Ten Great Ways To Use Zucchini

July 23, 2012

Relax. All those zucchini plants you planted are now in over production and you are wondering what to do with all of it. Your neighbors can’t be the dumping ground you’ve come to depend on, and your family is tired of sautéed zucchini at almost every meal. Yet zucchini is a rite of summer gardens and farmers markets. It just would not be the same without it.

I am the first to admit we went overboard in planning our garden this year. So we put in nine zucchini plants instead of the usual two that give us way more than we can use. I don’t know what we were thinking, but the thought of them multiplying overnight has me very worried. Maybe I should just yank a few of the plants out but these are living things and I just don’t have the heart to do it.

But I have come up with some creative ways to use them. Here are ten suggestions.

The best advice I can give you about zucchini is to use small size ones. I harvest them when they are 6-8 inches long. They taste better, have less seeds and water and you will use a lot of them up!

  1. Zucchini Fritters (recipe below!)
  2. Zucchini Smoothie (add it to your favorite veggie smoothie)
  3. Oven Fried Zucchini Sticks (Cut like French fries; toss in olive oil and salt; lay on baking sheet and bake in preheated 400F oven until brown and crisp.
  4. Zucchini Gnocchi (add grated to your favorite gnocchi dough)
  5. Zucchini Lasagne (use long slices in place of noodles)
  6. Zucchini Bundles (recipe below!)
  7. Zucchini Frittata (add grated to your favorite frittata recipe)
  8. Dried Zucchini Chips (Cut into coins; toss with seasonings and use a dehydrator to dry until crisp)
  9. Zucchini/Carrot Muffins (recipe below)
  10. Zucchini Pickles (recipe below)

Zucchini Fritters

Serves 4 to 6

2 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium zucchini)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup flour
Salt to taste
Ground pepper to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup canola oil

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the oil.

Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large non stick saute’ pan over medium high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, drop 1/4 cupfuls of the batter into the pan, spacing the batter a couple of incches apart. Do three or four at a time. When the fritters begin to brown along the edges, carefully flip them over with a spatula and brown the other side. Transfer them to a dish as you make them and keep them warm in a 200F oven.

Serve hot as a side dish or simple luncheon dish with a side of salad.

Zucchini and Summer Squash Bundles

Serves 4

1 cup ricotta cheese, well drained
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
1 teaspoon finely minced thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grinding black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 medium zucchini at least eight inches long
2  medium yellow summer squash at least eight inches long
Olive oil spray
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Beat the ricotta cheese with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in the lemon zest, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper and walnuts and set aside.

Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill.

Trim the zucchini and squash ends. Slice each into four 1/4-inch thick lengthwise strips and place them on a baking sheet. Spray the slices on both sides and place them in a single layer on the grill. Grill on both sides until the strips are soft but not mushy. Transfer them to the baking sheet to cool.

Top a summer squash strip with a zucchini strip; trim ends if necessary to make them even. Spread a thin layer of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the zucchini strip. Start at one end and roll the strips up together like a jelly roll. Make three more. Place two rolls on each of 4 plates.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan and pour a little over each plate. Serve.

If you do not have a grill, place the strips on a lightly sprayed baking sheet and bake them in a preheated 350F oven for 5-8 minutes our until they soften. Then proceed with the recipe.

Zucchini Pickles

Makes 1 ½ pints

2 medium zucchini thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion,thinly sliced
1 ½ tablespoons salt
1 cup distilled white vinegar
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon anise seed
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Place zucchini and onion in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt, add cold water to cover and let stand for 1 hour. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium size heavy duty pot. Bring to boil and remove from heat.

Strain the zucchini and onions . Stir them into the vinegar mixture in the pot and let stand one hour.

Bring zucchini mixture to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.. Refrigerate jars when cool. Store up to 4 weeks.

Zucchini Carrot Muffins

Makes 2 dozen or more

2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
12 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups light olive oil
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Zest one orange
1 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
½ cup shredded coconut

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves.

In a separate bowl combine the eggs, oil, yogurt, extract and zest; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in zucchini, carrots,nuts,raisins and coconut. Pour into greased muffin tins

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Cool 10 minutes in the tins; remove and transfer to wire racks.

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