Healthy, easy, and tasty Zucchini

I am super jealous of anyone who has the ability and time to garden. I love the idea of growing my own fruits and vegetables and having that bounty at my disposal. However, we are gone too often during the spring and summer to make that possible. We are also overridden with squirrels and children at my house, which I feel would be a detriment to the healthy growth of a garden. Lastly, I do not need another thing at my house that requires my constant care and attention. I already feel a little strapped as it is. That being said, my mom gave me two enormous zucchini from her garden. I am not kidding when I say enormous. These guys were grown without any pesticides—Amazing! Anyway, she gave them to me last week and they just sat on my counter. After a few days, it felt like they were watching me. I really needed to do something with them, especially after I caught my son carrying one into his playroom. Personally, I love vegetables, but my son and husband are a completely different story so I really needed a few fun ideas so I didn’t have to eat these giant zucchini all on my own.

Meghan's son shows off the super-sized zucchinis from his grandma's garden.

Meghan’s son shows off the super-sized zucchinis from his grandma’s garden.

Zucchini zestBefore starting any of the following recipes, I took my mom’s advice and used a lemon zester on the skin of the zucchini. She commented on the toughness of the skin and presumed it was from the size of the zucchini. A bonus to doing this is that I froze the skins to add into my smoothies. The best way is to flash-freeze them is to first lay wax paper on a baking sheet or any flat surface (I’ve used a magazine before) and then place the zucchini on it. Put it in the freezer for an hour and then remove and place in a zip-top freezer bag. This will allow the zucchini to freeze without sticking together in one giant clump.

With some of the leftover zucchini, I’ll cut it into chunks to use in soups and other recipes throughout the year. I found the following tutorial to be extremely helpful.

I didn’t realize you should blanch the zucchini before freezing it. Again, I’ll flash-freeze first, and then completely freeze in a freezer bag.

The first recipe I saw were Oven-Fried Zucchini Sticks from Eating Well. I didn’t have any cornmeal so I used Panko breadcrumbs instead. I also used one whole egg instead of 2 egg whites. These turned out really good, plus my son had a blast shaking them up in the bag. Make sure to follow the directions when it says, “serve warm.” (I tried one after they had completely cooled and it wasn’t very good.) Often we get Jets pizza for dinner on Sunday evenings and this would be so good with that. I could prep them ahead of time then put them in the oven at the same time the pizza is ordered and they would be done in perfect time.

Sha-sha-shaking the zucchini sticks.

Sha-sha-shaking the zucchini sticks.

The next recipe is called Mary’s Zucchini with Parmesan. This is another super quick and easy recipe from Eating Well. I would slice mine a tad thicker as I like them a little on the crunchy side once cooked. All in all, really good!

And finally, I headed over to Parenting Magazine’s website and snagged their Chocolate Zucchini Muffin recipe. These look so yummy and I’m pretty sure the chocolate will distract from the taste of the zucchini. I can’t wait to make these. The recipe calls for buttermilk, but since I don’t usually have any on hand, I will make my own by combining one cup of regular milk with a tablespoon of white vinegar. It needs to stand for about 5 minutes or so then it’s ready to use in my recipe.

I hope you get some zucchini soon from the store or local farmers’ market and tackle some of these fun recipes. You can visit my Pinterest board for more ideas at

Zucchini is a versatile vegetable that can be added to a variety of different meals. You can spice up salads, add it into meatloaf or muffins or serve it as an amazing side dish. I’m looking forward to making Zucchini Banana Coconut Bread and Grilled Zucchini Pizzas. If you’re not ready to try any of these recipes right now then freeze the zucchini for later. Anything is better than letting it sit on your counter!

About Meghan Zeile

Mom-in-the-know and local writer for Rochester Media. Always looking for tips with kids, family life, and fun local adventures. Contact at

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