So you decided to grow zucchini and now you have a zucchini surplus? Not to worry, my dear! Keep reading for 12 easy recipes that will put that surplus to good use and let you vary it up so that you’re not eating too much of the same dish!
1. Eat As Is!
There’s no doubt about it, zucchini is a cool and refreshing veggie and she’s great all on her own. While you can top her with your fave mayo or salad dressing, zucchini makes an excellent veggie crudité. Along with sliced carrots, cukes, and peppers, you can make a veggie platter with your fave hummus, cheese spread, or dip. Try this simple homemade guacamole recipe. You might want to double or triple the recipe if there’s party action afoot!
• 2 avocados
• 2 small tomatoes, peeled and pushed through sieve to remove seeds*
• 1 tsp lime juice
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
Puree in a food processor.
*You can also puree tomatoes in a food processor, pour into a nut milk bag and squeeze out the juice. The peels and seeds will be left in the nut milk bag!
Read more: Growing Chayote Squash
2. Whip Up Some Zucchini Hummus
Yes you can make hummus sans chickpeas! Sub in the zucchini, add in some herbs and seeds, and voila! Feel free to use this spread in the previous idea mentioned (that is, use this zuke hummus on zucchini!).
Herby Zucchini Hummus
• 3 medium-large zucchinis, peeled and chopped
• 1 handful each fresh coriander, parsley & dill
• 4 Tbsp each sunflower & pumpkin seed (soaked 4 hours & drained before using)
• 4 Tbsp sesame seed-> grind seeds in a coffee mill before using
• 1 Tbsp miso
• A splash of tamari (wheat-free for those with gluten allergies)
• To taste: Ginger, Turmeric & Herbamare aromatic sea salt
Blend all ingredients in a food processor ’til they reach a smooth consistency, adding in a touch of ginger, turmeric and Herbamare sea salt to taste.
3. Noodle ‘Em And Eat Like Pasta
Using a spiralizer, it’s easy to make zucchini into noodles. Then simply add in your fave pasta sauce, and done! During hot summer days, having a room temp pasta sauce over noodles is refreshing, but you can warm up your sauce, too. An alfredo sauce also tastes nice.
4. Make No-Bake Lasagna
Yes, lasagna noodles are usually made with flour, but this easy to make version requires no cooking at all (just make sure you have some pasta sauce on hand).
Easy No-Bake Veggie Lasagna
• 4-6 large zucchini
• 1 bunch kale
• 3-4 Tbsp lemon juice
• 1-2 tsp sea salt
• Your fave tomato sauce
• Shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese or vegan shredded cheese
Remove stems from kale leaves with a knife or tear the leaves from the stems. Blend kale leaves with lemon juice and salt in the food processor. Let marinate to soften, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, peel zucchini. Using a mandolin or peeler, slice zucchini into long strips lengthwise. When you reach the seeds, do the other side (no seeds in the slices; save these bits for another recipe). In a square pan, layer slightly overlapping slices of zucchini to cover the bottom (cut slices to fit pan as needed). You can add a second layer of zucchini “lasagna noodles,” if you like. Spoon tomato sauce over the zucchini noodles. Next, add a layer of marinated kale, then top with a layer of shredded cheese. Cover with a layer of overlapping zucchini slices. Repeat this process a second or third time (sauce, kale and cheese then zucchini slices). Top with a final layer of tomato sauce. Serve or refrigerate before serving. Cut into square pieces and lift out with a spatula.
Tip: if you find your lasagna falls apart too easily, line your square pan with parchment paper first before making the lasagna. Refrigerate to set. Gently lift out the lasagna (with the parchment paper) onto a serving plate and slice into squares before serving. Gently pushing down on each layer while making the lasagna will also help, as will making sure the tomato sauce you use is thick and not on the runny side.
Variation: sprinkle nutritional yeast on the top layer of tomato sauce.
Variation: Add in 1/3-1/2 cup nutritional yeast to your tomato sauce to give it a cheesy feel.
Variation: Use spinach instead of kale or use a combination of spinach/kale.
Variation: Use your favorite nut paté instead of the cheese.
5. Do Zucchini Roll Ups
These hors-d’oeuvres are simple to make and they look elegant too.
