Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Nonsense! There is–if you’re eating zucchini in season.
I grow a ton of my food, but even if you don’t, there’s a neighbor who wants to give you zucchini. You know it’s true. Just look a little bit interested, and you’ll find baskets on your doorstep, by your car, and bags waiting for you to walk by.
Zucchini is one of the world’s least appreciated foods, which is unfortunate. If I only had one vegetable to be overwhelmed by with, it’d be zucchini. I could find something to do with it every day of the year. I never get tired of welcoming it into my kitchen.
Try one of these recipes–in season they’ll save you money, but they’re so good you may just want to keep them in the lineup for all year round, even when zucchini isn’t free on every street corner.
Here are five recipes that will make you fall in love with zucchini–even if you think you hate vegetables!
Zucchini and hummus
Hummus makes every single veggie amazing. Sure, you can put your hummus on a plate full of nachos, but why not use some fresh, healthy zucchini? Slice it up in rounds or strips and you’ve got a dip combo made in heaven, that tastes sinfully delicious. Try the Broke Teacher recipe for hummus–you’ll never buy it again!
This classic zucchini bread recipe takes all the health out of your zucchini, which may be exactly what you’re looking for! You can eat your veggies for dessert, too!
Ingredients: 3 eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 cups sugar, 2 tsp baking soda, 3/4 tsp sea salt, 2 1/4 cups grated zucchini, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 Tsp nutmeg, 1 Tbsp vanilla, 2 cups flour
- Mix eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, and melted butter.
- Add dry ingredients.
- Fold in grated zucchini.
- Place in 2 buttered and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to an hour, or when butter knife poked in the center comes out clean and batter free.
- Cut your zucchini into half-inch strips–about the size of a french fry.
- Set up a breading station:
- Get two bowls.
- Scramble 1-2 eggs in the first bowl.
- Put plain, seasoned, or gluten-free breadcrumbs in the second.
- Coat the zucchini fries in egg in the first bowl, then cover with breadcrumbs from the second.
- Arrange zucchini on a baking stone or cookie sheet brushed with olive oil.
- Pop into a preheated 350 degree oven for twenty to thirty minutes. The time will vary depending on how thick cut your zucchini strips.
- Turn once during the baking process to get all the sides crisp.
- When your fries are crisp on the outside and cooked all the way through–about twenty minutes, you’re done.
Healthy Zucchini Stir-fry
The possibilities for this are endless. Swap out your oil and add whatever veggies you have on hand. Flavor with fresh or dried herbs, garlic, curry powder, tamari, sesame–you can make a flavor to go with every meal.
- Choose a healthy oil like coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
- Slice up the zucchini
- Raid the fridge for veggies that need to be used, and include some of them–onions, garlic, julienned carrots, mushrooms–whatever you have and love.
- Serve over cooked rice to make a meal, or as a side dish.
This is a dish inspired by a classic Georgian dish–the nation, not the Southern state. In its classic form, it uses green beans, but I figured, “I’m flooded with zucchini here…why not.” It was a success.
I eat this as a protein-rich breakfast and serve as a side dish. Often, I make it a as meal by itself.
- Dice up a zucchini–or several. This dish stores well in the refrigerator. You can cook once, and eat a few meals or take the leftovers for lunch.
- Sauté the zucchini in a very small amount of butter, salting to taste.
- When the zucchini is nearly done, add a clove of garlic, minced. You can use garlic powder or fresh garlic. [Pro tip: Use a fine-grade cheese grater–the kind you use for parmesan cheese–and grate the garlic, unpeeled. You can also use a potato peeler to peel slivers of garlic into your dishes. Both save time and avoid the need to peel the clove].
- Cook for two more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a separate bowl, scramble three eggs for each zucchini you’re cooking. The number of eggs is very flexible. I prefer a higher veggie to egg ratio for this, but you can make it more of an egg dish if you want.
- Add the eggs to the pan, and sauté a minute more, stirring until the eggs are done.
Photo credit: wikipedia commons “Yellow and Green Zucchini”