Have you ever grown zucchini in your garden? If you have, you know that this vegetable seems to double, even triple, in size overnight. One morning, you check your vines and there is little to nothing; a day or so later, you are overrun with zucchini! And, goodness, if you leave the veggies to grow for two or three days without checking, you may have zucchinis as long as your arm!
What to do with all of this zucchini?
Luckily, zucchini is a delicious vegetable, as well as versatile. You can bake it in bread, slice it in rounds to fry or bake, peel it into ribbons to use instead of pasta, or cut it into sticks and toss it in a stir-fry—lots of options! Here are a few delicious ideas:
Zucchini Lasagna: For the larger zucks, this is a perfect idea. Slice the zucchini long-ways into thin lasagna “noodles,” and layer just as you would for a traditional lasagna. If you aren’t sure a pasta-free lasagna will be to your—or your family’s—liking, mix it up, using some lasagna noodles and some zucchini slices. There is no need to cook the zucchini beforehand, by the way; just wash well—don’t bother to peel. Do, however, slice off the woody ends, which will also give you a sturdy base for steadying your zucchini for slicing. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes, until nice and bubbly and the cheese is browning on top.
Zucchini Enchilada Bake: Again, for the large zucks, once again slicing into thin “lasagna” noodles. Using your favorite enchilada fillings—browned ground beef, cooked chicken (shredded or chopped), refried beans, shredded cheese (cheddar and/or pepper jack are great), enchilada sauce (red or green), jalapenos, whatever you like—begin with a little enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish and a layer of zucchini noodles. Begin layering your enchilada fillings, ending with a layer of noodles, some sauce, then a final layer of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Tip: Let it stand for about 15 minutes when it comes out of the oven and it will cut easier. Delicious!
Chocolate Zucchini Bread: This recipe is more like a pound cake, but I do not think many people will complain! You will need:
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup applesauce
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 3 cups grated zucchini
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Grease and flour two loaf pans.
- Beat eggs well, until light and foamy; add vegetable oil, applesauce, sugar, vanilla and shredded zucchini; mix well.
- In another bowl, thoroughly mix together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
- Mix wet and dry ingredients well.
- Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, and pour into prepared pans.
- Bake about one hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaves comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes, then remove to wire racks to finish cooling.
Enjoy all of that summer zucchini!
Image: Wikimedia Commons