry flour for one-third of the flour and it works well.
What a great way to get your kids to eat vegetables!
Love summer produce? You may also be interested in the following: