Zucchini and Summer Squash

All About Zucchini and Summer Squash
Featured Recipe: Zucchini Gratin
More Ideas for Zucchini and Summer Squash

All About Zucchini and Summer Squash

Summer squash are a type of squash that have tender, edible skin.  Summer squash comes in many shapes and sizes.  You've probably already seen zucchini, yellow squash, and pattypan squash in your share over the past few weeks.

Choosing: Select firm squash (check the stem end).  Choose the smallest squash or zucchini available.  Ideally (though they won't always be). the squash should be no more than 6-8 inches long and 1-2 inches across.

Storing: Summer squash and zucchini should be stored unwashed, in a plastic bag, in your crisper drawer.  The bag opening should be loose, not sealed.

Freezing: To freeze summer squash or zucchini, blanch chunks or slices first in unsalted water to prevent it from becoming mushy.  Lay out the blanched pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze before transferring to air-tight bags or containers.  You can skip the step of freezing on the baking sheet, but your pieces are more likely to stick together.

Pickling: You can also make zucchini pickles, with dill or not.


– Betsy Pollack

Zucchini Gratin

This makes a light summer lunch or side dish.  Don't skip the step of salting and draining the grated zucchini or your gratin might be a bit watery.

Serves 2-3 as a main dish, 4-6 as a side.
2 lbs zucchini, coarsely grated
Kosher salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 to 4 Tbsp slivered fresh basil
2 eggs, beaten
2 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Grease a 2-quart baking dish with oil.

Toss the zucchini with salt and let it sit in a colander in the sink for 15 to 30 minutes to draw out the liquid.  Rinse and gently squeeze out the moisture.

Heat 1 tablespoon  of oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and add zucchini, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, until the zucchini is starting to cook through.  Add the garlic, and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.   Stir in the parsley and basil and remove from the heat.

Beat the eggs and goat cheese together with a fork.  Stir in the zucchini.  Adjust seasonings, and transfer the mixture to the prepared dish.  Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned and mixture is sizzling. 

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Betsy Pollack is a LexFarm board member with a passion for cooking.  She tries to eat as mindfully as possible, thinking about where food comes from, geographically and otherwise, eating seasonally, and supporting local agriculture.

More Ideas for Zucchini and Summer Squash

Note that for most of these recipes, different varieties of summer squash can be used interchangeably, based on what you have on-hand.

Try a simple pureed zucchini soup with not much more than zucchini and broth.

Here's another simple zucchini soup that also uses cilantro from your share

Use summer squash and add some buttermilk for this one.  Though this recipe is vegetarian, you could also use chicken broth, homemade if you have it.

Make a cream of zucchini soup.  You could substitute other mild onions for the leeks.

Vary the spices and go around the world.  Enjoy a taste of India, Greece (avgolemono), Mexico, or France.

Add shredded zucchini and herbs to linguine
Add zucchini, tomatoes, and ricotta to orecchiette
Add a mixture of summer squash to penne.

The umami of anchovies add depth to sliced zucchini added to pappardelle or grated zucchini added to spaghetti.

Make "noodles" out of the zucchini!

Revisit the primavera pizza we suggested when peas were in season.  Now, use green beans and summer squash.

You can grill your pizza. add goat cheese (you could use red onion or cherry tomatoes in place of red pepper), add zucchini to the crust, use zucchini rounds for the crust of bite-size pizzas, or top with romesco sauce to make it vegan.

Other Entrees
From the blog Almost Turkish, there is a whole category devoted to zucchini. Some include meat, others meatless. Fried, stuffed, stewed, baked.  The zucchini Borek (Turkish name for what we usually call spanakopita) looks beautiful and delicious.

Try a tart inspired by lasagna, but without the noodles, or a zucchini, onion and ricotta pie with a simple breadcrumb crust.

Along with tomatoes and eggplant, roast zucchini in a ratatouille tian.  You can arrange leftovers in a pre-baked pastry shell, sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese, and heat in the oven for a delicious savory tart.

Add zucchini to curry like this green curry with chicken or this red curry with shrimp.  Try making your own curry paste: green or red.

Layer zucchini with lasagna noodles and a feta sauce for a Croatian musaka.

Stuff them and top with cheese or a peanut sauce.

Make zucchini parmesan (instead of eggplant).  For less fuss, you could roast the zucchini slices tossed in olive oil instead of breading and frying them.

Add zucchini chunks to kebabs and grill

Add to a falafel like patty and make a pita sandwich.

Make black bean & zucchini quesadillas.

Add grilled zucchini or squash to a grain-based salad, like these quinoa salads.  This one is a composed salad that could be served as a meal, like an abundance bowl, and this one is more of a side salad.

Don't forget about slawThis recipe offers two different dressings, a creamy one or a sweet and tart one.  This one coats the zucchini with chipotle and sour cream where the slaw is part of a chicken sandwich.

Spice up a salad made from zucchini ribbons with lime juice and red chile.
Side Dishes
Stew zucchini or summer squash in olive oil with chard and cherry tomatoes or with anchovies and capers.

Layer summer squash with breadcrumbs for a gratin topped with a vibrant salsa verde.

Miscellaneous Savory Uses
Try zucchini frittersThese are served like latkes, and these get dipped in a delicious soy-based sauce.

You could cook the zucchini down until it's like a jam.  You can spread the resulting zucchini butter on toast, make it into a sandwich with salted tomatoes or soft cheese, use it as a pizza sauce, or eat it as a side dish.

Baked Goods
There's the common solution to too-much-zucchini: zucchini bread.  Get creative and customize zucchini bread to invent your own signature recipe.  Or, if you don't feel like being creative, this amped-up version with crystallized ginger, lemon, and poppy seeds looks wonderful.

For a savory twist on zucchini bread, try this quick bread or this yeasted one.

For dessert, there's zucchini cake with chocolate or a lemon crunch glaze.  Or you could make cupcakes: with chocolate, without, or with zucchini frosting!

If this isn't enough, here are more ideas for summer squash from Food & Wine, Martha Stewart, The Kitchn, Sunset, and Mark Bittman.

Compiled by Jackie Starr & Betsy Pollack