Move over zucchini bread – three more ideas for this versatile squash

Jennifer Alexander Ruple

If you’ve ever grown zucchini, you know a little goes a long way. That’s a good thing because zucchini is not only delicious, but it’s good for you. According to the USDA, one medium zucchini contains only 33 calories and 6 grams of carbohydrates, making the summer squash wonderful as a base for dishes in lieu of bread, such as in Pizza Stuffed Zucchini. Pack up a pan of Cheesy Baked Zucchini and take it to a backyard gathering or try adding Simply Sautéed Zucchini to your favorite dish. The ideas are endless for this healthy and plentiful crop.

Simply Sautéed Zucchini

Buttery and flavorful, sautéed zucchini is a great meal starter. Add it to a pasta salad, wrap it up in fajitas, or simply eat it on its own. Be careful not to overcrowd the zucchini while cooking and wait until it’s fully browned before adding salt. Salt will draw out moisture and cause the zucchini to become soggy.

  • 2 servings
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • Avocado oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut off stem ends of the zucchini, and slice it in half lengthwise. Cut zucchini into 1/2-inch thick slices.
Heat skillet to medium heat and add about 1 tablespoon of oil. Add zucchini in a single layer and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cheesy Baked Zucchini

Everyone has dishes they remember from childhood. This one reminds me of when my family was living in the quaint town of Grand Haven, Mich. in the late 70s. On summer weekends, neighbors would take turns hosting evening get-togethers after we all spent the day at the beach. My mom would bring a similar zucchini dish to these parties – it was always a hit!

  • 6-8 servings
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Salt to taste

Heat oven to 350 F. Pour oil into the bottom of a 2-quart or 8 x 8 casserole dish.

Layer zucchini, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt and basil. Repeat until all ingredients are used.

Top casserole with breadcrumbs and drizzle with butter. Bake for 1 hour or until breadcrumbs and cheese are brown and bubbly. Loosely cover with foil if the cheese and breadcrumbs brown too quickly.

Pizza Stuffed Zucchini

Just like pizza but without the crust! Pizza Stuffed Zucchini are perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. I kept the toppings simple here, but feel free to load up your zucchini with all your favorites.
8 servings

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small jar marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • Mini pepperoni slices
  • Fresh basil, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. With a melon baller, scoop out the seeds and place zucchini halves on baking sheet.

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until it is soft and translucent.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese and onion. Spoon mixture into the well of each zucchini half until they are about 3/4 full. Add marinara sauce and then mozzarella cheese. Top with mini pepperoni pieces.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until zucchini is soft and cheese is bubbly and brown. Top with fresh basil.

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