It seems that few people know what to do with a large amount of zucchini all at once.
And truth be told, if they’re like I was in my younger years, it’s also not their favorite vegetable to begin with, let alone in massive supplies. I’ve only learned to love the green squash as I’ve gotten older myself, so I understand that.
But since I always recommend eating produce that’s in season, and preferably locally grown, using zucchini at this time of year when it's one of the produce bargains that's readily available makes absolute sense.
It’s generally dirt cheap right now, sometimes even free, but usually easy to find for well under $1 per pound.
So the trick is to find ways to prepare it that you and your family will enjoy. And in actuality there are many ways to do just that.
Here are some suggestions that I use in my own household.
You simply slice (or dice) the entire zucchini into slices about 1/8-inch thick and cook them up in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a good sprinkle of garlic powder, salt, and a black pepper in a frying pan.
It takes a bit of time for larger quantities, about 15-20 minutes or so – less for smaller quantities - but does not require constant attention, just an occasional stirring.
So you can leave the pan over medium heat while you tend to the rest of the meal. A pan with a lid quickens the process for large amounts of zucchini.
A general rule of thumb is to calculate about ½ zucchini per serving.
Grilling option: You can also grill the zucchini with excellent results. I recommend using a grilling basket or cage for this.
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, and then crosswise into large pieces. Create a mixture of olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper and brush it on the cut pieces of zucchini. Close the basket, and grill until tender.
Despite the simplicity of both methods, the results are very satisfying. My family loves this. Yum.
It lends itself to all kinds of substitutions and variations. But zucchini is always a good bet for this recipe.
It takes a bit of time to cook, but it is very easy and quick to put together, and when served over pasta or rice is a lovely, complete meal. Try my recipe for Ratatouille here.
Just slice the zucchini into thin rounds, and bread and oven fry them as I outline in my Eggplant and Zucchini Parmigiana recipe here.
Then follow the rest of the recipe exactly. The results are mouthwatering. I can guarantee your family will love it.
But the truth is that vegetables, fruits, legumes, eggs, and grains all play a much more significant role in the day-to-day diet in that part of the world than meat actually does.
This recipe for Greek Eggs and Zucchini could not be simpler, but it is exactly the type of meal you’ll find served by a Greek grandmother on a warm summer night, along with some potato or sweet potato fries.
It may be cooked in the oven or in a slow cooker and can be put together in about 15 minutes of prep.
Your family will love its flavor, and you’ll love how easy it is. Sure to be a big hit.
And the beauty of soup is its ease of preparation. Just throw everything into the pot and leave it to simmer, and in a little while, you have a great meal.
One of my favorites that calls for zucchini is minestrone soup. I have very fond memories of it from my childhood, and it’s also one of my kids’ absolute favorite meals. Here’s the recipe I use for Minestrone Soup.
It’s ready, start to finish, in less than 30 minutes, and it’s all done in one pot. And it doesn’t sacrifice flavor either. Find the recipe for Pasta with Zucchini and Olives here.
Just about any substitution or addition of vegetables tailored to your tastes or what you have on hand (such as an overabundance of zucchini) can be made. Here’s a recipe I use for a Turkey and Vegetable Pilaf.
It’s also very easy and quick to put together.
The trick to making this work is very, very thin slices of zucchini. This Zucchini Chip recipe shows you how to do that for best results.
You can also add different seasonings to suit your tastes, much the same way that regular potato chips now offer so many flavor options.
These treats are a snack that’s sweet enough to hit the spot while providing some needed vegetable portions.
There are many recipes out there for this kind of thing, but here’s one for Zucchini Bread to get you started.
To do it, simply puree it in the food processor or blender, and add it to sauces to give them some added thickening.
Children will never know the difference when they eat their spaghetti sauce that’s had pureed zucchini added to it.
Simply puree it in a blender or food processor and replace part or all of the oil called for in the recipe.
It may take a bit of trial and error to get it exactly the way you like it, but it’s a tried and true method that really does work at keeping the cakes and breads moist while adding nutrition and reducing calories.
Just cut the zucchini lengthwise in half and then again to make long quarters. Cut across the quarters to make triangular pieces about ½-inch in size.
Place them in a freezer bag, label, and date them, and put them in the freezer.
When you need or want to add some to soups or stews just grab a handful and throw them in.
Or that might mysteriously appear on your car seat one day.