Maybe the box from your CSA was loaded with zucchini this week, maybe a neighbor gave you some of their gigantic prize-winning squash, or maybe you just bought too much at the local farmers market — sometimes you just need a few fresh ideas about how to use up the zucchini you have on hand. You can only eat so many zucchini muffins, so what do you do with the leftover? We have some ideas.
Zucchini is available year-round in most American supermarkets but it's in season during the summer months. Buying in-season means you'll receive maximum flavor and nutrients. Take advantage of zucchini's natural goodness (like fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C) by eating it raw. You can cut it into sticks perfect for dipping, layer it with slices of tomato and mozzarella for a nontraditional caprese salad, or cut it on a spiral slicer to make zucchini "noodles" to replace pasta. If you have a vegetable peeler you can also cut long, thin ribbons of squash to add to salads or sandwiches. Like any fruit or vegetable, if you plan to eat your zucchini raw, be sure to wash the skin thoroughly even if you're planning to remove it.
If you don't want to use your zucchini in a raw preparation, there are plenty of ways to cook it as well — no need to grate it all into muffins or bread. Fried zucchini is one of my summertime favorites; cut sticks or coins from the zucchini, dredge the squash in flour, dip it in egg wash, and then coat it in crunchy Panko breadcrumbs. Once the breaded zucchini is fried golden brown, drain the excess oil, sprinkle with salt, and enjoy on top of pasta or dipped in a homemade tzatziki sauce. Even if you're cooking for picky eaters, this one is sure to be a hit.
Looking for more ways to use up your stock of zucchini? We've rounded up a few recipes to get you started.
Cucumber and Zucchini Panzanella Recipe
(Credit: Flickr/Quentin Bacon)
Here's a refreshing and healthy salad from Mario Batali. You can use a mandolin to achieve the paper-thin slices of cucumber and zucchini called for in this recipe, but make sure you don't get distracted.
Click here to see the Cucumber and Zucchini Panzanella Recipe
Fresh Corn and Zucchini Cakes Recipe
(Credit: Whole Foods Market)
These moist, tender little cakes are an easy and flavorful side dish to serve with simple grilled foods. They're excellent at room temperature, so consider making them ahead and packing them along in your cooler on your next picnic.
Click here to see the Fresh Corn and Zucchini Cakes Recipe
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.