What to do with Too Much Zucchini, v. 1.0 and 2.0

I recently tried to give my babysitter a big old honkin’ zucchini.

“Oh, no you don’t,” she said. “Too much zucchini these days. This is New England. I lock my trunk in summer, or people deposit bags of the stuff.”

You laugh, but tomorrow is actually National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night. Yes, that’s an official holiday.

Barbara Kingsolver knows all about that. In her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (it’s great, folks! You should get a copy), she describes zucchini season in her small farming town. After weeks of cooking with zucchini, handing bags of zucchini to every visitor, and even wondering if someone could make a car that runs on zucchini, she says:

One day we came home from some errands to find a grocery sack of them hanging on our mailbox. The perpetrator, of course, was nowhere in sight.“Wow,” we all said—“what a good idea!”Garrison Keillor says July is the only time of year when country people lock our cars in the church parking lot, so people won’t put squash on the front seat. I used to think that was a joke.I don’t want to advertise the presence or absence of security measures in our neighborhood, except to say that in rural areas, generally speaking, people don’t lock their doors all that much….So the family was a bit surprised when I started double-checking the security of doors and gates any time we all were about to leave the premises.“Do I have to explain the obvious?” I asked impatiently. “Somebody might break in and put zucchini in our house.”

Kingsolver has a few disappearing zucchini recipes up her sleeve, including Disappearing Zucchini Orzo and Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies (which her daughter swears is indistinguishable from the non-zucchini type)

I also tried some zucchini recipes recently:

1. Tomatillo Zuke-a-mole


(looks like a soup here – picture it surrounded by chips or veggies for dipping).This is adapted from a recipe in Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini: the Essential Reference by Elizabeth Schneider. You can find the original recipe here. I made some variations, as I had some added ingredients (tomatillos from our CSA), and didn’t have any lemons.


2 medium-sized zucchini

8 tomatillos of various sizes, outer shell peeled, and sticky stuff washed off

12 cloves garlic (various sizes, separated, still in skins)

1 large onion (sweet varieties preferred, i.e. Vidalia, Walla Walla)

1 teaspoon coarse salt

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/4 cup

A big handful of herbs – basil plus flat-leaf parsley

Juice of a lime

salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 375. Slice zucchini in half, lengthwise. Dehusk tomatillos and wash. Separate garlic cloves but keep skins on. Quarter onion. Place vegetables in roasting pan and slather with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the teaspoon of salt. Roast until extremely tender, at least 1 hour and up to 90 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, prepare herbs; pull leaves off stems and tear or chop coarsely. Let vegetables cool slightly and squeeze garlic from skins. Place all vegetables into blender and pulse. Add herbs. Puree until smooth and combined. Add lime juice and salt. Drizzle in remaining olive oil. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.

Chill and serve with crackers, pita crisps, crudite or make as part of a sandwich. Makes about 1 quart.

Let it be said that Blair does NOT LIKE zucchini. But he does like chips, and is grateful for any excuse to dip into a bag of tortilla chips. “It’s not quite a regular guacamole,” he said, munching down. “But it’s pretty good.”

Merrie, in typical Merrie fashion, liked it on Day 1 (“Mmm. Mommy, that’s delicious!”), but by Day 2 was shugging it off (“I don’t like it, Mommy. Can I have a cookie?”).

Me? I liked it. I also felt virtuous to be able to do something different with my stacks of zucchini.

2. Vegetarian Summer Pasta (or, what to serve to a vegetarian family that just had a baby, are Omnivore’s Dilemma types, and have very politely let you know that they’ve grown weary of salads).


Nothing fancy here — you’ve probably made plenty of similar recipes in your own kitchen — but it was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.


1 onion

2-3 garlic cloves

1-2 zucchini or yellow squash

2 large ripe tomatoes, skins peeled, and chopped

Handful of fresh basil

A few pinches fresh oregano

Half a can of garbanzo beans, drained

Salt and pepper to taste

Box o’ pasta

A big ol’ thing of shredded hard cheese, like parmesan.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add fresh oregano. Then add chopped zucchini and sautee another couple of minutes. Add tomatoes (peeling is easy — just dunk briefly in boiling water, and the skins will come right off). Add beans. Sautee for another minute or so. At this point, it seemed sort of watery, so I mixed up a Tablespoon of flour with water, added, and sauteed again (more on thickening sauces here). Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste, add heaps of fresh basil and shredded cheese, and serve over cooked pasta.

It was pretty good, with enough for plenty of leftovers.

Now go rev up your getaway car, so you can sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch tomorrow.

