Are you one of those fortunate souls with great-yielding gardens and have you found yourself wondering what to do with all that zucchini growing in your backyard? Or perhaps you’ve noticed the copious amounts of fresh-looking inexpensive zucchini in your grocery store and wished you could figure out new ways to use them in your meal plan. If so, then wonder no more because today, we’re all about the zukes!
Zucchini (or courgette in some parts of the world) is a wonderfully versatile … fruit. Yes, you heard it. You’re a fruit, zuke. Yes, I know people usually cook you like a vegetable, but (men, now would be a good time to avert your eyes and ears) since you are, botanically speaking, the ovary of the zucchini flower, that makes you a fruit. But don’t worry. You’re not alone. Maybe the tomato will give you the name of its therapist.
Since zukes are commonly prepared as a vegetable, I thought we’d start with some of the wonderful salads and side dishes we have here that feature the great zuke.
Top row, left to right: Zucchini Cakes from DetzelPretzel, aka Pastor Ryan, Shaved Zucchini Salad with Parmesan & Pine Nuts from The Noshery, and Stuffed Zucchini from italianfoodforever. Middle row, left to right: Zucchini and Corn with Basil from polwig, Greek Stuffed Zucchini with Kalamata Olives, Feta Cheese & Tomato Sauce from cookincanuck, and Zucchini Toss from italianfoodforever. Bottom row, left to right: Zucchini, Tomato & Gorgonzola Puff Pastry Tarts from cookincanuck, Glorified Zucchini Casserole from jlclawson, and Beautiful Baked Squash from Karenpie.
Zucchini can also make for a great main course, either in a supporting role or as the main attraction. It can be sliced into long strips and used as a low carb stand-in for pasta, or hollowed out and stuffed with all kinds of good things. It’s a great addition to pasta, quiches, omelets, and lasagna. You can throw it in your stir-fries or quick sautes with your favorite protein. It cooks in no time and so is a wonderful choice for those quick and easy meals.
Clockwise from top left: Polenta Lasagna from myrecessionkitchen, Zucchini Ribbon Risotto from whatsgabycooking, Lemon Pasta with Zucchini and Feta from Tracy (sugarcrafter), Pizza Stuffed Zucchini from golokitchen, Grilled Zucchini and Ham Pita Panini with Basil Hummus from Natalie (Perry’s Plate), Chicken Parmigiana with Zucchini Noodles from The Noshery, Zucchini Absorption Pasta from The Culinary Passport, and Zucchini Pie from Karenpie.
Zukes are also a great choice for snacks, and either fried or grilled. Since their taste is not overpowering, they pair well with the flavors you use to coat them. Kids who don’t normally like the green stuff may have a hard time resisting them when presented in the delicious ways you see below. And your guests’ eyes will light up when they see you bringing a platter of those grilled zucchini fries to a table, with freshly grated cheese on top.
Clockwise from top left: Fried Zucchini Strings from Renee Wise, Baked Zucchini Fries and Cheddar Fried Squash from jodiemo, Zucchini Fritters with Goat Cheese from A Cozy Kitchen, and Grilled Zucchini Fries from patiodaddio.
Of course, savory is not the only way to go with zukes. The most popular sweet use of zucchini is in bread. Quick breads, to be exact. As mentioned earlier, their taste is subtle, and so some folks may not even realize there’s a veg–—sorry, I meant fruit—in there. Throw some chocolate in, and that’s it. It’s officially irresistible.
Clockwise from top left: Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread with Dried Cherries and Sunflower Seeds from glutenfreegirl, Vegan Pumpkin Zucchini Bread from Jessica at Kohler Created, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread from cuttingedge, Orange Pecan Zucchini Bread for Doorsteps Everywhere from Food for My Family, Chocolate Zucchini Bread from oneordinaryday, and Zucchini Bread with Cream Cheese-Sour Cream Frosting from whiteonricecouple.
It was only a matter of time before zukes made their way from bread to other baked goods. Cookies, cupcakes, cakes, they’ve all managed to welcome the zuke, identity crisis and all, with open arms.
Clockwise from top left: Zucchini Swirl Bundt Cake from europegirl87, Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake from Tracy (sugarcrafter), Zucchini Cupcakes from manda2177, Almost Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Nut Muffins from ontheroadjanet, Chocolate Zucchini Fudge Cake from manda2177, Pineapple Zucchini Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from lindainmo, Chocolate Chip Zucchini Mini-Muffins (Gluten Free) from elanaspantry, and Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies from thewaspyredhead.
And there you have it, a tribute to the great zuke! (That sounds like it needs a red cape and bullet-reflecting wrist bands, doesn’t it?) We showed you 36 different ways to use zucchini, from savory to sweet, which is only a small portion of what you’ll find here at Tasty Kitchen.
How about you? What’s your favorite way to enjoy the great zuke?