Zucchini are available year-round in grocery stores, but they’re at their peak right now, when you can find them fresh, local and cheap. Unlike the winter squash coming into markets in the months ahead, zucchini has edible skin and small, soft seeds. Zucchini is a good source of potassium and vitamins C and A, and it’s super low in calories — wins all around.
Zucchini are a multifunctional squash; you can fry them, saute them, use a vegetable peeler to turn zucchini into “pasta ribbons” or even munch on the raw squash. They can take the place of potatoes and pasta if you’re looking to go low-carb, but mostly they’re a delicious and easy addition to any meal. To get all of the moisture out before frying, purge a zucchini as you would an eggplant. Click here to see how to do it.
Stock up at the grocery store or farmers market and use up this squash-of-all-trades in these 25 ways:
- Baked instead of fried, Ellie Krieger’s Zucchini Parmesan Crisps (pictured above) are a light snack or side dish for any occasion.
- Frittatas are great ways to use up whatever is in the fridge. Try the Frittata with Zucchini for any meal of the day, and add in other vegetables hanging around the house.
- Giada makes Fried Zucchini with panko, while Alex Guarnaschelli makes her Fried Zucchini with Italian breadcrumbs. Either way, you’re frying up something delicious.
- Carpaccio is usually an Italian dish of very thinly sliced raw meat or fish. Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos make a vegan version, Zucchini Carpaccio.
- Meatless Monday calls for Zucchini Meatballs, made with zucchini, breadcrumbs, grated Pecorino and smoked scamorza, which is a cow’s milk cheese similar in texture and flavor to mozzarella.
- Paneer is a fresh milk cheese, similar to farmer cheese, popular in South Asia. It requires only two ingredients and is easy to make at home. Toss with some zucchini and spices and serve over rice, and you’ve got Bal Arneson’s Zucchini Paneer.
- Vegetarian Zucchini Chili is a cozy lunch option for these first few fall days. Rachael Ray packs in flavor with some roasted poblano peppers, hot chiles and a bottle of beer.
- For the days that still feel like summer, make Bobby Flay’s light and fresh Zucchini Salad.
- Giada lets her Marinated Zucchini and Summer Squash set overnight in a white-wine-vinegar-based marinade for extra flavor before grilling.
- Sneak vegetables into dessert with Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Pecans.
- Risotto-Stuffed Peppers and Zucchini can be a side dish or a full meal. Use a melon baller or ice cream scoop to easily hollow out the zucchini.
- Turn zucchini into a pasta replacement. Thinly slice zucchini with a mandoline, vegetable peeler or vegetable noodle maker. Try Ellie Krieger’s Zucchini Ribbon Pasta, which adds some zucchini ribbons to whole-wheat pasta, or make an entire meal out of zucchini noodles.
- Frittatas are a great way to use up whatever odds and ends you have in the fridge. Zucchini Frittata is a good place to start, but you can also add other vegetables like tomatoes and eggplants to the mix.
- Healthify your breakfast by skipping the potatoes with Sunny Anderson’s Zucchini Hash.
- Keftedes, Greek fritters, can be made with anything (tomatoes, chickpeas or ground meat). Michael Symon likes Zucchini Fritters with Feta and Dill, topped with a bit of Greek yogurt as a simple appetizer. Be sure to squeeze out all of the liquid from the shredded zucchini for best frying.
- Fall may be upon us, but it’s always warm enough to grill. Shrimp and Zucchini Skewers marinate overnight, but they take only about 5 minutes to go from grill to dinner plate.
- The easiest way to use up the rest of summer’s zucchini is Emeril’s Zucchini and Summer Squash Casserole, which is held together with a few eggs and some cream, making for a hearty side dish.
- Koftas are Middle Eastern meatballs, served either on skewers or with a spicy sauce. Serve Bal Arneson’s vegetarian version, Zucchini and Onion Koftas, with a Traditional Vegetable Curry for a full meal.
- Risotto is often viewed as a difficult dish to make, but it’s really simple. The only hard part is continually stirring the rice while it cooks; add a little bit of water or stock at a time, only adding more when it’s all dried up. Use a short-grain rice like Arborio to make Shrimp and Zucchini Risotto.
- Bobby Deen lightens up potato skins, a traditional (and indulgent) game-day snack. Roasted Zucchini Skins are stuffed with turkey bacon, vegetables and farro, and topped with reduced-fat cheese and a bit of reduced-fat sour cream, which achieves all of the flavors you want from the snack, without the calories.
- End of summer brings green tomatoes, or tomatoes that haven’t fully matured. Although they’re normally fried, try Baked Green Tomatoes and Zucchini for a healthier take on this end-of-summer specialty.
- Grilled Zucchini Rolls with Herbs and Cheese are an easy, crowd-pleasing snack, perfect for everything from the football game to cocktail hour.
- Nadia G’s Zucchini e Patata is a quick, hearty soup, which will warm you up as fall sets in.
- Instead of ordering in, make a fresh batch of Hot and Sour Fresh Noodles with Zucchini. Black rice vinegar, made from black glutinous rice and other grains, is popular in Chinese cuisine and has a smokier flavor than white rice vinegar. You can find it in specialty Asian grocery stores.
- A fresh take on a family favorite, Zucchini Parmesan Subs with Tomatoes and Basil taste just as good as their chicken and eggplant counterparts. Top with some slices of provolone and you’ll have a living room of happy campers come game day.
More 25 Ways: