This is the time of year when everyone (and their mother) gives you a bunch of zucchini, whether you need it or not. I love to get free fresh food so I try to be resourceful and find ways to make something new with it. But, as I’m sure you know, sometimes it can be a daunting task. Last year I ran out of time and ended up just chopping it up and freezing it raw out of desperation. I was surprised that it didn’t become mushy and it actually kept well that way. I just tossed it in the last two minutes or so of soups or stir-fries and it was perfect. Who knows? It could have been a fluke!
If you have some zucchini that you need to eat before it goes bad, here are some beyond-zucchini-bread ideas from our cookery collection:
Zucchini, Tomato & Basil Gratin on p. 44 of Squash: A Country Garden Cookbook by Regina Schrambling. It’s a beautiful caprese salad look-a-like with garlic and parmesan cheese. Also on p. 89 try Zucchini & Black Walnut Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting. Since we have black walnuts in Litchfield this is one that you could use all local ingredients for!
Zucchini Boats with Apple-Cilantro Chutney on p. 221 of Yamuna’s Table by Yamuna Devi. This is a really interesting blend of flavors. The zucchini is stuffed with a mix of peppers, tomatoes and corn. Then above and below the stuffing is the nutty apple-cilantro chutney. Also try her Dill-Mung Broth with Wide Zucchini Noodles on p. 81. She calls this the “restorative counterpart to American chicken soup”.
Zucchini Ribbons with Dill & Slivered Almonds, p. 114 of The Italian Grill: Fresh Ideas to Fire Up Your Outdoor Cooking by Micol Negrin. The interesting thing about this recipe is that you marinate the zucchini in lemon juice and dill AFTER you grill it. Also you can use the grilled zucchini in his Summer Vegetable Millefoglie in Basil Oil on p. 137.
Nigella Lawson makes a beautiful Double Squash & Bean Salad on p. 61 of Forever Summer. The salad is a beautiful blend of zucchini, yellow squash, fresh fava beans, green beans, basil & parsley. Also try her Happiness Soup on p. 28
Or how about Southeast Asian Coconut Zucchini on p. 334 of Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites by the Moosewood Collective? They say this is a great way to handle your “seemingly endless crop of zucchini”, turning it a beautiful golden color. Also try their Mushroom & Spinach-Stuffed Zucchini on p. 247 which is a baked dish using portabella mushrooms and brown rice with fontina cheese melted on top. Yum!! They have sauce suggestions for zucchini on p. 310 as well.
I have saved the best zucchini book for last, which is The Squash Cookbook: How to Grow and Cook All Kinds of Squash–from Acorn to Zucchini by Yvonne Young Tarr. It may be hard to believe but there is a zucchini recipe on almost every page of this fine cookbook. Try Trout & Zucchini in Herbed Wine Sauce Tante Christine on p. 102 or Cantaloupe, Zucchini & Cucumber Salad on p. 151.
And if you really do have a craving for banana bread, try Zucchini Spelt Muffins on p. 170 of Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
When the knock comes on your door, welcome your zucchini with open arms! Enjoy!
Jesse Lee Harmon is the bookkeeper/library assistant at OWL and is currently humming the song Strawberry Fields Forever on The Beatles’ Love Album