16 Ways to Cook Zucchini - My Favorite Recipes

Zucchini is, in many ways, the perfect vegetable. It's super easy to grow. It's compact, not needing a whole lot of garden (or container) space. It's versatile in the kitchen - and thank you, God, for that, because zucchini is also one of the most prolific veggies you can grow. So if you're wondering what to do with all those zukes invading your garden (or coming your way via neighbors), here are my favorite zucchini recipes:

1. Cook it simple. Slice a zucchini into thin rounds, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender in a skillet with olive oil or bacon drippings.

2. Dehydrate zucchini slices and turn them into healthy chips!

3.  Cook it a la Julia Child. Shred the zucchini; salt it and let it sit in a colander for about 20 minutes. Press between paper towels to remove excess moisture. Toss into a skillet with a little olive oil and chopped shallots or onions. Cook, but don't stir, until golden on one side. Flip and cook the other side. Season with salt and pepper.

Simple pan fried zucchini circles.
4. Make Zucchini Fries. In bowl #1, mix together some flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. In bowl #2, mix together some breadcrumbs and shredded Parmesan cheese. In bowl #3, place some beaten eggs, or some milk. Cut zucchini in French fry-like slices. Dredge in the flour mixture; coat in the egg or milk; coat in the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees F. for 10 minutes. Turn over and cook another 10. (From A Vegetable for Every Season Cookbook.)

5. Bake zucchini chocolate chip cookies. Find an excellent recipe for this cookie in A Vegetable for Every Season Cookbook.

6. Make zucchini "pasta" by grating the vegetable along it's length. This creates long strands of zucchini. (You may also use a mandolin. Or maybe even a vegetable peeler. Or you can cut them very carefully by hand.) Cook the strands in a skillet and serve with sauces or toppings you'd normally put on pasta. For more on making "zoodles," click here.

7. Add it to soups and stews, shredded, chopped, or sliced.
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies.

8. Add to pasta dishes. Shred first. For example, zucchini is excellent added to spaghetti.

9. Whip up some zucchini pesto.

10. Make "apple" crisp...with zucchini! Trust me; no one will know it's made with squash!

11. Grill it plain. Just slice in half, lengthwise, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with seasonings, and grill until tender, turning once.

12. Bake zucchini pizza. Slice the zuke in half; slice off a bit of the rounded bottom of each slice, so they flat. Now use just like you would a pizza crust, adding pizza sauce, cheese, and other toppings. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 20-30 minutes.

13. Bake zucchini brownies - or, better yet, chocolate zucchini cake.

14. Make zucchini tots (like tater tots, but better). Find the recipe in A Vegetable for Every Season Cookbook.

Zucchini blossoms are yummy, too!
15. Make zucchini burgers. Shred and well drain about 2 cups of zucchini, squeezing out excess moisture. Add 1 minced onion, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 2 eggs, salt and pepper, and a dash of cayenne. Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet. Once warmed, add 2/3 cup of the zuke mixture, pressed into a round patty. Cook until golden on each side. Now add a bun and all the fixings!

16. Make zucchini bread. In fact, bake a bunch of it, double wrap in heavy duty foil, place in a freezer bag and freeze to give away during the holidays.

Still have zucchini? Shred it, squeeze it between paper towels to remove excess moisture, and pop into freezer bags. If you're careful about squeezing out the excess air, it will last years. I measure mine out according to what I'm likely to make with it. For example, I might measure out 3 cups for zucchini bread, then mark the bag "3 cups."

Oh, and while you're at it, eat some zucchini blossoms, too! Just be sure to only eat blossoms that have the start of fruit growing behind them; otherwise, you may reduce the productivity of your zucchini plant.

And one last tip: If you're growing your own zucchini, don't let the zukes get huge. Watch the plant every day, because zucchini grow madly fast - and huge zukes are less flavorful (and more full of big seeds) than their smaller siblings.

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