Summer squash is a prolific producer in the garden and so versatile in the kitchen. My wife likes to say that if everyone planted a few hills of squash, we could feed the world. And for that reason I do grow extra every year to give away. The zucchini is just starting to come on strong here at Happy Acres, so I though I would take a minute and share some of my favorite ways to use it in the kitchen. And most of these are recipes I have shared here at Happy Acres.
1. Spelt Chocolate Zucchini Muffins/Bread
I know there are thousands of zucchini bread recipes out there. But this is pretty much the only one I make anymore. I was looking for ways to use honey, and decided to try and incorporate it in a zucchini bread. I found a recipe at King Arthur Flour that I liked, and tweaked it to use whole grain spelt flour. It makes a great loaf of zucchini bread, and some lovely muffins. I usually make the muffins, and they freeze well for later use.
You can grate the zucchini and freeze it for later use too. I do that every year, and we are able to have muffins and zucchini bread all winter long. I wound up using all of it from last year though, so this year I will freeze a bit more.
2. Chocolate Zucchini Smoothie
This recipe is one I came up with as I was trying to find a cool chocolatey smoothie that wasn’t loaded with fat and calories. I tried using frozen bananas by themselves, but the banana flavor pretty much overpowered the cocoa. Then I started trying to think of something that was frozen and bland tasting. The answer came pretty quickly: zucchini! But zucchini in a chocolate smoothie??? Despite my initial doubts, it was a winner the first time I tried it. It’s a low-calorie, high fiber treat that is loaded with flavonoids and other healthy components of cocoa. For an extra treat, you can add a spoonful of extra-virgin coconut oil to the mix. Or mix it up and use some dark cocoa powder.
To me, zucchini and tomatoes are a classic combo. This is another recipe I came up with as a lightened up version of other dishes I have tried. My mother was the Queen of Casseroles, and squash was a frequent star. But most of her casseroles were also loaded with cheese, and usually some kind of sauce. Those dishes are too heavy for me these days. I prefer recipes where the flavors of the vegetables can come through, and something that won’t expand my waistline!
In this recipe, zucchini comes together with tomatoes and a few other ingredients I usually have on hand to make a quick casserole. The recipe is scalable and flexible, and other herbs or cheeses can take it in a whole different direction.
This recipe can be made with any kind of summer squash, though zucchini is what I usually reach for. It’s another fairly simple dish calling for ingredients most cooks will likely have on hand. It’s adapted from a recipe in one of my all-time favorite cookbooks: The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marion Morash.
5. Grated Zucchini Saute
This one is so easy I haven’t even posted a real recipe for it yet. Some folks call this ‘zucchini butter’, but I don’t like to call it that because I use olive oil and not butter. Whatever you call it, I grate the squash using a medium hand grater, then briefly saute in a pan with a little olive oil. I like to add a little minced garlic at the very end for some kick, but if you add it earlier it will add a mild garlicky touch. I just cook the squash briefly, long enough to soften it a bit. Add a little salt and pepper and you’ve got a great side dish, or toss in your favorite herb.
I hope you have enjoyed looking at five of my favorite zucchini recipes. No doubt I will be enjoying them all as the summer progresses, and if you try any of them please let me know what you think!
Tis the (zucchini) season! The zucchini recipes are popping up almost as quickly as my plants are pumping them out. I’ve got to try a few of yours. Zucchini smoothie sounds tempting. I know what you mean about the positive aspect of the bland zucchini, I developed a zucchini gazpacho last year that stumps everyone who tastes it.
I’m going to have to try the muffins if I ever get zucchini this year. The plants are huge but no flowers yet. And the SVBs are due to come any day now.
Ooh, I’m about to harvest my first zucchini of the year and was wanting to find some new (healthy) recipes. Thank you for sharing! I normally just fry summer squash with garlic and olive oil (very delicious) but would like to try something new.
Those squash fritters look so yummy! My plants are not looking that large yet (again!), but I usually get at least a handful of zucchini so hopefully I can give the fritters a try this summer.
The muffins attract me too. My husband gave me a cookbook for Christmas where all of the butter in various cake recipes is replaced by grated courgette (zucchini) and carrot so I’m dying for my own harvest to come in so that I can give them a go! Your harvest post is extraordinary by the way – very inspiring!
Thanks Catherine! I’m making a batch of the zucchini bread today.