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13 Responses to “What to do with Too Much Zucchini, v. 1.0 and 2.0”

  1. 1 Lauren August 7, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    These look great, especially after realizing that starting a garden this year has yielded many, many zucchini just as our CSA is (of course) providing all the zucchini one family could possibly need.

    I’m making this one tonight:

  2. 2 pnuts mama August 7, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    oh, the woe of having too much zucchini. and carrots! what’s with all the carrots? is it too much to ask for some chocolate in my garden or CSA box? hmm.

    we’ve been making zucchini bread and freezing them for weeks now, giving them away to unsuspecting people, etc. no one wants a raw zuke, but no one turns away the bread, either!

    we’ve done tons of pasta and various fried up veggies, too! delish!

    and this isn’t garden related, but i stumbled across this site: http://www.thepioneerwomancooks.com/ and just the dessert recipes alone will make you cry for your mama. so, so good. so very very good. made my husband the bread pudding last night cause he loves that grossness and he couldn’t have been happier. going to try the peach crisp next.

  3. 3 boogiemum August 7, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    I love zucchini, unfortunately I think our prime harvesting period in this area is almost over. I have cooked so many things with zucchini in them this summer, I think my kids will scream if I serve them one more. But, being the loving mother that I am, I aim to make them scream :) I am going to have to try these recipes out before the local zucchini is all gone!

  4. 4 Vikki August 7, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    Do you have the Low Fat Moosewood cookbook? There is a great recipe in there called Midsummer Risotto that uses zucchini and is absolutely fabulous. If you don’t have the book, I’ll send you the recipe…even though, as I type this, I realize I never sent you the banana enchilads either. I promise though…

  5. 5 jenniwd August 8, 2007 at 1:55 am

    And of course there is your Grandmother OMs special that makes elegant use of zucchinis the size of clubs or baseball bats. Lets say oh healthy child this is for festive events, as it includes butter:

    Huge zucchini carefully spilt down the middle, scoop out seeds, and more but not all of the middle: now each half is a boat. You are not scooping down to the skin; you want a margin of vege. Set aside removed raw innards for another recipe.

    Par boil or steam boats to not-quite-done.(edible, but still fairly stiff). Pat dry. Fill each boat with generous mixture of mashed blue cheeze and butter(mostly cheeze). Paprika tops if you like for nice color. Bake 350 or 400 about 30 or 40 min if memory serves, till boats brown, sizzle, yummily drip.
    Cool to warm.

    After presenting boats with grand flourish, thick slice crosswise about 2 inches, one wedge per guest.

    Can also serve cold, which makes for nice leftovers or picnics.

  6. 6 jenniwd August 8, 2007 at 2:14 am

    Also, zucchini:
    It is of course loaded with water. To render shreded or grated zucchini more substantive which works better with some recipes, place in bowl, generously salt, then go rock Charlotte for 20 or more minutes. After she’s content come back to note that bowl now contains large puddle of green liquid, somewhat reminiscent of, er…., which you dump.

  7. 7 Meredith August 8, 2007 at 2:59 am

    Back when I lived on my own, I made a great pasta dish very similar to yours. It was cheap and so easy to make on a weeknight. Plus the leftovers were great for lunch the next day. Thanks for reminding me. I must try it again!

  8. 8 pamelotta August 8, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    My very first garden was a zucchini garden, not on purpose. I planted other things, but between the lack of rain and the Texas-sized grasshoppers, nothing made it. Except the zucchini. I was so proud. I didn’t know that zucchini practically grows itself!

  9. 9 Fairly Odd Mother August 10, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    That cracks me up about people hiding zucchini in their neighbors’ cars! I remember a cookbook my mom had (my dad had a good garden when we were growing up) that had a zillion zucchini recipes. I recall making a pizza crust with zucchini that was pretty good. I will have to ask her to find that book so I can see what to do with my soon-to-come surplus.

  10. 10 sahm2girls August 25, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    Thank you so much for the pasta recipe. I made it for dinner tonight and it was a hit with everyone! Hubby loved it and my 2 daughters loved it too! It’s a keeper.

  11. 11 jodiodeeo September 10, 2007 at 4:02 am

    Thanks for recommending Animal Vegetable Miracle – I’m listening to it on tape – which you MUST do if you haven’t (along with reading the book). She’s absolutely soothing to listen to.

    I made the Disappearing Zucchini Orzo this weekend and it was sooo fabulous. The cookies are next on my list!

  12. 12 Jenn March 14, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    Um? Please sneak something premade with zucchini onto this porch? Please? Can’t breathe? Can’t look down to stir a pot or snot will drip into it? Zucchini-sneak away, baby.

  1. 1 No-noodle lasagna…a celebration of zucchini « The Cleaner Plate Club Trackback on July 23, 2008 at 7:20 pm
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