Here it comes. That glut of zucchini. It’s finally midsummer when the farmshare box tumbles over with the stuff and it arrives in great heaps to the market.
Zucchini overabundance can feel like a challenge — how to eat it all up before it spoils, without resorting to tossing slices on the grill every single night. Over the years, we’ve come to a few reliable and surprising ways to use up excess zucchini that are delicious and offer variety.
I’m sharing three of those recipes here — two savoury and one sweet — in case you’re elbow-deep in summer squashes and debating how you’ll possibly eat another.
Stewed zucchini with golden raisins
Serves four as a side, or a generous portion of pasta sauce.
I’ve been making this sauce for nearly a decade. It’s the perfect summer side: sweet and salty, savoury, creamy and adaptable. It’s also versatile — use it as a pasta sauce with a dusting of cheese, straight from the pan as a side to chicken or pork, or cold and spooned over crostini as an easy appetizer. It’s a great recipe for when you really do have an excess of zucchini as it allows you to use a whole lot in one go.
- 4 c zucchini, grated
- 1/3 c golden raisins
- 3-4 medium cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ample salt and pepper, to taste
- Parmigiano-Regianno, for grating, to taste
Cook the zucchini: Heat olive oil over medium in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add zucchini and garlic and cook about five minutes, until the zucchini starts to break down. Add the raisins and a generous amount of salt and pepper, tasting as you go.
Let it do its thing: Continue cooking about 10 minutes total, until the zucchini is soft, the raisins plump and a lot of the excess liquid evaporated. The mixture should be tender and almost creamy (as in the photo).
Serve: Over pasta, alone, on toasts or as a side. Top generously with grated Parmigiano-Regianno, or another hard cheese.
Tip: If your zucchini has let out a lot of water, making the mixture too liquidy, quickly turn up the burner heat to high and stir constantly to evaporate the excess liquid. This happens with some larger squashes with high water content.
Savoury zucchini fritters
Makes six 3-inch diameter fritters.
These little fritters (pancakes) have crunchy outsides and a creamy interior. They’re addictive alone or with a big dollop of Greek yogurt.
The biggest error I’ve seen with recipes for vegetable-based fritters or pancakes is not expelling enough water content. Whether you’re making latkes or sweet potato pancakes or these delicate zucchini fritters, it’s important to ensure a significant portion of water is removed through salting and draining. If the batter is too watery, the finished product is loose, comes apart in the pan and doesn’t brown.
This recipe doubles and triples beautifully, if you’re feeding a crowd or want to make extras to reheat for weekday breakfasts.
- 2 c shredded zucchini
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1/3 c white onion, finely minced
- 1 Tbsp herbs, finely chopped (I most often use tarragon and mint)
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes or cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/3 c allpurpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- black pepper and salt, to taste
- vegetable oil, for frying
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare the zucchini: Over a colander, shred the zucchini. Mix in 1/2 tsp salt and let stand for about 10 minutes. Over the sink, grab handfuls of zucchini and wring out in paper towels until dry. You will remove about half of the liquid from the zucchini and it will feel dry to the touch.
Prepare the batter: In a large bowl, combine prepared zucchini, grated garlic, white onion, herbs, chili flakes, egg, flour and baking powder. Season generously with black pepper and salt.
Fry the fritters: In a shallow nonstick pan, heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil over medium heat until shimmering. Place 3 Tbsp mounds of batter into pan (don’t crowd) and cook three minutes per side until golden. As the fritters fry, rest them in your preheated oven on parchment-lined tray allowing them to cook through — about 10 minutes. Repeat in batches until all fritters are cooked.
Serve the fritters: Serve stacks of fritters solo or garnished with sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Cocoa espresso zucchini bread
Makes 1 standard-size loaf tin; recipe adapted from Simply Recipes
Zucchini and cocoa are one of those magical pairings. Add a shot of espresso and it takes the combination over the top.
This lightly-sweet quick bread uses a whole two cups of zucchini for one standard loaf, giving it incredible tenderness. I use about half whole wheat flour, as I love the density it provides. Sometimes I add chopped walnuts for textural contrast and resinous nuttiness that offsets the cocoa and grassy zucchini.
Because this bread is so moist, it keeps well wrapped in the fridge to slice off hunks through the week — for breakfast or snacks. I love it cold. Individual slices wrapped tightly in cling film also freeze well for defrosting and eating later on.
- 3/4 c allpurpose flour
- 1/2 c whole wheat flour
- 1/2c unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
- 3/4 c granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 shot espresso
- 2 c zucchini, grated
- Optional: 1/4 c chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line a 9×5′ standard loaf pan with parchment.
Prepare dry ingredients: Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, nutmeg and salt (and, optionally, the walnuts).
Prepare wet ingredients: In a stand-mixer, beat together the sugar and eggs, until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the melted butter, espresso and vanilla extract. Fold in the shredded zucchini.
Make batter: Add dry ingredients to wet in three additions, stirring to combine after each addition. Don’t over-mix! Turn batter into prepared loaf pan. If desired, top with more chopped walnuts.
Bake: Bake for approx. 50 minutes to one hour until a toothpick inserted into the densest part of the loaf comes out with very little batter residue and the top of the loaf is springy. Remove from the oven and cool in pan for about five minutes. Tug gently at parchment paper to lift out the loaf and cool completely on a wire rack.
Note: Let the bread cool completely before slicing, to maintain its structural integrity. It slices best with a serrated knife.