This is a guest post from my wife. I could not have written this — I hate zucchini.

Ah, summer. Or, as it’s sometimes known, zucchini season.

If you were one of those brave souls that planted zucchini this year, it’s about to start exploding. Or perhaps where you live, it’s already mid-explosion! It’s time to start finding ways to use all that produce.

Fresh zucchini is great when grilled with a bit of olive oil and garlic salt, or sliced in pasta salads, or eaten raw with hummus or salsa. For these uses, pick zucchini (also known as courgettes) when they are still small, less than eight inches long.

Eventually your palate will crave variety, or one green monster will get away from you and grow too large for eating on its own. For that, I submit the following recipes. Neither one particularly tastes like zucchini — a plus for vegetable-wary eaters like J.D. — but the shredded squash adds moisture to the finished product. I once tried zucchini brownies, but they were soundly rejected! [J.D.’s note: Zucchini brownies. My brains still boggles that Kris tried to pull that one over on me. What a waste of perfectly good chocolate.]

Zucchini duck! (Not our zucchini…)

The following Pineapple Zucchini Quick Bread recipe makes two loaves, so there’s plenty for payback if someone you know is sharing their zucchini largess with you. Or you can freeze a loaf, covering it in plastic wrap and then a layer or foil. I recently noticed that due to a store sale and a coupon, I could get pineapple chunks for half the unit cost of crushed pineapple. I bought the chunks (six cans — the limit) and, as needed, just give them a whirl in the food processor so I can use them in recipes.

Pineapple Zucchini Quick Bread

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup crushed canned pineapple, well-drained
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins or chopped nut of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix wet ingredients together in a large bowl. Sift together dry ingredients then add to wet mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in optional nuts and/or raisins.

Pour into two greased loaf pans and bake for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Next, these Zucchini Basil Summer Muffins are a nice lunch accompaniment to a bowl of summer gazpacho or a garden salad. When my zucchini and basil are plentiful, I’ll freeze a couple batches of these muffins for fall soup dinners. [J.D.’s note: I’ll begrudgingly admit I like these.]

Zucchini Basil Summer Muffins

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, minced (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and prepare 10 muffin cups. In a medium bowl, beat eggs lightly and stir in milk and oil. Combine dry ingredients and stir in to egg mixture until flour is just moistened. Gently fold in zucchini and basil.
Fill muffin cups ¾ full and top with cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Makes ten muffins.

For either recipe, you can substitute up to half the flour with whole wheat flour. For the first recipe (the bread), I also have a note that 1/2 cup of applesauce can be substituted for half the oil, but I haven’t tried this lighter variation.

What do you do with all the extra zucchini in your garden?

Photo of zucchini plant by Leeks ‘n’ Bounds. Photo of zucchini duck by Alex Gee.