Carrot & Beet Zucchini Roll Ups
• 2-3 zucchini
• 1-2 beets, peeled & spiraled into angel hair
• 1-2 carrots, peeled & spiraled into angel hair
• Your fave thick hummus, pate, cheese spread or nut pate
Peel zucchini. Slice lengthwise into long strips using a mandolin or peeler. When you get to the seeds, turn the zucchini over and continue to slice lengthwise into long strips (no seeds in the slices; save these bits for other recipes). Put 1/8-1/4 tsp of your favorite paté or spread on the edge of a zucchini slice closest to you. Add a pinch of beet “noodles” or carrot “noodles” or both on top of the spread, slightly more to the left-hand side (you want the noodles to remain in the roll but also to stick out). Roll tightly and stand the roll up. Use a bit of the spread to keep any edges from coming undone. Alternatively, use a toothpick to keep the edges together or leave the rolls seam-side down.
Note: using gloves when working with beets is a good idea to prevent your hands from getting stained.
6. Juice ‘Em
Smoothie time. Zucchinis almost take like cukes, so why not make delish veggie juices, like this:
Tomato and Zuke Refresher
• 3 tomatoes, peeled if you like, & chopped
• 1 zucchini, peeled if you like, & chopped
Blend in a high speed blender and serve.
Variation: Add in 1 additional zucchini and 1 bunch celery. Blend in a high speed blender and drink as a smoothie, or strain through a nut milk bag and drink as juice.
7. Zucchini Surplus Lovin’ In The Oven: Make Up A Batch Of Zuke Muffins
Hopefully you’ve been teaching the kids that veggies like zucchini are packed with nutrients and they won’t mind helping you out to make these num-nums.
Figgy Zucchini Muffins
• 1 3/4 cups brown rice flour
• 2 Tbsp ground flax
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 cup dried figs pulsed to small bits in the food processor OR raisins
• 1/2 tsp baking powder (optional)
• 1/2 tsp baking soda (optional)
• 1 cup shredded zucchini
• 1/2 cup milk or non-dairy milk
• 1/3 cup maple syrup OR coconut sugar
• 1/3 cup water
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 2 Tbsp coconut oil (optional)
• Stevia, to taste, as desired
Mix dry ingredients together and then mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour wet over dry and stir until combined. Taste test batter and add in stevia, if needed, to your sweet-liking-taste. Pour batter into a 12 muffin tin lined with soy-based muffin cups or greased with coconut oil. Bake at 350°F 18-23 minutes or until done.
Notes & Variations: 1-The baking soda and powder are to help give the dough rise, however these added salts can be omitted as the dough will not rise much anyway in these hearty num-nums! 2- The coconut oil can be easily omitted. The fat helps to give richness to this recipe. You can replace the oil with 2 Tbsp water or milk, or leave it out altogether. 3- If using coconut sugar and you find your batter too thick, simply add in about 1/4 cup more water or milk. 4- If you’d like to use 2 eggs in this recipe instead, then omit the flax (in the dry ingredients) and 1/3 cup water (in the wet ingredients). 5- For a sweeter version, use 1/2 cup chocolate chips instead of the figs.
8. Stuff ‘Em
Just like stuffed peppers or tomatoes, but these are more like zucchini boats. How to? Simply hollow out the fleshy seeds, add in your fave cooked grains and cook ’em! Try stuffing them with this Quinoa Tabbouleh recipe. You can use sprouted or unsprouted quinoa*. If you use unsprouted quinoa, rinse the quinoa well first before cooking. Note that sprouted quinoa has a pleasant, corn-like taste. This recipe is also great as a salad on its own!
• 4 cups sprouted or cooked quinoa*
• 3/4 cup sprouted or cooked lentils OR mung beans OR a combination
• 1 pkg 200g cherry tomatoes OR 3 Roma tomatoes diced small
• 4-5 celery sticks, diced small
• 2 medium OR 1 large cucumber OR zucchini, diced small
• 1/2 red onion, diced small
• 1 handful fresh parsley OR coriander OR a combination
• 1-2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
• 2 Tbsp fresh chopped dill (optional, but use it if you have it)
• 3/4 cup raisins OR cranberries OR a combination, for sweetness
• 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
Mix all together.
