Originating in France, this traditional dish—once known as a poor man’s food—is the French way to use zucchini along with other delicious summer vegetables. The dish is as satisfying as it is beautiful. Serve it as a side or over pasta, couscous, or rice
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons herbes de provence
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 can petite-diced tomatoes
2 zucchini, sliced thinly
1 yellow summer squash, sliced thinly
1 Roma tomato, sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In a large skillet, combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1½ teaspoons of herbes de provence, 3 of the 4 cloves of garlic, ½ onion, 2 carrots, 1 yellow bell pepper, and salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until soft and fragrant—about 10 minutes.
Add the can of petite-diced tomatoes to the skillet and stir mixture until warm.
Spread a layer of the skillet mixture into an oven-safe baking dish. Layer the slices of zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and red bell pepper over the mixture.
In a small skillet, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1½ teaspoons of herbes de provence, and 1 clove of garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until the garlic is soft and tender—about 5 minutes. Pour this mixture over the sliced vegetable layer in the baking dish.
Bake the ratatouille at 325°F for 2 hours, or until the vegetables are tender and slightly browned.
Yield: 6–8 servings
Total time: 3 hours
Mexican cuisine uses zucchini and zucchini flowers in everything from quesadillas to soups. This fresh salad is a combination of traditional Mexican vegetables and spices, with just a hint of lime. Serve it as a side salad or as a topping on your favorite tacos.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
3½ cups zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ onion, diced
1½ cups frozen whole-kernel corn
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil, spices, salt, and pepper in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, peppers, corn, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp and tender.
Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and the juice from 1 lime. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 4–6 servings
Total time: 20 minutes
Grecians are traditionally known to fry zucchini in olive oil. These fritters will satisfy your cravings for something fried with the tastes of the Mediterranean. Serve them hot or at room temperature, with or without dipping sauces.
1 pound zucchini, grated
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons Italian spices
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
½ cup dried breadcrumbs
1 medium yellow onion, grated
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons flour
freshly ground black pepper to taste
olive oil for frying
Grate and salt zucchini. Transfer to a tea towel; squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Mix zucchini, Italian spices, parsley, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, onions, eggs, and flour in a bowl. Season with pepper and divide mixture into 12 balls. Press balls into ¾”-thick patties.
Pour oil into a 4-quart pot to a depth of 2 inches; cook over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 315° F. Working in two batches, fry patties until browned and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer your fritters to a plate lined with paper towels. Let them drain and cool for 2 minutes, then enjoy.
Yield: 6 servings
Total time: 30 minutes
Zucchini Dessert Pie
In the United States, zucchini is sometimes included in dessert by baking it into pies, muffins, and brownies. This baked zucchini dish is a slight departure from the norm. It’s the summer cousin of pumpkin pie, and though it may have a slight green tint, the flavor more than makes up for the color.
2 cups zucchini, peeled, pureed, and cooked
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup evaporated milk
1 (9-inch) pre-made pie crust
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Peel the zucchini and cut it up into 1-inch chunks. Cook in butter over medium-high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the zucchini is soft and cooked through.
Pour off any excess water from the zucchini (a key step for getting the right texture) and purée in a blender.
Mix zucchini purée and dry ingredients together. Add the evaporated milk and eggs to zucchini mixture. Use a hand mixer to blend well.
Pour into unbaked 9-inch piecrust. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350°F and bake for 40 to 45 minutes longer, or until a knife inserted slightly off center (about half way between the center and edge) comes out clean. The center will still be slightly wobbly.
Let the pie cool and solidify for 2 hours. Serve cold or at room temperature with whipped cream.
Yield: 8 servings
Total time: 3 hours