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4 Easy Zucchini Recipes

Updated on August 12, 2013

One summer many years ago, we children were called to the dinner table only to be greeted with a platter of fried – what is that? we wondered.

Fish, my dad said. I don’t remember what kind he said it was, if he even did. No matter, we all dug in, hungry from playing outside. It was only after the platter was empty that he told us the truth – we had eaten fried zucchini.

Zucchini?! What is that?

Since then, of course, I’ve eaten zucchini many times and had it served many different ways. Zucchini is a versatile – and prolific – vegetable. One zucchini plant can produce as many as 30 zucchini.

A few months ago, my husband and I were discussing which vegetables to plant for the summer. We don’t have a big yard so we wanted just a few we could put in containers. We agreed on tomatoes and green beans but when he suggested a couple zucchini plants, I burst out laughing. I asked him how well he liked zucchini and how often he wanted to eat it. “Remember, there’s only two of us here,” I told him. With a reminder that there would come a day when we wouldn’t even be able to give them away, he agreed that planting zucchini probably wasn’t a good idea for us.

Summer squash from La Vista Farm
Summer squash from La Vista Farm | Source

Health Benefits of Zucchini

Choose zucchini that is firm. Skin colors range from almost black, dark green, pale green, pale green with grey, and yellow.

Zucchini contains a lot of water (about 95 percent of it is made up of water), which makes it low in calories – only about 13 calories per each half-cup uncooked “zukes.” It’s a good source of vitamin C, betacarotene and potassium. Betacarotene becomes vitamin A, which helps your eyes adjust to light changes when you come in from outside and helps keep eyes, skin and mucous membranes moist. Vitamin C helps heal wounds, prevents cell damage, promotes healthy gums and teeth, and strengthens the immune system. Potassium is an electrolyte and is critical to maintaining a person’s heartbeat. It also plays a major role in maintaining water balance (with sodium) and cell integrity.

If not harvested frequently, zucchini can grow out of control
If not harvested frequently, zucchini can grow out of control | Source



Zucchini, like other summer squash, comes on fast and furious once the plant begins to bloom. As with many fruits and vegetables (and other things in life), bigger is not always better. If the squash is left to grow too long, it gets tough, so pick them when they are between 5 and 8 inches long. At that size, zucchini won’t need to be peeled, as the skin will still be tender.

Squash flowers can also be eaten
Squash flowers can also be eaten | Source

Zucchini Fun Facts

  • The flower of the zucchini plant is also edible

  • The world’s largest zucchini on record was 69.5 inches long, and weighed 65 lbs. Credit Bernard Lavery of Plymouth Devon, UK, with that feat

  • A zucchini has more potassium than a banana

  • The word zucchini comes from ‘zucca’ the Italian word for squash

  • Zucchini Fests are held from California to Ohio to Florida and include events such as cook-a-zuke contests, pageants and zucchini carving.

  • Zucchini is so prolific in gardens that some people in Pennsylvania have designated August 8 as the official “Sneak a Zucchini onto your Neighbor’s Porch” night

How to Prepare Zucchini

Store zucchini in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Some people advise freezing zucchini but with its high water content, I can’t imagine it holding up well. One pound will give you about four cups grated zucchini. If you do want to give freezing it a try, slice the squash in 1-inch pieces, blanch in boiling water for about three minutes, then place in freezer-safe containers.

Zucchini can be eaten raw in salads or on vegetable trays. It is excellent with dip. They’re good in stir-fry, grilled, steamed or (how we usually cook it) battered and fried. Zucchini are often grated and added to breads and muffins – it’s a great way to sneak in some veggies without your family realizing it.

For information on how to pick, store, preserve and prepare vegetables from any season throughout the year, pick up a copy of From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce. This book is published by the Madison (WI) Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition. It's a perennial favorite of CSAs, including La Vista.

If your neighbors hide when they see you coming up the walk with zucchini in hand, try the recipes below. The bread and cookies can be frozen for later (or shared and enjoyed now); the tuna cakes are good for a light dinner.

Each recipe calls for squeezing the grated zucchini to remove excess water. I actually do this once after the zucchini has been grated and then again when I get ready to mix everything together just because I want to make sure there isn’t too much moisture.


Combine zucchini, baking soda, sugar and margarine. Beat in egg. Stir together flour, spices and salt. Combine creamed mixture with flour mixture. Add nuts and or raisins if using. Chill dough at least 2 hours. Drop by teaspoonsful onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 375 degrees 12-15 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.

