10 Delicious Ways to Dine on Zucchini this Summer
The thing we love most about zucchini is that it refuses to be labeled. In a culinary context, this firm summer squash is treated as a vegetable, often prepared as a savory main or side dish. But botanically, zucchini is classified as a fruit — and more specifically as a type of berry — which perhaps explains why you’ll find this fiber-packed jack-of-all-trades in sweet breads and pastries too. Few other vegetables can boast the same level of versatility.
Luckily for us, the prime season is long — it begins in June and peaks in late August, so make sure you squeeze in a trip to the farmers market before the month is over. Whether it’s lightly seasoned and grilled until smoky or grated into fine shreds to be hidden in baked goods, there’s no boundary this hearty summer squash can’t conquer. See for yourself with these 10 in-season zucchini recipes for casserole, zucchini bread and more.
Diced zucchini stands in for potatoes in this hearty breakfast hash from Food Network Kitchen. When sauteed, the zucchini takes on the same fork-tender quality as pan-fried potatoes, but without the heavy dose of starch.
Comforting and easy to make, frittatas are a quintessential brunch dish for a reason. But sometimes they’ll leave you feeling uncomfortably stuffed, given the liberal amounts of cheese and bacon found within them. Cut fat where you can by using egg whites instead of whole eggs, lean turkey bacon and an ample helping of fresh veggies. Here, finely grated zucchini adds extra fiber and bright green color to this light, summery frittata for only 255 calories per serving.
Take your snack spread to the next level with Ellie Krieger’s super-seasonal baked zucchini crisps. Unlike store-bought potato chips, these crisps are light and crunchy without the grease. Your guests will appreciate the homemade touch.
Sure, stuffed peppers are great, but we’ve seen them before. Surprise your guests at your next dinner party with these mealworthy stuffed zucchini. Sturdy on the outside but tender on the inside, zucchini are perfect for hollowing out and filling with fresh, seasonal mix-ins. Here, they’re stuffed with breadcrumbs, tomatoes, herbs and garlic.
Equally satisfying are Ellie’s grilled zucchini rolls made with reduced-fat goat cheese, lemon and parsley filling. They’re just enough to tide over your guests while you put the finishing touches on dinner.
Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best dishes. Blend oregano, thyme and salt to create an earthy seasoning for tender grilled zucchini. Once the zucchini slices are arranged on your serving platter, sprinkle them with salty feta for a creamy touch that will set this side dish apart from the rest.
If you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner that’s filling yet health-conscious and incorporates seasonal produce, try tossing whole-wheat fettuccine with thin ribbons of green and yellow zucchini. Slicing the zucchini to mimic the shape of noodles makes for a big bowl of pasta that’s actually half vegetables.
For a heartier zucchini main, try Food Network Kitchen’s comforting casserole. Spicy tomato sauce coats layers of sliced zucchini, and a sprinkling of Cotija cheese adds a touch of creaminess. For the best results, quickly broil the zucchini before you assemble the casserole. That way you can ensure all the pieces will be evenly cooked once they’re baked with the tomato sauce.
This is just like your grandmother’s zucchini bread but without the guilt-inducing levels of butter and oil. Whole-wheat pastry flour creates a filling, nutty-tasting loaf. Apple butter lends extra moistness and natural sweetness. Surprisingly, only a third-cup of heart-healthy oil is used in this recipe. Bake a fresh loaf to give to your dinner host, or keep it on your countertop to snack on throughout the week.
If you’ve exhausted every idea to win over picky eaters, don’t give up just yet. Melissa d’Arabian’s high-fiber cupcakes have a dense and springy texture, thanks to the whole-wheat flour and oats. Fine shreds of zucchini and carrot serve to keep the cupcakes moist and will go virtually undetected. The kids will be completely focused on the warm notes of cinnamon and brown sugar. For special occasions, you can even dress them up with cream cheese frosting.