Zucchini isn't just for zoodles, you know.
That's the cutesy name for spiralized zucchini, which is the only way many people eat zucchini now, and that's a shame, considering zucchini is at its prime this time of summer and can add flavor, texture and nutrients to all kinds of dishes.
We picked five zucchini recipes to showcase the many different ways you can cook this powerhouse produce that is packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, potassium, riboflavin, folate and vitamins C, B6 and K.
Sure, zucchini can be watery and bland if you cook it wrong, but no matter if you're using a bright yellow crookneck squash, a mild round pattypan squash or a deep green zucchini, you can avoid boring summer squash by following these techniques, all of which of suitable for the myriad varieties you can find at farmers markets and in grocery stores right now.
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Stuffed Zucchini With Preserved Lemon, Pine Nuts and Feta
There is so much that can be done with zucchini, and this is a great way to use them for something a bit more substantial. Stuffing them with a bulgur wheat filling spiked with flavorings complements the zucchini flesh beautifully. Serve them whole, or cut them into smaller portions if you have created a feast of several dishes.
— Sabrina Ghayour
1/2 cup dried bulgur wheat
4 large zucchini, halved lengthwise
4 preserved lemons, finely chopped
1 small pack (1 ounce) of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts
7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried wild oregano
1 tablespoon garlic granules
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the bulgur wheat following the package directions, then drain and rinse it in cold water. Let drain until it is as dry as possible.
Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Line a large baking pan with nonstick parchment paper.
Using a teaspoon, scoop all the flesh out of the zucchini halves, being careful not to break the skins. Arrange the skins on the prepared baking pan. Finely chop the zucchini flesh and put it into a large mixing bowl.
Add the preserved lemon, parsley, pine nuts, feta, oregano, garlic granules, lemon zest and bulgur to the zucchini flesh. Season with a little salt and a lot of pepper, then use your hands to mix until everything is well combined and the mixture feels moist. Divide the mixture into 8 portions. Heap one portion into one zucchini skin and press down on the filling mixture to really pack it in and fill the cavity. Repeat with the remaining portions of filling and zucchini skins.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the skins are soft and the filling mixture is cooked through and browning on top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
— From "Bazaar: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes" by Sabrina Ghayour (Mitchell Beazley, $34.99)
Za'atar Zucchini and Mascarpone Galette
Galettes are perfect for lazy pastry makers like me! These free-form pies are defined by their lopsided, haphazardly folded pastry — this all adds to their rusticity. This pastry dough is extremely flaky, and the addition of cornmeal adds a pleasant crunch. For this galette, the thinly sliced zucchini means you don’t have to precook the filling — experiment with other razor-thin seasonal veggies like potatoes, eggplant or mushrooms. You also could fill this with seasonal stone fruit or berries for a sweet treat.
The galette dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. To use, allow the dough to thaw to room temperature before rolling. The whole galette can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days, and you can use gluten-free flour. When ready to serve, reheat in the oven or eat at room temperature.
— Hetty McKinnon
1 cup mascarpone
1 cup grated cheddar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon milk or cream
2 zucchini (about 14 ounces), sliced into thin rounds
1 tablespoon za’atar
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
Sea salt and black pepper
Handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve (optional)
For the cornmeal pastry:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 to 2/3 cup ice-cold water
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
To make the cornmeal pastry, add the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed using the paddle attachment until combined (you also can use a food processor or mix by hand). Add the chilled butter and mix on low speed until it is evenly distributed but still in large, visible pieces. Add the olive oil and mix briefly.
Add 1/3 cup of the ice-cold water and mix — the dough will start to form. Keep adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap. Roughly shape the dough into a rectangle, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone and cheddar. In a separate bowl, prepare an egg wash by whisking together the egg yolk and milk or cream.
Place the cornmeal dough in the center of a large sheet of parchment paper and, using a cornmeal-dusted rolling pin, roll it out into a large rectangle about 12 by 16 inches in size (make sure that when the edges are folded over the filling, it will fit into the baking sheet you are using).
Once you are happy with the size and shape, transfer the parchment paper with the dough onto a large baking sheet. Spread a thin layer of mascarpone mix over the dough, then lay out the zucchini rounds on top, overlapping them to create a pretty pattern. Sprinkle the zucchini with the za’atar and season with sea salt and black pepper. Fold the edges of the dough inward over the filling, pinching together any tears in the dough. Brush the egg wash over the exposed crust and scatter the feta over the whole slab.
Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is evenly browned. Slide the galette onto a serving board and allow it to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the galette into pieces and serve with a scatter of parsley, if you like. Serves 4 to 6.
— From "Family: New Vegetarian Comfort Food to Nourish Every Day" by Hetty McKinnon
Zucchini-Lamb Burgers With Celery Slaw
In this dish, Emmy Award-winning television host, author and chef Daphne Oz combines zucchini and celery for a low-carb, high-fiber main that is extremely hydrating (yes, hydrating!) and excellent for digestion. Timing tip: You'll want to cook these burgers slow enough for the inside to finish cooking before the outside chars.
