If your summer garden is anything like mine, then you are about to be swimming in zucchini. I love zucchini! From zucchini soup to zucchini bread, I would eat it all year long if my family would let me. I typically plant two zucchini plants in the late spring, much to my family’s chagrin. One plant will happily feed a family of 5 if you water and fertilize it enough, but two plants give us more zucchini than we could feasibly (and happily) consume. I do give some of the monster zucchini to my chickens, but I’ve also gotten really creative in how I use it in my cooking.
So if you find yourself with oodles of zucchini and no idea what to do with it all, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve got a few recipes that you’ve hopefully never tried before to help you use up those zucchinis in the best way possible.
Recipe 01: Zucchini Muffins
The benefit to muffins over bread is that they all get that scrumptious crispy edge.
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/3 c. sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 3 c. grated fresh zucchini*
- 3/4 c. melted butter
- 2 3/4 c. flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
*If you’re using garden-fresh zucchini, I’d suggest grating it and sprinkling with salt. Allow the zucchini to sit for 5-10 minutes before wrapping in cheesecloth and squeezing the excess water out.
Begin by heating your oven to 350F. Next, mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and zucchini with the melted butter in a large bowl until well combined. Then, in a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together until completely combined. Last, gently stir the dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture, making sure not to over-mix.
When the batter is done, either coat a muffin pan with cooking spray or place liners inside. This batter will not rise much, so fill the cups completely to the top. Then place in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. When they are done, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or serve!
Recipe 02: Creamy Zucchini Soup
This is a fall staple in our home because of it’s smooth creamy texture and mild flavor. It pairs well with pretty much everything which makes it incredibly versatile as well.
- 1 thinly sliced medium-sized sweet onion
- 6 Tbsp. butter
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 3 medium zucchini, cut into chunks with skin on
- 1-3 c. water
- 6-8 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- Optional toppings: shredded cheese, bacon, rotisserie chicken pieces, cubed tomatoes, etc.
Begin by putting your zucchini into a large stockpot (like this one). Next, put enough water into the stockpot that the zucchini isn’t sitting on the bottom, and the water isn’t over the top of the zucchini. Then toss 6-8 chicken bouillon cubes on top. The more bouillon cubs, the more chicken flavor, so adjust to your preferences. Remember that because zucchini has such a high water content, the more liquid you add to the soup, the thinner the soup will be. Then put the pot on the stove on medium-high heat and allow to simmer, covered, until the zucchini is soft and tender. Stir occasionally.
While the zucchini is boiling, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted add in the garlic and stir until it’s nice and fragrant before adding in the onion. Then saute the onion until it is translucent and caramelized. When the onion is done, toss it into the stockpot with the zucchini and give everything a good stir to combine.
To finish the soup, use an immersion blender (like this one) and blend the soup until the desired consistency is reached. You can choose to leave the soup more chunky with bits of veggies, or you can blend until completely smooth. When the zucchini is blended, stir in the can of cream of chicken soup and blend once more. Allow the soup to simmer for about ten more minutes before removing from heat and serving. If you want a creamier soup, you can always add 1/2 c. milk or heavy cream after adding the soup. Serve alone or with the toppings of your choice! Seriously, the options are endless.
Recipe 03: Zoodles
I know, these are SO last year, but I bring them up for a good reason! The neutral flavor of zucchini means they will pair with anything, add to that the fact that they are gluten-free and low-carb, and it will work for just about everyone. Plus, it’s healthy noodles.
- 2 medium washed zucchini or 1 large washed zucchini
- Spiralizer (grab one here)
Start by washing your zucchini and cutting the ends off. Then fit the zucchini into the spiralizer and crank away! I prefer a spiralizer to a mandoline or a julienne peeler because it gives a more standard noodle and it makes them look more…well…like noodles. When the zucchini is “noodled”, you can go ahead and cook it or eat it raw. Remember that zucchini is about 95% water, so it will get mushy very quickly. If you need to heat it up, you have a few options:
- Microwave: Place the zoodles in microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until desired consistency is reached.
- Saute: Add a teaspoon of olive oil or butter to your skillet and toss your zoodles for 1-2 minutes until they are warmed through and tender.
- Boil: Beware this option! It’s a gut instinct to boil noodles, but because zucchini is mostly water, this method can make them mushy in no time at all. To start, get a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Then put your zoodles in for a minute, maybe two at the most, before removing, draining, and patting dry.
Serve in any recipe as a substitute for noodles from spaghetti to lasagna.
Recipe 04: Zucchini Fritters
Crispy, tender, and oh so delicious!
- 1 lb or 2 medium zucchini
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
- 1/4 c. chopped chives
- 1 large egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1 Tbsp. corn starch
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- olive oil or oil of your choice for frying
- Dipping sauce: 1 c. sour cream, 1 small clove of minced garlic, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 c. chopped herbs (pretty much anything but sage and rosemary)
Begin by grating your zucchini using your spiralizer (it’s worth it, trust me). Then liberally sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the zucchini and toss well to coat. Allow the zucchini to sit for at least 15 minutes before turning it onto a cheesecloth and squeezing aggressively to get as much water out as possible.
In a medium-sized bowl mix the chives, egg, remaining salt, pepper, flour, corn starch, and baking powder together until completely combined. Then add the zucchini and mix until you have an even texture.
Next, in a heavy skillet (like this one) heat up your oil over medium-high heat. While it’s heating, line a baking sheet with paper towels and set nearby. When the oil is hot, drop the zucchini mixture into the skillet and lightly press down to flatten. Only cook 3-4 zucchini fritters at a time to avoid cooling your oil too much. Continue to cook until the fritters are golden brown, which should take about 3-4 minutes, before flipping and cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes. Then remove from the skillet and allow to cool on the paper towels.
To make the dipping sauce, simply combine all the ingredients and mix until smooth and uniform. Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your preferred taste.
Serve the fritters immediately or put in a warm (200F) oven until ready to serve!
Recipe 05: Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
When you really need to hide the zucchini, this is how! Moist, chocolatey goodness and your family never needs to know there are hidden veggies.
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 c. honey
- 1/2 c. vegetable oil
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- Optional: 1/2 tsp. espresso powder
- 1/3 c. baking cocoa
- 1 2/3 c. flour
- 2 c. shredded zucchini pressed dry
- 1 c. chocolate chips
Begin by heating your oven to 350F and greasing an 8.5×4.5″ loaf pan (like this one). Then in your mixer, beat the eggs, honey, oil, sugar, and vanilla until completely smooth and combined. Next, add in the salt, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder (if desired), cocoa, and flour, continuing to mix until everything is an even consistency. After everything is mixed, gently fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips before pouring the mixture into your prepared pan.
Last, bake the bread for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least ten minutes before turning out of the pan and onto a rack. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing and store at room temperature.
So the next time your family tells you you’re crazy for planting that zucchini plant, tell them to mind their own business. I promise they will appreciate the fruits (or rather vegetables) of your labor. Happy Baking!
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