When you weary of sautéing it, stuffing it, baking it into zucchini bread, and unloading it on dubious neighbors, try these creative ideas for a vegetable that is actually a bit underrated.
We invite zucchini into our garden each year, then joke helplessly about the happy crowd that turns up. But zucchini is not only gorgeous and tasty in its flowering stage, it's also delicious in pickles, coleslaw, and even meat loaf.
1. Make pickles
Zucchini pickles are every bit as delicious as their cucumber counterparts. Give this sweet-spicy version a go. Combine 4 cups 1/8-inch zucchini slices, 1 cup slivered sweet onion, and 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves in a glass bowl. Bring 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt to a boil; pour over zucchini mixture. Cover and chill 24 hours.
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
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2. Reinvent coleslaw
The neutral flavor and crisp texture of raw zucchini make it a great base for slaw. Try this savory-sweet version: Combine 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; toss with 4 cups shredded zucchini, 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, and 1/2 cup slivered red onion.
3. Moisten a lean meat loaf
Use the inherent moisture of shredded zucchini to make a juicy lower-fat meat loaf. Take your favorite beef-based meat loaf recipe, and substitute lean ground turkey breast for the beef. For every pound of meat, add 2 cups shredded zucchini. Bonus: Extra veggies in your dinner!
How to Make Crisp Zucchini Pickles
Yes, and I mean crisp and full of flavor! You&aposll be amazed at how delicious these pickles are. Every gardener (and those who have friends who are gardeners) knows that when zucchini start appearing, you have tons of them.
If you&aposre like me, you already know how to make zucchini bread and some of the more common recipes using zucchini. I love pickles! So I decided to figure out how to make crisp, delicious ones from zucchini. If you&aposll follow the directions below, you won&apost believe your taste buds. I know the directions seem long, but they&aposre really easy. I&aposve included background information that will help you understand exactly what you&aposre doing.
Son in Law Zucchini Pickles
I have been thinking about how to curry favour with my son-in-law as I need a few jobs done and Kyle, a carpenter, is meticulous and super- efficient. Going by the moniker, ‘that tool in the tool box’, a self-inflicted title I might add, Kyle is the man you need when a door doesn’t line up with a wall.
Not Walt from Breaking Bad. Not Kyle the carpenter. It’s Mr Tranquillo tackling a wall renovation.
I know he likes these pickles: I have seen him hoover down a whole jar in one sitting. They are delightfully old-fashioned but on trend. They often appear on a summer ‘tasting plate’ (an annoying term used in Australia for a mishmash of tit-bits on a plate) in some of the more fashionable wineries and restaurants about town. These pickles were popularised by Stephanie Alexander in the 1990s, taken from her seminal cookbook, The Cook’s Companion, a dictionary styled cookbook which has sold more than 500,000 copies to date. Her ‘bible’ sits on the shelf in many Australian homes. My copy is well-thumbed, splattered and stained.
Basic pickle ingredients: sugar, vinegar, turmeric, mustard powder, mustard seeds.
During January and February, when it’s not uncommon to pick one kilo of zucchini a day, I make these pickles often and share the jars around. They make a handsome addition to a ploughman’s lunch, or give a vinegary crunch to a cheese sandwich.
Step 1. Add the sliced zucchini and onion , well salted, to a bowl of water.
Stephanie’s Zucchini Pickles
- 1 kilo small zucchini, sliced on the diagonal
- 3 onions, finely sliced
- ½ cup salt
- 3 cups white wine vinegar
- 1/½ cups sugar
- 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric Step 2. Covered in a vinegar, sugar, turmeric and mustard solution
* Stephanie Alexander, The Cooks Companion, Penguin Books, Australia, 1996, p785.
If your freezer is already full (or with the intention to be stuffed) with corn, peas, chard, kale, broccoli, cauliflower or carrots (also low-acid foods), then you may, or may not have sufficient room left over for zucchini.
With a garden that produces a lot of zucchini, several pounds in a less than ideal year, it is good to have several preserving options.
For the sake of diversity and for the difference in flavors.
Pickles, relishes and chutneys we&rsquoll get to in the canning section, but for now, get your dehydrator ready and get to business, preserving your glut of zucchini by dehydrating them.
If you are seeking to save pantry space, dehydrating at least a portion of your harvest will accomplish just that.
4 pounds of zucchini can be dried to fit into one pint sized jar!
To go even further, you could blend the dehydrated zucchini into a powder, and use it in soups, stews, even smoothies for a subtle vegetable kick.
Zucchini chips seem to be the most popular though, so let&rsquos start with that.
6. Zucchini chips
Sometimes you are in the mood for a light snack, that also happens to be low-carb. If you are looking after your health in this way, or just happen to be adventurous enough to try something new, zucchini chips are the perfect treat.