— Alexia Brue
For the slaw:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Juice of 1 orange
Kosher salt and freshly ground
Black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
6 celery stalks, thinly sliced, plus 1/2 cup torn celery leaves
1 cup torn flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus minced tender stems
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons golden raisins
For the burgers:
1 pound ground lamb
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of 1/2 orange
Freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
To make the slaw, whisk together in a medium bowl the red wine vinegar, shallot, oregano, juice from the orange, salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking continuously, until emulsified. Add the celery, parsley, mint and golden raisins, toss to combine, and set aside.
To make the burgers, in a large bowl, combine the lamb, zucchini, scallions, mint, cumin, salt, orange zest and pepper. With clean hands, gently mix until the zucchini, scallions and mint are evenly distributed. Wet your hands and divide the mixture into four 1-inch-thick patties.
Heat the olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the burger patties, taking care not to overcrowd the pan and working in batches as necessary. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, then flip and cook for 5 minutes on the second side for medium-well. Remove the burgers from the pan and set aside for 3 to 4 minutes. Top each with a heaping spoonful of slaw and serve. Makes 4 burgers.
— From "Well & Good: 100 Healthy Recipes and Expert Advice for Better Living" by Alexia Brue and Melisse Gelula (Clarkson Potter, $29.99)
Cuban Grilled Zucchini
I had this dish at a recent dinner party, and the combination of paprika, chili powder, zucchini, lime and cilantro pulled me back in for seconds. The thicker zucchini spears hold their shape if you pull them off the heat on the early side. The original recipe called for cotija, but queso fresco works well, too. Instead of grilling, you can roast these in a 400-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
— Addie Broyles
3 zucchinis (or yellow squash) quartered vertically
1/4 cup olive oil, butter or ghee
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cotija cheese or queso fresco, crumbled
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Slices of lime, for garnish
Heat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Place zucchini onto a lightly greased pan or baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine oil or butter, paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Brush mixture over zucchini, leaving just a little to brush on the end after cooking. Grill for about 5 to 7 minutes, turning to evenly cook the zucchini, but leave them with some crunch so they don't overcook.
Remove zucchini from the grill and brush with remaining seasoning mixture. Garnish with crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.
— Adapted from a recipe on Nomaste Kitchen
Ginger-Marinated Zucchini With Lime Yogurt
Ginger brings a new level of refreshing to warm weather's most prolific vegetable. This is a light meal that would welcome some toast for scooping, as well as a side of sauteed peas or green beans.
Its flavor base relies on the ginger and garlic combination so widely used in our favorite cuisines, yet the recipe does not neatly fit into an Indian, Mediterranean or Chinese playbook. It tastes light and refreshing, yet rich, thanks to olive oil and yogurt. Marinating is involved, but nobody has to sit around or rearrange their spices; the zucchini is sliced so thin that by the time you compose plates and fry the eggs — yep, this is one of those put-an-egg-on-it meals, suitable for breakfast or brunch as well — dinner's done.
Ginger and garlic can both pack a sharp bite, but they do mellow here. That will depend in part on how much you break them down on the cutting board with a fine chop or mashed with a little kosher salt. Choose a buttery-tasting or "smooth" olive oil for them to infuse. And here's the best part, in triplicate: It takes 20 minutes to prepare, cleanup is minimal, and it will augment your summer zucchini arsenal.
— Bonnie S. Benwick
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger root
2 medium cloves garlic
1/8 teaspoon and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
2 medium zucchini (12 to 13 ounces total)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/3 to 1/2 cup full-fat plain yogurt, for serving
2 large eggs
Zest 1 teaspoon of peel from the lime. Cut the lime and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. Coarsely chop the white and light-green parts of the scallions to yield at least 3 tablespoons. Use a spoon to peel the ginger, then grate or mince the ginger to yield at least 1 tablespoon. Mince the garlic, using a little salt to mash it into a paste.
Rinse the zucchini and trim the ends. Use a wide vegetable peeler, a mandoline or a sharp chef's knife to cut each vegetable lengthwise into equally thin planks (less than 1/4-inch thick).
Use 2 teaspoons of the oil to lightly coat each zucchini plank on both sides, then season with the 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and the 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
Heat a large, dry grill pan over medium-high heat. Arrange as many zucchini planks as will fit in a single layer in the pan; reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The planks will soften and turn into ribbons. Repeat to cook all the zucchini, transferring it to a large plate as the ribbons are done.
Stir together the lime zest, a drizzle of the oil and the yogurt (to taste) in a small bowl. Season lightly with pepper.
Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil into the lime juice (in its measuring cup), then add the scallions, garlic, ginger and the pinch of sugar. Pour over the zucchini ribbons, tossing them gently to coat. Let them sit/marinate while you make the eggs. If the mixture looks dry, drizzle in a little more oil.
Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Crack in the eggs and fry, sunny side up, just until the whites are set but the yolk is still a bit runny. Season them with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper.
To serve, divide the lime-zest yogurt between plates, spreading it around with the back of a spoon. Top with equal amounts of the ginger-marinated zucchini, then place an egg on each portion. Serves 2.
— From "No Crumbs Left: Recipes for Everyday Food Made Marvelous" by Teri Turner (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30)