If you, a friend or a relative has a garden, chances are you are overwhelmed with the amount of zucchini sitting on your counter during the hot summer months. Luckily, summer squash is a really versatile and nutritious vegetable. It can be used for sweet or savory foods and can be raw or cooked. Of course there are tons of recipes for breads, muffins, and roasted zucchini, but let’s be honest – squash season is hot! I wanted to think outside the box and come up with some ideas that don’t involve baking or roasting in your kitchen. Below are some of my favorite ways to use up squash that won’t leave you sweating in the summer.
- Freeze for smoothies. I recently discovered that I can tolerate the taste of veggies in my smoothies as long as I choose the milder flavored ones like zucchini and yellow squash. You can’t even taste them! (Click here for more veggies to hide in your smoothies.) It’s so great for making sugar-free and low carb smoothies. You can toss in raw chunks, but using them frozen gives your smoothie a wonderful texture. To keep them from freezing in a solid block, slice them up and freeze them on a parchment lined baking sheet for 2 hours before storing them in a container or zip top bag. See my recipe for a sugar-free chocolate veggie smoothie here.
- Grill them up. Slice your zucchini into long strips about 1/2 inch thick and coat with avocado oil. Grill until you can see char marks and your zucchini is tender. Then season with salt. Super easy! You can also rub the slices with garlic for extra flavor. I don’t recommend using seasonings before grilling, because they will likely burn before the zucchini gets tender.
- Lettuce-free salad. Who says salads have to have lettuce? I like to slice zucchini in rounds and then cut crosswise again into half-moons and mix with other salad veggies like chickpeas, celery, peppers, olives, tomatoes. Add ranch or a zesty vinaigrette for a refreshing alternative to a lettuce salad.
- No-pasta salad. If you have a favorite pasta salad recipe, you can simply swap raw, diced or spiralized zucchini for the pasta – no boiling required! Spiralized zucchini tossed with pesto and cherry tomatoes would be a fantastic side dish or add in a protein for a main dish.
- Zucchini roll-ups. Using a mandolin slicer, cut long thing sheets of zucchini and roll up thin slices of deli-meat, proscuitto, or goat cheese for a lunch or appetizer.
I’m loving the abundance of zucchini this season! What is your favorite way to use it up?