In the first step, slice your young zucchini as evenly as possible, by hand or with a machine. Sprinkle with a little olive oil for a lovely crunch, then season them with spices of your choice. Homemade garlic powder tastes amazing, as does thyme, oregano and sesame seeds with a pinch of salt.
Mix everything together, spread it out on your dehydrator trays and let them dry for 8 hours at 150 °F (70 °C).
The lower the temperature, the more vitamins will remain intact.
For the full recipe, check out this article on how to make crunchy keto zucchini chips. You&rsquoll be glad you did!
7. Zucchini pasta (noodles)
A less common way is to dry your zoodles, or zucchini noodles.
To make these, you will either need a steady hand and a sharp knife, a two-sided vegetable peeler or a spiralizer.
If you are going to be eating oodles of zoodles when squash, carrots and zucchini is in season, I encourage you to consider getting a spiralizer. It may just change your life! Plus, you can use it for loads of other vegetables and fruits including apples. How cute would dehydrated cinnamon spiralized apples be?!
Here&rsquos how you can dehydrate your own low-carb zucchini noodles.
8. Dried and shredded zucchini
Again, if you are lacking freezer space, another option is dehydrating. Within that, shredded zucchini is a real space saver.
You can totally dry out the shredded zucchini, to the point where it is crunchy. Once it has cooled, transfer it to a container and be sure to use it up within a month or two. To preserve dried, shredded zucchini for longer, simply vacuum seal it.
When you are ready to prepare lunch or dinner, sprinkle or crumble the dried zucchini shreds over salad. Or add them to any baked dish &ndash cookies, muffins and breads included.
You can dehydrate both zucchini and other summer squashes, to save the summer flavor for later.
My Favourite Zucchini Pickles
I have been making my own pickles for a couple of years now, but I’ve never shared my go to recipe! Homemade pickles are a game-changer for me. My favourite pickles (that I keep coming back to over and over) are based on the famous Zuni Cafe Zucchini Pickles via Gourmet Traveller magazine.
I was intrigued that the recipe used zucchinis instead of cucumbers, but I was an immediate convert. I love them on burgers, toasties and sandwiches, or even thrown into a salad for a sour-sweet kick. They are also delicious on a cheeseboard. I’ve even used the leftover brine to flavour my slow cooked meats!
I love browsing the jars of artisan pickles in the gourmet food shops, but they can be upwards of $15 sometimes! The zucchinis cost about $3 – they are in season right now, abundant and cheap! All the other ingredients were already in my pantry.
But it’s not just about saving money. I love the satisfaction of making things from scratch. But you definitely don’t need to live on a farm or grow your own vegetables to preserve things. I’m a busy girl living in a major city, and I truly think everyone should learn to do this!
You can make jams (sweet or savoury), pickles, shrubs, sauces and more with your leftover produce that completely transform the ingredients and extend their life. I am really excited about bringing you more recipes and ideas like this in 2019.
One of my goals this year is to also be way more mindful of waste, both in terms of food waste and excess plastic. I want to start buying all of my staples – grains, nuts, pasta, spices – from a bulk foods store to avoid packaging, and store them in glass jars in my pantry. I have a collection of jars ready to be reused for storage or homemade jams and pickles.
I love to shop at the Bondi Farmers Market… with a reusable shopping bag, of course! Another option is the ‘Imperfect Picks’ at Harris Farm. It is fantastic that we have the option to buy fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to landfill. And they are cheaper too!
I think preserving is a fantastic way to help reduce food waste and excess packaging in your own kitchen. It’s a great way to use up fruit and veggies that may be on their last legs in your crisper. All that is to say that I truly encourage you to try making your own pickles!
This recipe has a couple of steps, but it’s actually very easy. Don’t skip soaking the zucchini in ice cold water, and allowing the brine to cool. These steps help keep that fresh crunch of the zucchini. No one wants a limp pickle! You can enjoy these straight away, but they are even better after a couple of days in the fridge.
Related Post: Homemade Tomato & Chilli Jam (use both for the ultimate burger!)
And now a little drum roll for a new zucchini recipe! Zucchini and Tomatoes Au Gratin
Here’s another of my zucchini recipes for you. It’s the time of the year when everyone wants zucchini recipes so I’ll be adding some more in the next two weeks. The family loves this one, but you can get the Thompson clan to eat anything if you put tomato and lots of cheese on it.
Anything with tomato and cheese is a hit with my family! Try this one, it’s one of my favorite zucchini recipes Print
Makes about 16 jars (Bonne Maman jam jar size). Recipe adapted from my friend Dorothee’s Mum. Thank you. As you can see, it is still in use. The recipe is easily halved in case you do not need to cope with such large amounts.
