7 Ways to Prepare Zucchini

Post by Paula Jahn, Co-owner and Registered Dietitian at Nourish Northwest

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Fall is approaching, but not before bushels (bundles, scores, loads!) of zucchini and summer squash grace/burden us with their overabundant presence. Around this time of year, any acquaintance with a garden will start off loading their harvest on your doorstep. Farmers’ market tables are a sea of small green and yellow baseball bats.

For all their ubiquity, Olivia and I were just talking about how, for some reason, we don’t ever get sick of zucchini and summer squash. Perhaps the relatively short summer season in the Pacific Northwest makes afraid to turn our noses up at anything that represents sunshine and warmth, or maybe it’s because these summer vegetables are so versatile. Either way, the key to keeping your interest in this uniquely summer vegetable is to get creative. Here are seven ways to prepare this delicious and mild vegetable:


Grill: This is a no-brainer if you have an outdoor grill and a hot kitchen. Cut squash lengthwise into 1/4’’ slabs, brush with oil, sprinkle with salt and grill until crisp-tender. These zucchini “steaks” are great on their own or layered in a vegetarian sandwich with fresh tomato and pesto.


Roast: If you have air conditioning, or live in a cool summer climate, roasting does magical things to all vegetables. Crank up the oven to 400 degrees, chop up the summer squash into big cubes, toss with olive oil and salt and roast for about 15 minutes. Use this method for pretty much any vegetable, in any season.


Sauté: This is my go-to method for summer squash. Cut into coins or half-moons and sauté in large pan with oil of choice. Add herbs, garlic and spritz of lemon juice at the end of cooking. A fool proof way to make zucchini tender, juicy and caramelized.


Sautéed to Perfection
Sautéed to Perfection
Add other vegetables to the sauté for a hearty side dish.
Add other vegetables to the sauté for a hearty side dish.

Raw: This is a new way to eat summer squash for many. Raw zucchini has a wonderful al dente bite and soaks up sauce and dressing beautifully. Shave with a vegetable peeler or a special spiralizer to make ribbons or noodles. Toss with lime or lemon juice, salt, pepper and oil. There are lots of raw zucchini ribbon salad recipes out there. Pick your favorite!


Raw "Noodles"
Raw “Noodles”

Hidden: Why stop at savory? Zucchini’s mild flavor and moisture content make it perfect to be grated into sweet muffins, bread, or pancakes. Or, make zucchini patties as a main dish for dinner. Grate excess summer squash and freeze to use in baked goods in the winter!


Pickled: Quick pickles are a perfect way to preserve the harvest for over a week. Try this recipe: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/quick-pickled-zucchini-recipe.html


Dehydrated: Kale chips are all the rage. If you have a dehydrator, you can make seasoned zucchini chips the same way. They are a perfect way to not only preserve the summer, but they can be taken on hiking or backpacking trips where vegetables are often scarce. They are light, crisp, and nutritious. Try these here.



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