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How to Use a Surplus of Zucchini

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There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Delicious ways to use up a bushel of zucchini -- one peck at a time.  


If you're not struck by a wave of culinary indecisiveness come mid-summer, you're either an incredibly organized meal planner, or you have yet to experience the onslaught of sweet summer goods at the market. All the best produce seems to hit the stands at the same time, which puts budgets, stomachs, and restraints to the test. You pick up a couple dozen ears of corn one day, a few pounds of tomatoes the next, and soon your counter is overflowing with a harvest's worth of summer fare.

In kimhw's case, it's an overload of zucchini. So kimhw turned to our community for recipes to use up a baseball-bat sized zucchini without a shred going to waste. From bread to soup, here's what to do with too many zukes. 


  • Inpatskitchen, lem monade, and orangina all point to zucchini butter, and for good reason. Cooking down zucchini (and other types of summer squash) in a healthy amount of butter and olive oil reduces large portions of the vegetable down to a manageable amount of a delicious topping. Spread it on toast, layer it with ricotta for a summer crostini, or just eat it plain. 
  • To turn the squash into a substantial meal, stuff it! Pegeen uses zucchini in place of eggplant in a twist on traditional Greek papoutsakia, while Susan W simply scrapes out the seeds of the zucchini, fills it with meat sauce, and bakes it with a topping of cheese. 

More: Have a surplus of a different vegetable? We've got a new column designed to help.

  • QueenSashy points out that zucchini tian recipes typically call for a good amount of the squash to balance out rich rice and cheese.
  • CarrboroGirl proves that soups work well in summer, too. She cooks onion, a few cloves of garlic, and a Parmesan rind along with a pile of chopped zucchini in water to start, then purées the mixture, and tops it with a basil chiffonade and spices for a refreshing zucchini soup.

More: Dust off your stock pot -- here are 8 refreshing soups for summer.

  • Julie and strawberrygirl turn to baking when left with a surplus of squash. From quick bread to chocolate cake, zucchini imparts great texture and moisture to many baked goods.
  • Instead of immediately trying to find a good use for her abundant zucchini, savorthis waits for inspiration to strike, freezing freshly shredded zucchini in muffin tin-formed pucks to save for later.

How are you using zucchini this summer? Join in the conversation over on the Hotline or tell us in the comments! 

Zucchini Tian photo by Karen Mordechai, all other photos by James Ransom

Tags: your burning questions, hotline, zucchini, summer, produce, recipes

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