If you’ve ever planted several zucchini plants in your garden, you might have the slight ‘problem’ of being overwhelmed with zucchini. I’ll have to say I’m absolutely thrilled to have this little ‘problem’ of sorts, I’ve got so much zucchini coming my way right now I can barely keep up with it! We’re growing a garden this year for the first time in 6 years, and I’m loving having a full scale herb garden and fresh veggies everyday. There’s nothing like being able to cut a small bunch of fresh cilantro to bring indoors for a fresh bowl of guacamole, or a little fresh basil added into… well… pretty much everything, (can you tell I’m a little excited to be having a garden again)!
I planted 4 zucchini plants for 2 people which is most definitely overkill, and all of you awesome gardener’s out there are probably shaking your head at me right now. But… here’s the thing, I wanted to be sure I would have loads of zucchini, and I’ve surely gotten my wish. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve gotten really creative trying to use up all this summer abundance, and I thought I’d share my 5 best ways to use up zucchini with you along with 25 recipes for inspiration!
So without further adieu, here are my 5 best ways to use up massive quantities of zucchini:
1. Zucchini Noodles or Zoodles as they’re sometimes called. This is a great way to use up pounds of zucchini at a time, just my husband and I can easily eat 2 pounds of zucchini in 1 sitting if it’s been turned into these delicious noodles.
There are too many veggie noodle recipe to list all of them here. You can see all 11 recipes here, but I’m including a couple of my favorites as well.
2. Zucchini Noodle Mason Salad Jars, this one kinda goes with number one but it’s been so revolutionary for us, I wanted to give it it’s own place! Ever since I got a spiralizer, I’ve been turning massive quantities of zucchini into ‘noodles’ and they make great salad jars. My favorite version so far is zucchini noodles (sometimes some carrot noodles mixed in) placed into 32 ounce/1 quart glass jars and then just add dressing. I’ve found that I like to keep the dressing in a separate small container for a 3-4 days storage, but you can put the dressing right in the jar before you fill it with zucchini noodles. I love the Creamy Ginger Dressing from the Mango Veggie Noodle Bowls with zucchini noodles because it’s a lot like sesame noodles but even more addictive, (for me anyways).
These are by far the fastest salad jars (or maybe I should say noodle jars) I’ve ever made because you can spiralize several pounds of zucchini in just minutes which will fill a lot of salad jars. The Ginger Dressing I mentioned makes about 1 1/2 cups and can easily be doubled to make as many jars as you’d like. I usually like around 1/3 cup of dressing with 1 jar of zucchini noodles, but you might like less dressing.
3. These Zucchini Fritters with Avocado Crema are another great way to use up lots of zucchini, 1-2 pounds depending on how many mouths you’re feeding! They’re really easy to make, and I never get tired of them!
4. Zucchini makes a fabulous side dish if it’s cooked in a flavorful way. My favorite ways to cook zucchini are grilled, roasted, and sautéed. I always allow for 1/2 pound of zucchini per person so it really uses up a lot of zucchini.
Grilled zucchini is super easy, just cut off both ends and slice the zucchini lengthwise. Grill the zucchini starting with the flat side down over medium heat, and grill until the zucchini is just starting to soften before turning it over to finish cooking. This Balsamic Grilled Chicken topped with Caprese Salad has an option side of grilled zucchini that uses up 1/2 pound per person, and the Grilled Italian Platter with Basil Balsamic Dressing is another great option! Grilled zucchini is a great vehicle for homemade mayonnaise (or aioli), i.e. and excuse to eat really delicious mayonnaise! I’ll leave a couple of mayonnaise/aioli recipes below to get you started.
For roasted zucchini, I’ve put together 3 options:
And for sautéed zucchini:
5. I saved the weirdest one for last… so here it is – I put zucchini in my green smoothies. It sounds pretty unappetizing, but consider that zucchini is relatively bland so it doesn’t interfere with the flavor of the smoothie, and it’s a great way to sneak in some more veggies! Start by putting in a small piece, about 1/4 pound (4 ounces) in your smoothie and see if you want to add more from there.
I’m also working on a Zucchini Parmesan recipe that’s much like my Eggplant Parmesan, but this variation is going to have a super simple no-cook blender tomato sauce that’s an absolute lifesaver in the dinner department!
I’d love to know your favorite ways to use up zucchini because I think my plants have doubled in size just while I was writing this, and I’m taking all the advice I can get about how to handle such abundance!