by Erin Marissa Russell
Looking for appealing new ways to cook and serve all the zucchini you’ve grown in your garden? You’re not alone. Zucchini plants are so notorious for producing piles of homegrown produce that the zucchini is the stereotypical crop that all those gardeners in jokes are constantly foisting off on friends and neighbors.
But there’s no reason to get bored eating all the zucchini your garden rewards you with for your hard work keeping plants hydrated in times of drought or making sure your zucchini plants stay free of disease. We’ve curated this selection of recipes to inspire you to cook with all that homegrown zucchini in whole new ways.
Kick things off with these zesty zucchini appetizers, snacks, and small plates.
Zucchini has a versatile flavor that’s bright in salads, creamy in a saute or spread, and can even be crispy baked as chips or grated thinly, shaped into fritters, and fried. This knack for adapting to any dish makes zucchini a great choice for starting off a meal as part of the first course, whether you’re dining casual or aiming for something more upscale. You might choose to begin your meal with a classically composed salad starring zucchini, skewers of charred zucchini cooked on the grill, or even chips with a zucchini dip or salsa. Take a look below—the possibilities are endless.
Simmer zucchini from the garden in silky soups for a comforting, healthy meal.
Zucchini’s smooth, velvety texture when it’s simmered in a liquid makes it a natural choice for starring in veggie-stuffed soups. But don’t feel limited to your usual icebox-cleaning vegetable soup approach. Take your inspiration from cultures around the world and innovative flavor pairings that will make soup your family’s new favorite way to eat their veggies. Too hot to stand over a soup pot stirring or let it bubble on the burner all day? Check out the last two recipes for chilled soups that are perfect for the dog days of summer.
Let homegrown veggies take the spotlight with tasty main dishes that put zucchini front and center.
These main courses will help you make use of your bumper crop of zucchini without simply serving a pile of roasted veggies. Some of the recipes in this section take their inspiration from vegan and vegetarian mainstays, such as stuffed zucchini or falafel. Never fear, though—we’ve included plenty of carnivorous options for meatlovers that will put a dent in your stockpile of zucchini, too. Feature your homegrown zucchini and get dinner sorted out at the same time by choosing your favorite of the zucchini main dish recipes we’ve rounded up here.
Put your chef’s hat on for these fancy-feeling zucchini recipes.
The preparations in this section are sure to impress your dinner guests. Don’t be intimidated if you’re a beginning chef, though (or just a person who prefers quick, breezy recipes). These ways to cook zucchini feel fancy because they look beautiful on the plate, call on gourmet ingredients, use uncommon techniques, or simply appear to take more effort than they actually require. Ready to impress your dinner guests? Peruse the showstopping zucchini recipes we’ve collected below.
Add zucchini to breads, muffins, and other savory pastries for an unexpected dose of homegrown veggies.
The last place your diners will expect to find zucchini from the garden is in their dinner rolls, cornbread, and other savory pastries. You’ll find ideas here for including zucchini in breads and pastries that we doubt you’ve considered yet—from scones to pancakes to biscuits and more.
Sweeten things up with creative zucchini-based desserts.
We’re willing to bet just about all of our readers have had at least one warm slice of homemade zucchini bread (cooked by a grandma, if you’re lucky). However, traditional zucchini bread is by no means the end-all and be-all of zucchini-centric sweet treats. If you can dream it, you can add zucchini to it. Take a look at the recipes listed here to see what we mean.
See? There’s simply no reason to let boredom get the best of you when it comes to using all the bounty your garden has to offer, especially when the crop in question is as adaptable and tasty as zucchini. Gardeners come back to this delicious vegetable over and over because it’s a surefire hit in the kitchen—and in the garden, since zucchini is easy enough for everyone to grow. We’re sure you’ve found plenty of new ideas for serving the zucchini you’ll grow this season in the recipes collected in this article.