• 1/4 cup sesame seed-> grind in a coffee mill
• Juice of 2 lemons or 1/4 cup
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1-2 tsp Herbamare OR sea salt
• 1/8 cup water, or more, for consistency
Whip the dressing in a high speed blender and pour over salad; mix well. Refrigerate several hours to let marinate. Serve as is or stuff into hollowed out zucchinis, tomatoes or bell peppers.
To cook: place stuffed zucchini boats cut side up in a large baking pan or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 375°F for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 8-10 minutes.
*To sprout quinoa: soak 2 cups quinoa in a 1-liter mason jar 8 hours or overnight. Using a fine mesh sieve, drain and rinse the quinoa several times until the water runs clear. Let the quinoa sit in the jar for about 24 hours. You’ll see “tails” or sprouts forming. Rinse before using.
9. Go Crazy Over Zucchini Fries
Instead of the usual potato fare, try this easy-to-do recipe.
• 2 zucchini
• 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
• 1/2 cup bread crumbs (gluten-free for those with allergies), or more as needed
Peel the zucchini and slice ’em into rounds or julienne them. Toss them with the coconut oil then dip ’em to cover in the breadcrumbs. Place the fries on parchment lined cookie sheets (or use silicone mats) and bake at 425°F 20-30 min.
10. Pickle ‘Em
Yep, just like cukes, you can make pickles outta these. Easy-peasy, too, and they’ll keep in the fridge for up to 3 months. This version uses probiotic-friendly apple cider vinegar with “mother” and uses less sugar compared to other recipes. Feel free to experiment with this recipe and change it as you see fit!
• 2 lbs. small zucchini , edges trimmed and sliced thinly
• 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly OR 1 1/4 cup chopped chives
• 2 Tbsp sea salt
• 2 cups apple cider vinegar with “mother”
• 1/2 cup spring water
• 1/4-1/2 cup coconut sugar
• About a dozen sprigs dill OR 3-4 sprigs rosemary + 6-8 sage leaves
• 2 tsp mustard seed (optional)
Make a cold salt water bath: in a bowl, add the salt to the zucchini and onion slices and massage in with your fingers; then cover with cold water and ice and let sit 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the brine: dissolve the sugar in the water by gently letting it come to a boil and then simmering about 3-4 minutes. Let it cool until warm. Gently warm the apple cider vinegar until finger hot in a separate pot; then add the apple cinder vinegar to the sugary water.
Drain the water and ice from the zucchini and onion. Pat the slices dry with paper towels or clean tea towels. Add them to the sugary brine. Divide the mixture equally and transfer into sterilized mason jars. Refrigerate for 2-3 days before eating. Pickles will keep for about 2-3 months in the fridge.
Note: you can also make these without the onions. If you’d prefer a more sugary taste, you can add up to 1 cup coconut sugar.
11. Freeze ‘Em
Yes, zucchini is freezable, which means you can use her in future recipes come the winter. Simply cut into rounds and place on a cookie sheet. Let freeze then transfer the rounds to a freezer storage bag and keep frozen.
Read more: Grow Pumpkins in Time for Halloween
12. Get Creative
Here are a few other ideas of what you can do with zucchini:
• The Classic: chop ’em and add ’em to soups and stews
• The Modern: add thinly sliced zucchini as a topping on homemade pizza
• The BBQ Jamboree: grill’em. You can then eat them as is or stuff them like in idea #8. To do: cut off the ends and hollow out the seeds. Grill 3-5 minutes on medium-high heat. Stuff ’em and grill ’em an additional 8-10 minutes.
• The High-End Soiree: get fussy and make ratatouille. Zucchini is a main ingredient in this stunning and colorful dish, alternating with eggplant, tomatoes and roasted bell peppers on a bed of tomato sauce. Various versions exist, from displaying the veggies on a hot curry sauce to showcasing them in a fluted pie shell. Find the one that suits you and go for it!
And the moral of this zucchini story? You can never have too much zucchini. Whatever way you choose to eat it, you know you’ll be getting in some nutritious home grown lovin’!
Cat Wilson is a holistic health practitioner who loves plants and meditation. When she isn’t working out or writing, you can find her hugging trees and talking to the wild weeds in her garden. Grab a gluten-free recipe or get some help with going vegan or mindfulness at her website or on her YouTube Channel: Cat’s Raw Paw.