We plant zucchini in the garden because I love the stuff. I love how it grows, I love the leaves, I love the blooms, and I love to eat it. From the first sprout, I lavish the plants with love and appreciation while watering and weeding. This is the secret to growing enchanted vegetables.
I may have overdone the whole enchantment thing this year, because despite the driest summer on record, we were inundated with zucchini. It was like an explosion of abundance. The plants grew so big they are spilling out beyond the garden bed. (Maybe the Goddess of Zucchini just decided this is her year.)
It’s too bad that she picked the same year as a pandemic that effectively halted our usual parade of visitors on whom we can fob off some zucchini. Did I say fob off? I meant joyfully share.
Time to get Creative with Zucchini.
There’s really no need to fret when your garden gives you an overabundance of this vegetable or if you are given one and have no idea what to do with it. Let’s go beyond the tried and true zucchini pancakes or tots. Zucchini has the great quality of taking on the flavour of whatever it is cooked with. You can marinate, spice, or put a tasty dressing on it. A lot of moms know the trick of grating zucchini into a tomato sauce for pasta, but let’s look at some other ways to include it in your meal plan.
9 ways we ate our zucchinis this season
I know this is nothing new, but over the years I have tested many fries recipes with varying results. These are the yummiest zucchini fries I have ever made!
Zucchini Parm Fries
2 large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and the seeds scraped out with a spoon
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heaping tablespoon ground black pepper
Cut each zucchini half lengthwise into 3 long strips, cut the strips into 3, creating “French fries” sticks.
You’ll need 2 large bowls.
In one bowl place the flour, Parmesan cheese and pepper. Whisk until well blended.
Crack your egg into the other bowl and whisk well.
Prepare a deep-sided fry pan (I used a large cast iron pan) by filling in with vegetable oil to a depth of at least 2 inches. Begin heating the oil over medium high heat.
While the oil heats up, place half of the zucchini fries into the bowl of whisked egg. Use both you hands to toss them through the egg until they are all coated in egg.
Take half of the wet fries and put them into your flour mixture bowl. Wash and dry your hands. Use your hands again to toss the fries in the flour, making sure to coat them very well.
Take one coated zucchini stick and dip one end into the oil. If it begins to bubble right away, the oil is ready.
Carefully add your coated fries to the oil and use a wooden spatula or spoon to spread them out.
Turn the heat down to medium and let the fries cook for about 3 minutes. Stir and turn the fries once or twice, very gently.
While the first batch cooks, toss the remaining fries in the egg, and then in the flour mix. Leave them in the flour bowl until you are ready to cook them.
Once the fries are a golden brown, use a slotted spoon or mesh spoon to remove the fries from the oil and spread on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
Turn the heat back up to medium high for about a minute, and repeat the process with the second half.
Breakfast or lunch… Get out the eggs. Cubed and sautéed with other veggies, zucchini adds some girth to up the satisfaction quota of a frittata.
My version has sourdough bread, snap peas, yellow bell pepper and zucchini.
Zucchini with Garam Masala
This makes a fantastic side dish to go along with your favourite curry dish. Cubed and sautéed, once the zucchini browns, sprinkle Garam Masala powder and stir till well coated. Garam Masala powder can be found in most grocery stores and has a lovely warm but never spicy flavour with hints of cinnamon.
Grilled zucchini can be used lots of ways and it’s so easy. I cut them in half lengthwise, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and put them in a very hot grill pan with some olive oil. Turn once to grill the other side and you’re done. Here they are on my cutting board where I have cut them into chunks.
My favourite way to eat these is in a grilled veggies salad. I grill red bell peppers and a big sweet onion, and they all go into vinaigrette while still warm. Don’t forget the garlic… you won’t be sorry!
The grilled zucchini can be use in other dishes too, like…
Yup! This delicious pizza has grilled zucchini, bacon, mushroom, and fresh basil toppings, finished off with a good dose of mozzarella cheese. OMG Yum!
Rice Pilaf with Zucchini
A Rice Pilaf is any rice cooked in stock with added vegetables and/or meat. We kept the meat on the side (chicken slices with sour cream and green onion) and the pilaf was created using Vegetable bouillon, turmeric, yellow zucchini, tomatoes, dried currants and basmati rice. We topped it off with toasted sliced almonds. Delish!
Sautéed Vegetable Melody with Zucchini
An easy weeknight meal of chicken thighs, rice and a melody of veggies sautéed in butter. Our blend on this occasion was zucchini, corn, and orange peppers, topped with minced green onion and parsley.
Zoodles? That’s what a friend of mine calls spiralized or julienned zucchini that replaces noodles. Turn’s out, all sorts of people call them zoodles, which is great because it’s a fun word to say. Here we used a vegetable peeler to form long wide zoodles. Ok… I admit it, I own a spiralizer, I just didn’t happen to use it for this dish. The Zucchini was cooked very quickly in a pan with some olive oil to form the base for a chunky tomato sauce and these incredible ricotta fritters from Jamie Oliver. Find the recipe here:
(Bonus: Jamie has a recipe for zucchini salad on the same page)
Lets Do Dessert!
This recipe is actually called a muffin, and I get it, after all it has vegetable in it and what could be a better start to the day? Except there’s also 2 kinds of chocolate and lots of sugar, that puts it squarely in the dessert category if you ask me. I chose to add just a little cream cheese icing to my cupcake/muffins. These were a HUGE hit and you would never know there’s a ton of zucchini in them. Here’s the recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (from My Baking Addiction Blog)
May Your Zucchini Grow Long and Strong,
May you enjoy every bite,
and embrace the joy of this magic vegetable,
whether you call it zucchini, summer squash or corgette.
Laura den Hertog writes and illustrates The Enchanted Journal, a blog where you’ll find ideas and inspiration for connecting with Nature to create a truly enchanted life. Laura shares the wonder and humour of her life in the countryside of the Ottawa Valley.
The Enchanted Journal – https://www.lauradenhertog.com/blog
Laura den Hertog Fine Art – https://www.lauradenhertog.com/