Do you have more zucchini than you know what to do with?
Are you looking for another, creative way to use zucchini?
Did you know you could eat this summer squash raw or even use it in a facial mask?
“The greatest fine art of the future
will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
Growing zucchini can make just about anyone feel like they have a green thumb. It’s easy to grow, delightfully prolific, and in no time at all can be overwhelming as it piles up on your kitchen counter.
As a child I had no appreciation for the zucchini my grandmother grew in her garden and lovingly prepared into meals. For me, it was a cooked squishy vegetable with no real flavor. Everyone raved about her zucchini relish and wanted more. I didn’t want any at all - not on my plate and certainly not touching my food. The only way I would eat it was if it was baked into a zucchini bread.
One day, when I was browsing through an old recipe file box, I came across her ‘famous’ zucchini recipe written in her own handwriting. The fond memories of my grandmother, her gardening, and her cooking came flooding back. I decided I wanted to grow zucchini, even if I didn’t like it. And, I wanted to make her relish just to find out, as an adult, what it tasted like. Wow. What a joy! I soon came to the realization that I wanted to learn a few ways to prepare zucchini that
were flavorful and that I would actually enjoy eating. After all, the plant was producing far more than I could use in one recipe.
Gluten-Free Baked Zucchini Oatmeal
Since going Gluten-Free in our household I realized after a few years that I missed eating a slice of fresh baked zucchini bread in the summer. I wanted to find a way of bringing that joy back into my life, so I played around with ingredients until I came up with a baked oatmeal that was gluten free, dairy-free, healthy, and quite tasty.
- 4 cups oats (I use organic, gluten-free oats)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon clove powder
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce (I use this in place of dairy)
- 2 eggs
Pre-heat oven to 375° Fahrenheit. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Create a dent in the center of your mixture and add in your zucchini, applesauce, and eggs. Mix thoroughly. Scoop your batter into a greased 9-inch loaf baking dish. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
This recipe makes a single loaf of baked oatmeal, though it can easily be doubled. It can be kept in the refrigerator for a week or more and makes an easy to grab breakfast or snack.
Creamy Herbed Zucchini Sauce
Have you ever tried a creamy, herbed zucchini sauce? If not, you’re in for a real treat. The best part is: it’s delicious. We ladle it over mashed potatoes, though this sauce could easily be served over rice, pasta, oven roasted vegetables, ground hamburger, shredded chicken, or even pulled pork.
- 2 small or 1 medium-large to large zucchini (approximate 2.5 pounds), diced or shredded • ¼ cup butter (olive oil makes a good substitute)
- 1 medium to large sweet onion, diced
- 1.5 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano (or 4 tablespoons fresh, chopped)
- 2 tablespoons dried basil (or 4 tablespoons fresh, chopped)
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary (or 2 tablespoons fresh, crushed)
- 1 .5 teaspoons turmeric root powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground
- A dash of Sriracha sauce (or a pinch of red pepper flakes)
- 1 cup chicken stock (bone or vegetable broth are good substitutes)
- Optional: ¾ cup crumbled Feta cheese or freshly grated Romano cheese
Heat a large sauce pan to medium high heat. Add your butter and onion and sauté for three to five minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, rosemary, turmeric, salt, pepper, dash of Sriracha sauce, and cook for one to two minutes. Then add your chicken stock and zucchini, bring up to a bubble, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick.
After 20 minutes, when your zucchini is completely soft, use a submersion blender to blend your sauce to a smooth, creamy mixture. If your sauce is too thick, add a little more chicken stock and thin to desired consistency. Then, add the cheese and serve over your side dish of choice.
This sauce freezes well, even with the small amount of cheese in it.
Honestly, my zucchini soup is basically the same recipe as above. The only real difference is when I make soup I add in one quart of chicken stock or bone broth. If the consistency turns out thinner than you desire, you could thicken it with some instant potato flakes. If you want it a little creamier, you could add a little oat milk or cream before ladling into a soup bowl and topping
with a few crumbles of Feta cheese. Easy, hearty, and you can find several quart jars of Zuc Soup in my freezer long after the growing season is over.
