How to Use a Surplus of Zucchini

July 26, 2014

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.  

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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

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Sofia
  • An Italian in my kitchen
    An Italian in my kitchen
  • cucina di mammina
    cucina di mammina
  • Kukla
  • Susan
Student, aimless wanderer of grocery store aisles, almond butter's number one fan.


Sofia June 8, 2016
I like to slice it up, dip it in eggs, coat it in a mixture of seasoned breadcrumbs and parmesan, then fry it in a skillet.
An I. August 10, 2015
I have a delicious grilled zucchini double cheese bake on my blog. Thanks
cucina D. June 30, 2015
i use zucchini grated into frittatas, risotto and salads but one of my famiglias' favorites is a roman fried zucchini with grated parmigiano... recipe coming soon to my blog at and onFOOD52 :)
Kukla August 13, 2014
I never get tiered of incorporating Zucchini and other squashes in savory or sweet dishes and especially I love mixing them with other vegetables, fruit or cheeses in latkes, pancakes or baked dishes.
Susan July 31, 2014
Besides all these great ideas, remember that shredded zucchini dried beautifully. Simply shred, spread on your dehydrator trays, and then once thoroughly dried put away for later use: in casseroles, bread, muffins, soups, stews, etc. Adding dried zucchini shreds to any cooked dish is a terrific way to sneak vegetables into a produce-phobe's diet.
Matt L. July 29, 2014
It also makes a lovely and light version of carbonara. You can leave out the cream and the cheese you would normally have in carbonara. Simply mix egg yolks, olive oil and some grated courgette (zucchini) which you have lightly cooked in olive oil with garlic and salt/black pepper. Then toss the hot pasta through this - totally delicous.
Robert B. July 28, 2014
We love this online recipe for sweet zucchini relish (although there are many others):

It has replaced Heinz pickle relish entirely in our pantry. Swap out zucchini and yellow squash interchangeably as you have available.
Katelinlee July 28, 2014
I like this Martha recipe for zucchini parmesan bread:

I add a variety of cheeses (a sprinkle of orange cheddar looks nice), and a handful of chopped herbs.
Bri L. July 28, 2014
Deb Perelman's ricotta and zucchini galette. Simultaneously rich and fresh, rustic and elegant.
Katelinlee July 28, 2014
That's a winner.
Carol P. July 28, 2014
Poor man's crabcakes :)
M July 28, 2014
chocolate zucchini cake - yum!
Debra A. July 27, 2014
I love zucchini breads! I always share bread with family & friends when I make it. I make several loaves for that reason. But seeing some of these other I need to try some of them! Thanks for sharing!
Amanda P. July 27, 2014
I'm a bit in love with everything squash from summer to winter, which is why I just so happened to write a book all about it :) Smitten with Squash ( has tons of recipes for this lovely vegetable including these Summer Squash Peach Kisses that are one of my favorites from the book:

I'd love to send your team a copy of the book - is there someone I could address it to?
mrslarkin July 27, 2014
zucchini scones are awesome!!
An I. July 27, 2014
How about trying a delicious zucchini risotto?
Martin July 27, 2014
Penne aux courgettes! Sliçe zucchinis, not too slim, melt them 10 minutes in olive oil. Add cream, parmigiano and black pepper. Pour over pasta. Delicieux!
Dan F. July 27, 2014
make ribbons with a vegetable peeler (discard the spongy cores), salt, minced shallot (optional), mint, a fresh squeezed lemon make for a refreshing summer salad.
Marylea M. July 27, 2014
Fritters! These were quite tasty...
Brandi July 27, 2014
I use my mother in laws recipe for zucchini relish and it is AMAZING!! Use it in place of any relish or spread it over a layer of cream cheese for an easy dip!! Can be a little time consuming for the canning part, but it well worth it!!
almacucina July 26, 2014
Great ideas all around, thanks! I made Moroccan ratatouille with my surplus zuccs: