I’d like to take a moment to talk about an illness that afflicts many households this time of year: Zucchini Overwhelm
Are you suffering from Zucchini Overwhelm? Common symptoms of zucchini overwhelm include, but are not limited to:
- Fridges and countertops that overflow with zucchini
- An impending sense of doom associated with new zucchini blossoms
- Family complaints about endless amounts of zucchini-based meals
- Feelings of overwhelm associated with green, oblong veggies
- Neighbors and coworkers rejecting your zucchini gifts
So it might not be a diagnosed medical condition, but zucchini overwhelm is definitely a real thing! We have all been there. You said you would only plant a few zucchini plants this year, yet somehow, it happened again: a never-ending supply of zucchini that starts to feel more like a curse than a blessing!
If you find that you or a family member has been afflicted with zucchini overwhelm, fear not! There is a cure! You might have to get creative, but there are ways to put all that zucchini to good use without wasting it! We seriously love zucchini in my house and it’s become a staple in many meals that don’t traditionally feature zucchini. All of the ideas below are quick, easy to make, and delicious!
Ten ways to use zucchini and cure zucchini overwhelm:
Zucchini chips are are easy to make and you can do big batches! Thinly slice zucchini. Toss in olive oil with herbs and seasonings (go light on the salt as it will draw moisture out of the zucchini). Lay the chips in a single layer on dehydrator trays or cookie sheet. If baking, cook on low temp (225 – 250* F) for about 2 hours or until golden brown. If dehydrating, set temp to around 130*F for 10-16 hours (times vary depending on your dehydrator and thickness of zucchini slices).
Zucchini Pizza Bites:
We ate a giant box of zucchini last year using this method. It’s easy to make and delicious – perfect for a quick weeknight dinner! Slice zucchini into 1/4-inch rounds. Lay rounds single-layer on cookie sheet. Top with garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers, cheese, red pepper flakes and any other desired toppings. Broil until cheese is golden brown. Dip into marinara or ranch dressing, if desired.
Forget noodles! If you want to eat pasta as often as I do, zucchini noodles are the way to go! If you have a “zoodle maker” use it to spiralize your zucchini. Otherwise, get out a vegetable peeler and make your own zoodles! To prepare the zucchini noodles, simply toss them in a oiled skillet until warmed, about 3-5 minutes. Drain off excess moisture then top with your favorite pasta toppings!
Looking for a creative way to get your family to eat more veggies? You can use zucchini in your favorite chili recipe! Simply dice up zucchini and use it in addition to beans (or as a replacement) for the beans. Avoid overcooking the zucchini so that it maintains a firmer texture.
Fire up the grill! There is something absolutely delicious about grilled zucchini! Slice the zucchini into rounds. Skewer zucchini along with onion, garlic, peppers and tomatoes. Brush with olive oil and season with Italian herbs. Grill until tender.
Who doesn’t love nachos? This is an awesome (and healthier!) substitute that the whole family will love! Slice zucchini into thin rounds. Place the rounds single layer on a cookie sheet. Top with cheese, beans, onions, jalapeños and chili powder. Broil until cheese is golden brown. Top with salsa and avocado!
More zucchini than you can use now? Freeze it for later! You can slice it, dice it, or shred it! Blanch the zucchini in boiling water for 1-3 minutes, until slightly softened. Remove from boiling water and place in ice bath for about 5 minutes to cool. Allow the zucchini to drain well. I like to wrap it in cheesecloth and gently squeeze the extra liquid out. If you are using zucchini rounds or slices, I suggest flash-freezing it by placing it on a cookie sheet (single layer) in the freezer for about an hour. Freeze zucchini in mason jars or other freezer-safe container.
Zucchini Lasagna Soup:
I get requests for this recipe often! It’s seriously delicious and so much easier to make than traditional lasagna. And it’s low carb, so you can eat it all… right?! Slice zucchini length-wise into thin strips (1/4 inch thick or less). In oven-safe pot, combine zucchini slices, marinara/crushed tomatoes, garlic, onion, cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, and shredded mozzarella. Bake at 350*F for 30-45 minutes, or until completely heated through. This also works well in a crockpot. (I usually don’t measure when cooking, so I don’t have great measurements for this recipe – just do what tastes good to you!)
It’s just like coleslaw but with zucchini instead of cabbage. Oh, and it’s delicious on fish tacos! Again, I rarely measure when I cook, so adjust the recipe to fit your tastes! Grate a large zucchini using a cheese grater. Dice small onion (about 1/4 cup). Combine onion and zucchini. Add about 3 tablespoons of mayo (or substitute plain yogurt), 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some sugar, honey or maple syrup to slightly sweeten the coleslaw. Mix all ingredients until well combined.
Did you know that you can substitute zucchini for chickpeas to make a dang tasty hummus? To make zucchini hummus, dice a large zucchini and add to a food processor, along with 2-4 cloves garlic, tahini (about 1/4 cup), and lemon juice (about 1/4 cup). Add salt, pepper and cumin to taste. Blend it all up! You can add a teaspoon or two of olive oil if it needs to be smoother, but I’ve found that usually the zucchini supplies plenty of moisture. Depending on the size of your zucchini, you may want to adjust ingredients amounts. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of paprika.
We’d love to hear the creative ways that you use zucchini in your home! Share in the comments below!