6 lbs. zucchini / courgettes / summer squash, peeled and deseeded*
1 lb. yellow onions, peeled
2 red (bell) peppers
2 green (bell) peppers
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon salt
4 cups sugar
3 cups 7 herb vinegar (I am using this one from Surol but if you can’t get it use an aromatic clear vinegar)
4 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery salt
4 teaspoon turmeric
Cut zucchini, onions, peppers and garlic in stripes and place in a large (glass) bowl. Stir remaining ingredients together and pour over the vegetables, mix and leave, covered, to infuse overnight.
Fill in sterilized jars and cook in a waterbath (the water should easily cover the jars, about 1cm or ½ inch) at 90°C / 195°F for 20 minutes.
Alternatively, heat water in enough pots to accommodate all your jars until just boiling, place them in a preheated oven (100°C / 210° F) and carefully lower your jars into them. The water should cover the jars easily (see above), if not, add more hot water. Cook them for about 20-25 minutes.
Take out of the water and leave to cool. Store in a dark, cool place after opening, keep the jar in the fridge.
*That’s how the recipe goes. But, as you can see in the pictures, I’ve skipped the peeling and deseeding simply because I forgot it and only noticed when I had to have a look at the recipe for the temperature. The result is nevertheless extremely yummy and the pickled zucchini slices have an appealing bite to them.
I got a zucchini from a friend’s garden a few days ago, so when I saw this listed in the “New uses for zucchini” section of the current issue of Cooking Light, I knew I wanted to try it out. This was a great chance to use my mandoline – I usually forget that I have it until I slice a bunch of things super thinly. On a side note…always use the hand guard on your mandoline. I stupidly didn’t and I nicked my thumb. It could have been much worse, but it was still pretty nasty.
Anyway, this is a great spin on traditional pickles, and it only has to sit in the fridge for a day. The red pepper flakes make them nice and spicy, and the sugar sweetens the vinegar up just the right amount. I’ll definitely make these again – they’re great! The other suggestions for new ways to use zucchini in the same article include reinventing coleslaw and moistening lean meatloaf.
Cooking Light August 2010
Combine 4 cups 1/8-inch zucchini slices, 1 cup slivered sweet onion, and 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves in a glass bowl. Bring 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 sugar, 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt to a boil pour over zucchini mixture. Cover and chill 24 hours.
25 More Ways to Use Zucchini
- Stuffed zucchini
- Zucchini as pasta
- Zucchini pickles
- Zucchini sweet relish
- Zucchini quiche
- Zucchini lasagna
- Zucchini tuna patties
- Zucchini and tomatoes
- Zucchini casserole
- Fried zucchini
- BBQ zucchini
- Baked zucchini
- Zucchini cookies
- Zucchini brownies
- Zucchini cake
- Zucchini bread
- Chocolate zucchini bread
- Zucchini muffins
Need More Ideas?
- Leave some on your neighbor&aposs back porch.
- Have a Tupperware party and give zucchini as door prizes.
- Grate them and freeze for use in zucchini bread at Thanksgiving.
- Put a basket of them at the end of your driveway with a "free" sign.
- Paint faces on them and decorate your front porch.
- Donate to the local food bank.
- Visit your local farm stand and sneak a few into their zucchini display.
Zucchini growing in my garden. Flowers are edible, too!
- 2 medium zucchini (about 12 oz.)
- 2 medium-size yellow squash (about 12 oz.)
- 1 red onion, halved and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
- Parchment paper
- 2 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
Cut zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, using a mandoline or sharp knife. Spread zucchini, yellow squash, and onion in a single layer on 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand 1 hour. Transfer to a colander, rinse, and drain. Place in a widemouthed 1-qt. jar, filling to 1/2 inch from top.
Bring vinegars to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar cook, stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or until dissolved. Stir in next 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil, immediately remove from heat, and pour over vegetables. Cool 1 hour. Cover and chill 3 days before serving. Refrigerate up to 2 months.
How to Cook That Massive Zucchini That's Growing in Your Garden
It's there, lurking in your backyard. And it's growing bigger by the day. You've ignored the situation until you just can't anymore you've got to do something before it's too late. No, we're not talking about some rabid monster—we're talking about that monster zucchini you have growing in your garden. That thing weighs more than a small child, and it's time to eat it before it goes to waste.
But how does one cook a massive squash like that? "This is not the time for a raw shaved zucchini salad," says senior food editor Dawn Perry. "Those huge squashes are tough, watery, bitter, and have big seeds." So what can you do with this overgrown veg? "You need to cook the heck out of it."
What Perry means is that you should cook it enough to rid it of all that bitterness and water content. Sautéed and tossed into pasta, baked into bread (brand new recipe coming soon!), roasted, thrown into a veggie soup, and straight-up stewed are the best way to cook this brute. Leave the raw salads, pickles, fritters, and light sautés to the younger, sweeter, more delicate zucchini.