Wednesday, August 8, 2012

National Zucchini Day!

Yes - it's finally here!  Today - August 8 - is National Zucchini Day!

I don't make this stuff up folks. says so:  National Zucchini Day

By now, everyone's garden is bursting with these babies.  Let's celebrate with some new ways to eat this versatile veggie.

Grilled Zucchini

This is one of my favorite ways to fix zucchini - probably because it's the easiest.  

Measurements aren't really that important - just enough for how many you're feeding (or make lots and reheat for lunch!)  I try to have an equal amount of each of the veggies below - but go with what you like.

Zucchini - cut into medallions or thick sticks
Yellow Summer Squash - cut into medallions or thick sticks
Green bell peppers - cut into inch-sized chunks
Yellow onion - cut into inch-sized chunks
Olive oil
Sprinkle of Red pepper flakes (more or less for heat)
Sprinkle of Dried oregano
Couple shakes of Garlic Powder
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place the cut up veggies in a large bowl.  Pour enough olive oil over to coat well.  Season with desired seasonings and toss to distribute.  Place in a grilling bowl (here's one similar to the one I have - Grilling skillet) and pop in grill.  Stirring and tossing often, cook until veggies are browned.  Try not to let them get too mushy.

Mix and match any veggies you like or what you have on hand.  I have used yellow and red peppers, sweet and/or hot banana peppers and asparagus - but you can add what you like.  Sometimes I vary the seasonings as well - dried basil instead of oregano, for example.

Zucchini "pasta"

Pasta generally doesn't have a lot of flavor - neither does zucchini - so it is a good, low carb/no grain, substitution.  Here are a few of ways to make your "noodles".

1.  Use a veggie peeler.  Simply make long strokes with your peeler.  This will make rather thin noodles.
2.  Use a mandolin.  You can made wide strips of varying thicknesses with this - perfect for the last recipe below.  Here is a very economical one that I use:  Mandolin.  It even comes in its own case for easy storage.
3.  Use a julienne peeler - here's one with a protective cover:  Julienne Peeler  Always a good idea not to include fingertips in your meals.  This will make thicker noodles than the veggie peeler.
4.  Use a spiral slicer.  This will make "angel hair" noodles.  I use this one:  Spiral Slicer

Cooking time will vary with the thickness of your "noodles".  The angel hair noodles take only a minute or two in boiling water.  Run under cool water to stop the cooking process and then DRAIN WELL!!  Use your favorite sauce - marinara, alfredo, etc.  You could probably even cook the noodles directly in the sauce and save a pot to wash!

So you try making angel hair noodles and cook them too I did the first time.  You end of up with a mush of cooked zucchini.  Never fear - you can turn that mush into another fine side dish!

Zucchini pancakes/waffles

1 cup leftover zucchini mush (or use shredded zucchini)
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 large egg
1/4 cup almond flour
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like it hot)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together in small bowl.  You can either fry in olive oil on the stove top and make pancakes, or place into a greased waffle iron to make waffles.  If you use the waffle iron - let it sit and cook for a while.  If you open it too soon, you'll split your waffle apart - let the waffle iron do its job!  You can add shredded cheese to this if you'd like.  Experiment with different herbs...dill would be tasty in this.  I usually top with a little butter or a dollop of sour cream.

I haven't tried the following recipe yet...but think I will to celebrate tonight!

Grilled Zucchini Roll-ups
3 small zucchini (about 1/2 pound each), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/16 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 1/2 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 ounces bagged baby spinach (2 cups lightly packed)
1/3 cup basil leaves

Remove the outermost slices of zucchini; brush the rest with oil on both sides. Sprinkle the zucchini slices with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, about 4 minutes per side. You can prepare the zucchini a day ahead and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, parsley, and lemon juice, mashing together with a fork.  Put 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese mixture about 1/2 inch from the end of a zucchini slice. Top with a few spinach leaves and a small (or half of a large) basil leaf. Roll up and place seam side down on a platter. Repeat with remaining zucchini slices. 

You can make these up to a day in advance; store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog! We are still constantly drowning in garden zucchini this time of year. I've taken to chopping it, cooking by roasting/steaming/sauteeing, and dousing it in hot sauce for a regular snack. Also stuffing it into omelets, pasta dishes, baked goods, tacos... all the usual :)

  2. Luckily there are a lot of fabulous cooks out there to come up with inventive ways to serve it. I have more if you're interested!