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.
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.
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!