Who planted all these zucchini plants? Why on EARTH would anyone put more than five seeds in a seed packet to sell you? Nobody needs this many zucchini!!! What am I supposed to do with all this? Lemme tell you what you’re going to do with all that zucchini: You’re going to EAT IT and you’re going to LOVE IT! Now, I know our tendency is to simply chop them up and saute ’em in a little olive oil, but here are some fantastically delicious ways to put that big green veggie into heavy menu rotation! Totally starting with dessert first, because we’re all adults here.
I’m going to start with my favorite recipe for zucchini bro
wnies from Dorothy at Crazy for Crust. I can personally vouch for this unbelieveable recipe, over and over again. These babies deliver dense and fudgy chocolatey goodness. If you’d rather have them more cakelike, you just add more water–it’s so easy to make them perfectly.
I recommend omitting the frosting–it’s like the ring wrap that takes my attention away from the center stone in an engagement setting–it’s too much for me.
The only modification I recommend for the brownie recipe is to peel your zucchini first. It seems like the peel doesn’t soften completely during baking and can throw off the texture of the brownie–maybe that’s just me.
But try this. If you don’t try anything else with your green giants, try this.
I’m sure someone else recipe-ed this before I thought of it on my own, but I’m going to give you the gist of it without any pictures. These are loosey-goosey directions. For larger zucchini, you’ll obviously need more filling. If you don’t like too many onions, then don’t put too many in there. Seriously, this is not that deep, but it’s filling and delicious. Put your leftovers with some cheese in zucchini and bake it into a melty, healthy delicious re-imagining of dinner.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Slice ’em in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds (for compost, chicken feed, pig food).
Then scoop out the flesh until the boats are about 1/4″ thick.
Chop up the scooped out zucchini and mix with an egg, salt, & pepper, in a bowl with any variety of the following:
- a cup or two of leftover rice, quinoa, or thin pasta
- any leftover cooked meat – ground or cut into small pieces
- shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese
- diced onions, peppers, tomatoes
- sliced mushrooms, olives
Mix it all up. If it seems too dry, you can add some cream, milk, another egg, some cream of whatever soup–really, it’s all fine. Then stuff the mixture back into your boats, mounding it on top if you want. Top with bread crumbs, shredded cheese, parmesan cheese, fried onions, smashed crackers, whatever you have.
Bake 30 minutes or so and devour.
There are a lot of variations on this. You can try an italian style, pizza subs, buffalo chicken, veggie-only…Your creativity is the limit. If you’re not feeling creative, search on Pinterest.
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Zucchini Grilled Cheese
Now, I haven’t tried this, but hoo-wee, do I want to! It looks warm and filling, like a belly-hug!
I know you’ve had “creamed potatoes”….they’re just mashed potatoes with a little extra milk, right? My grandma Julia used to make me creamed squash at Thanksgiving every year and I had to fight my family for it. Seriously, we send threatening messages to each other letting them know we’re going to eat all their squash. It’s good stuff.
Here’s how: dice it up, boil the heck out of it, drain it, mash it with butter and milk, add salt and pepper to taste. Boom. Side dish worth fighting over.
Slice ’em up in 1/2″ thick slices, coat in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and grill to your liking.
It’s pure summer.
Battered & Fried Zucchini
Ok, let me be honest here…This recipe isn’t about being healthy. This one is all about having the lightest, crispiest, most delicious batter coating on your fried zucchini that you could imagine. That calls for shortening, folks.
I’ve seen folks try with bread crumbs, parmesan, or crushed up fiber cereal to decrease fat and calories, but let’s be honest: if you’re frying it in fat, you want the real deal.
Either grate your big green deliciousness on a box grater or blitz the heck out of it in a food processor. Wrap a kitchen towel around your shreds and squeeze out the excess water. Mix about one-to-two cups of your shreds into your favorite meatloaf recipe. If your recipe doesn’t call for an egg, I’d add one. Then bake as usual. Moist delicious meatloaf.
I once tried to get extra fancy with this by patting out a thin layer of meat, then layering on my shredded zucchini, and rolling the whole thing into a meatloaf. Let me just tell you, it makes your whole meatloaf green. If you can live with that, fine. But if you have people in your house that act the fool when anything new’s on the plate, please don’t say I didn’t warn you.
If you prefer specific recipes, you can find one here.
Coming Up: What to do with the glut of tomatoes
I’ve linked this picture to the Dreamfields pasta recipe for zoodles. You can cut these up into tiny strips by hand, but I’ve got to tell you, for a lean, mean veggie consumer, it’s so much easier with a super-versatile veggie spiralizer.
A cup of pasta costs you about 200 calories. A cup of zoodles might be about 45 calories, depending on the vegetable. You can switch out half the pasta with zoodles to save calories, or switch it entirely to make a filling, nutritious substitute for pasta. As a pasta-loving someone who has lost 50 pounds (and plans to lose another 70), this is a super valuable switch to know about.
You can cook ’em for a hot pasta-like dish or serve ’em up cold in a pasta-salad-type dish.
And there’s no gummy starchy residue on these, either.
Ohhh boy! I can’t wait to make these. After making my own potato chips in the microwave, I KNOW making these babies in the oven is going to seriously change the snack game in this household.
We are some serious snackers here. Remember the Spice Girls? At my first job after college, we gave everyone there Spice Girls names. I had a drawer full of food because I hate being caught hungry (still do!)…they named me Snacky Spice. Wish I’d had THESE to snack on. Yum.
They named me Snacky Spice.
There are so many varieties for bread, from savory to sweet. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Cheesy Garlic Zucchini Bread recipe from Gather for Bread.
- Carrot and Apple Zucchini Bread from My Recipe Magic
- Traditional Zucchini Bread from A Taste of Homecoming Traditional Cooking from the Heartland of the South, 1989, link from eudaemonius on tumblr.
Know someone who could use some ideas?
Share with neighbors, friends, coworkers, customers, your community, anyone in the parking lot. Some people even leave stealth zucchini on doorsteps and counters.
I think it would be extra cool of you to leave some ideas with your veggie gifts, so the bounty doesn’t just sit on the counter while recipients try to come up with some way to prepare it.
Need some more ideas? Take a look at this post from Family Food Garden. She’s compiled a hundred recipes, including sweet, savory, cheesy, and even gluten-free ideas. A HUNDRED things to do with zucchini?! She also reminds you that you can use summer squash interchangeably with zucchini for these dishes.
What do you do with your extra bounty? Tell me in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Talk to you soon!