Zucchini Cookies

1 c. finely grated zucchini, squeezed thoroughly

1 tsp. baking soda

1 c. sugar

½ c. margarine

1 egg, beaten

2 c. flour

½ tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

1 c. raisins (optional)

***********************************************

Mix all ingredients and shape into patties. Fry in 2 T oil until cooked through. Drain on paper towels. Serve on a bun or as open-faced sandwiches on bread or English muffin. Top with dollop of mayonnaise, sliced tomato and lettuce. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Summer Tuna Cakes (a.k.a. Poor Man's Crab Cakes)

1 medium zucchini, finely grated, squeeze out all the liquid

2- 6-1/2 oz. cans of tuna

1-1/2 c. bread crumbs (3 slices of bread, torn into small pieces)

1 egg

2 tsp. grated onion

1 tsp. lemon juice

salt & pepper


dash of Tabasco sauce (optional)

***************************************

Generously grease and flour a 12-inch fluted tube pan. In large bowl, combine all cake ingredients and beat on high 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 60-70 minutes. Cool upright in pan 30 minutes. Then invert the cake onto a plate. Drizzle the glaze over the cake.

Note: Years ago, Pillsbury used to make a boxed coconut pecan frosting mix. Although they no longer do, here’s a substitute for it:

1 c. sweetened flaked coconut

¾ c. brown sugar, firmly packed

½ c. flour

½ c chopped pecans

3 T margarine

In medium bowl, combine coconut, brown sugar, flour, and pecans. Mix well. Using a fork or pastry blender, cut in margarine.

Zucchini Cake

Cake:

1 pkg. coconut pecan frosting mix (see note)

2-1/2 cups flour

¼ tsp. baking powder

1-1/4 c. sugar

2 c. shredded zucchini, thoroughly squeezed

1 T cinnamon

1 c. cooking oil

1 tsp. salt

1 T vanilla

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 T. vanilla

3 eggs

Glaze

1-1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 T. soft butter or margarine

1-1/2 – 2 T milk.

Combine ingredients and blend until smooth.

*************************************************

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour, a third at a time. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg and mix. Fold in the nuts and dried cranberries or raisins if using.

Divide the batter equally between 2 buttered 5 by 9 inch loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour (check for doneness at 50 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

Makes 2 loaves.

Zucchini Bread

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups grated fresh zucchini, thoroughly squeezed

2/3 cup melted unsalted butter

2 teaspoons baking soda

Pinch salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

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    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 2 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Marilyn,

      I wouldn't freeze zucchini raw. Zucchini has a lot of water, which is why the water needs to be squeezed out before you add it to a recipe. If it's frozen, it's going to turn mushy. Really the only way to freeze zucchini is if it's cooked in a bread or cookies, etc.

      Hope that answers your question.

    • profile image

      Marilyn Flyte 2 years ago

      Just found this and don't know how to sign up so may lose it. Just planted a lot of zucchini with the idea of freezing it sine family loves it so much. Now read that it is not recommended? Could I get an update on that from someone, please. Thanks.

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Dee. Let me know how the cake turns outs.

      truthfornow, the tuna cakes appealed to me for my husband because of the added zucchini. I figured it was the only way I could get him to eat some. It's still the only way he'll eat it!

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I love zucchini. It tastes so good in all ways. I used to eat zucchini bread all the time, so thanks for that recipe. I ate tuna patties all the time as a child, sort of like your recipe for tuna cakes and like the idea of adding the zucchini.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks sister, I'm making all of it except the cookies! :) UP/U/I and sharing.

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Seafarer Mama. You sound pretty experienced cooking up zucchini so I'm glad you found something new here to try. I hope you like them.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 4 years ago from New England

      Growing up in an Italian family, I often ate zucchni, along with other summer squash, sauteed in olive oil and Italian seasonings. I have also baked and eaten zucchini bread. Yum! Can't wait to do this again this summer. Thank you for the recipes. Will definitely try those tuna cakes!

      Voted up, up, up...:0)

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi LongTime Mother. I hadn't heard that zucchini was good for healing broken bones but good luck with that! And thanks for reading.

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi RTalloni - Adding pineapple does sound interesting. If you ever try it and recall this hub, I wouldn't mind hearing how that tasted. Thanks for sharing!

