When I think of summer, I think of sunshine, beach reads and more zucchini than I know what to do with. If you find yourself with a garden full of zucchini — or even a generous neighbor looking to unload his or her zucchini haul — here are three of my favorite ways to use it up.
Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini Canoes
This dish isn’t just simple to throw together, it’s versatile too. You can fill your zucchini canoes with whatever you’d like, but I prefer hot Italian turkey sausage. Too spicy for your taste? Try sweet Italian sausage or some thick, earthy mushrooms.
The ingredient list is short and sweet:
4 small zucchinis
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 links hot Italian turkey sausage
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup green olives, sliced
¼ cup sweet red cherry peppers, chopped (optional)
1 ¼ cup marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Start by cutting each zucchini in half lengthwise and scrape out the insides, leaving a ¼-inch shell for your canoe. Chop up the reserved zucchini “meat” and set aside. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped zucchini, onion and salt. Remove the casings from the sausage links and add the sausage to the pan, crumbling as you go. Cook for 8 minutes, then mix in the olives and cherry peppers.
Meanwhile, spread the marina in a 9 x 13 baking dish and place the zucchini shells on top of the sauce. Spoon a generous portion of the sausage-zucchini mix into each shell. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
Cover your fleet with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes more. If you like your cheese to get nice and brown, you might give it a couple of minutes under the broiler to finish things off.
Zoodles, a.k.a. zucchini noodles, are a healthy way to get your spaghetti supper fix without packing on the pasta pounds. For the easiest zoodle prep, invest in an inexpensive vegetable spiralizer, and zoodle until your heart’s content. You can use zoodles in place of traditional pasta in most of your favorite dishes, Italian or otherwise, and they’re great in soups, too.
One of my favorite ways to zoodle couldn’t be simpler. Here’s what you need:
3 medium zucchinis, peeled
2 tablespoons butter
3 minced garlic cloves
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Spiralize the zucchini into noodles. (In a pinch, you can quarter them and use a veggie peeler to slice them into thin strips.)
In a large pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (roughly 1 minute), stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn.
Add your zoodles and grated Parmesan to the pan; stir. Cook the whole shebang until the zoodles are al dente (1-2 minutes).
Remove from heat. Salt and pepper to taste, and cover with more parm if you’d like.
Easy Grilled Zucchini
Sometimes the best way to enjoy zucchini is to keep it simple and throw it on the grill. (Or, even better, have your spouse, daughter or favorite grandson handle grilling duties.) I like my grilled zucchini simple — just a touch of garlic, oregano, basil and balsamic — but there’s no limit to the ways you can season your squash.
For perfect grilled zucchini, preheat the grill, keeping the heat medium to low. Lightly oil the grate, too.
Meanwhile, quarter your zucchinis, and brush them with olive oil. Sprinkle them with dried oregano, basil and garlic power, then grill until they start browning (roughly 4 minutes per side). Remove to a serving dish and lightly splash with balsamic vinegar before serving. Delicious!
You know what they say: Waste not, want not. Don’t throw all that zucchini away. Get a little creative in the kitchen, and you’ll be enjoying healthy, diverse zucchini dishes all season long.