Did You Know You Could Eat Zucchini Raw and Enjoy It?
I didn’t know this until I was curious if I could add some zucchini into our morning smoothies. Turns out that raw zucchini is quite healthy to eat and has more fiber and vitamin C than when it’s cooked. When cooked zucchini has slightly more vitamin A.
Plus, zucchini is high in antioxidants that help to protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. The carotenoids, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene are particularly plentiful in zucchini, which help benefit your skin, heart, and eyes. Either way you enjoy it - cooked or raw - this summer squash is rich in many vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds.
Our days start out with a healthy, nutrient-packed smoothie. The general rule of thumb in creating them are:
- 75% greens or mixed vegetables (choose from: spinach, broccoli, cabbage, celery, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, pumpkin, lettuce, beats, etc.)
- 25% mixed fruits (such as: banana, berries, cherries, frozen tropical fruit blend, seasonal melons, peaches, pears, kiwi, etc.)
- Flaxseed and/or chia seed for their fiber and omega 3s (approximately ¼ cup total seeds)
- A handful of nuts (brazil, almond, walnut, pistachios, or even bitter apricot kernels) You can even add a few supplements if you like, such as
- 1 heaping tablespoon full of beet root powder
- 1 tablespoon full of loose leaf green tea that has been brewed in a cup of boiling water and cooled down to room temp (I pour the tea and tea leaves all together into the blender)
- Optional: any herbs or spices that sound good at the time
Everything goes into our 64oz Vitamix blender along with
- 1 cup of pomegranate juice
- 1 cup of coconut water
- 2 cups of filtered water
Then voilà, after a minute of blending on high speed, we have a nutritional smoothie-meal that tastes amazing, changes with the seasons, and supports good health. The bonus is: at least half of the ingredients come from our garden. (We freeze a lot of home grown veggies, fruits and berries to keep us in smoothies’ year round.)
Sliced Zucchini and Hummus
The next time you’re slicing vegetables to eat with hummus or enjoy with a dip, consider slicing up a small zucchini and add to the selection.
Zucchini in a Facial Mask?
Have you ever tried a zucchini facial mask? The advantage of zucchini for the skin is that it contains nutrients that naturally prevents premature aging. Packed with vitamins, minerals, pectins, organic acids and other useful microelements, it nurtures your skin and rejuvenates it, improves blood circulation at the cellular level, and promotes a youthful complexion.
- 2 tablespoons finely grated zucchini
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 teaspoon olive or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (lemon juice may be substituted)
Finely grate two tablespoons of zucchini into a small bowl. Add your honey, oil, and apple cider vinegar. Mix well and apply to face and neck. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes then rinse off.
Freezer and Pantry Bounty
When the zucchini growing season is wrapped up, you’ll often find my freezer filled with: • Anywhere between 30 to 50 bags filled with two cups of shredded zucchini, each ready for inclusion into a baked oatmeal, a hearty Fall-Winter soup, a ‘Go-To’ quiche, or casserole.
- 10 quart jars of zucchini soup
- 10 pint jars of zucchini sauce
- Several bags of chopped zucchini ready to throw into the blender for a smoothie Plus, a few jars of canned zucchini relish sitting on the pantry shelves bringing me fond childhood memories of my grandmother.
Kitchen Scraps Go to the Worms:
The cut off ends of zucchini end up in our Vego In-Ground Worm Composter bins, which of course, the worms get to enjoy too. We’ve been doing worm composting for many years now. Yet, with these bins right in the garden beds, it has made our composting incredibly easy and convenient.
A Greater Appreciation
In the recreation of my grandmother’s famous zucchini relish, I found my own joy of zucchini. Over these past few years, I’ve gathered together 13 well-loved recipes that makes it easy to decide what to do with all that zucchini. With the easy versatility and adaptable flavor of this summer squash, it has become a garden staple on our homestead and beautifully supports our goals of sustainable living.Though, remember: when there is still more zucchini than you can consume, preserve, politely give away, donate to your local foodbank, or feed to the chickens, don’t forget August 8th, The National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. This quirky holiday was established by Thomas Roy, to help gardener’s give-away their excess zucchini.