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Denise - This is a good cake but I haven't made it for a long time. Let me know how that frosting substitution works out.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 4 years ago from Australia

      What a brilliant hub! I am currently cooking lots of zucchini because it is one of the foods good for healing broken bones - and I am eager for my husband to be back on his feet, lol. You've just given me lots of ideas for making his life a little more interesting. :)

      Thank you!!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Four courses of zucchini--lovely! :) Thanks for these recipes. I'm definitely looking forward to using them this summer. Today a lady told me about adding pineapple to zucchini bread. Sounds interesting. Pinning this to Ways w/ Food: Fruits/Veggies.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi, I just revisited this hub to get the recipe for the cake. I'm bringing it over to Marty's on the 4th. YUM! I haven't had this one for quite some time.

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks GoodLady, I hope you enjoy it.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Wow! What a wonderful Hub. I love your recipes and photos. I think I'll make the summer tuna cakes today. We have so many zucchini here.

      Thanks so much!

      I'm going to pin it, so I don't lose it!

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Thelma thanks for stopping by and reading. I hope you enjoy the bread.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 6 years ago from Germany

      Sounds tasty. I will try the Zucchini bread. Very informative as I did not know that it can be eaten raw. Thanks for sharing.

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Movie Master, thanks for reading and commenting. When I was looking up some of the info for this hub, I came across the term courgettes. Hope you like the recipes.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love Zucchini, we call them courgettes here in the UK.

      I grow them in my garden.

      I have never tried Zucchini cake or bread so am looking forward to trying the recipes.

      Many thanks for sharing great information and recipes.

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for reading and commenting, inotherwords.

    • Inotherwords profile image

      Inotherwords 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Zucchini bread is my favorite! I can't wait to try some of your recipes!

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      @Cara - so glad the kids are getting a good foundation in fresh fruits & veggies and other healthy eating habits. Bravo to you and your sister.

      @Deb -- Thanks for the compliment regarding the layout. I wrote a 3rd hub in this series for new hubbers on adding visual interest. Look under the section marked Adding a sidebar. Holler if you have questions and I'll be happy to help you with anything.

    • DebSimmons profile image

      DebSimmons 6 years ago from Campbell

      Great article and a very tricky dad!! :-) I like the way these recipes are laid out... how did you do that??

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Yummy yummy! I'm sure that we have tons of zucchini growing at the farm but I haven't been up there yet to get it. I will definitely be trying those recipes. I love all things zucchini and so so the kids. I have a recipe for chocolate zucchini cake and it is delicious. I have never had zucchini flowers but have always wanted to try them. Nice job!

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks HBN, you always write such thoughtful comments and I very much appreciate them.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      What a wonderful, fun hub packed with lots of information about growing, harvesting and eating zucchini. I loved the story about how your Dad tricked you and your siblings into eating the fried zucchini, and I loved the yummy looking photos.

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Alicia, glad to hear you were inspired to make some bread.Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the recipes, Danette, especially the recipe for the zucchini bread, which I'm looking forward to making. I haven't eaten zucchini for quite a long time, but your hub has persuaded me to try it again.

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Husky, I agree with Denise, you can be the HP Master Chef.

      Thank you europewalker, Christin and Maralexa for reading and commenting. Christin, anything with chocolate is a hit with me!

      Dee - yes, re-read that hub. :)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL That's a great goal, Husky.

      Danette-I recall that 'trick' dad used on us. I loved your hub and voted it up and all across including funny cuz of the family story. :)

      Info was interesting-I also did not know about the potassium content being greater than a banana.

      Well, I did buy all of the ingredients, however...may not get it done this w/e. I'll let you know.

      How do you do the 'blue' side bar again? I forgot...oh yeah, I can look at your other hub explanation, LOL

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 6 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

      That is a great post. and so refreshing! Thanks for the recipies and the tips in how to store zucchini and those things made from it. I voted you up and interesting because it was such a pleasure to read.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 6 years ago from Midwest

      awesome hub. I didn't know zucchini had more potassium than bananas - cool tip. I am going to try this cake recipe also. My mother makes a chocolate zucchini cake that is always a hit too and I love zucchini bread!

    • europewalker profile image

      europewalker 6 years ago

      I love zucchini muffins, will have to give the zucchini bread recipe a try. Helpful hub!

    • profile image

      Husky1970 6 years ago

      These recipes sound great. I am going to print your hub and give it to my wife. Or, on second thought, maybe I ought to make something myself. I can be the HubPages Chef. Voted up and useful.