Gardening is a fun activity that can also put food on the table. However, what happens when your garden is overflowing and you don’t want anything to go to waste? Zucchini is a notoriously fruitful vegetable, but you and your neighbors can get overwhelmed quickly.
Don’t let your homegrown zucchini go to waste — we’ve compiled both interesting new recipes and storage methods you can try to reduce food waste at home. Here are 10 creative ways to use up all that extra zucchini.
1. Zucchini-Pecorino Puree With Roasted Salmon
This recipe is an excellent way to use your zucchini. Salmon is a healthy option containing key nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also rich in calcium. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week.
This dish is relatively easy to make using a blender and is a perfect meal for a colder winter day. It sounds fancier than it is, which is also a great way to impress guests who might otherwise be resistant to taking on your excess zucchini.
2. Corn and Zucchini Chowder
Ever tried converting your zucchini into soup? It’s a great, freezable solution for nearly any leftover veggies. This dish features bacon, potatoes, garlic and bacon — which you can easily omit for a vegetarian or vegan rendition.
Chowder can also be completed in one pot, which makes for an easy clean-up when you’re done preparing your meal.
Recipe: Zucchini Corn Chowder
3. Grilled Zucchini Salad
Salads are an excellent option when you’re in the mood for something light. All you need to do is grill the zucchini and add your favorite toppings. Using the grill adds a smokiness that will really help your zucchini shine on the plate.
Consider using pine nuts or pea tendrils to complement the zucchini. You can also add seasonings, such as red chili flakes or lemon zest. It should take around 10 minutes to grill the zucchini.
Recipe: Grilled Zucchini Salad
4. Zucchini Bread
This is an excellent recipe that can nicely complement your main dish. You can even have it for dessert or a midday snack or give a loaf to a new neighbor. Mix in sweet prunes and buttery walnuts to provide a satisfying flavor.
Another good option is to add some dried fruit, such as raisins or cranberries. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature.
Recipe: Zucchini Bread
5. Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles)
Remember the zoodle craze? Spiralized vegetables might not be as on-trend in 2021, but they’re still an extremely easy and reliable dinner option when you have an overabundance of zucchini. You will need a spiralizer or mandolin to effectively make zucchini noodles.
Add in some Parmesan, lemon and mint for a more flavorful dish. It will take around 1-2 minutes to cook the pasta, depending on its shape. With a quicker prep time, zucchini pasta is the perfect dinner for those busy nights. Plus, if you can’t eat it all in one night, you can warm it for lunch the next day.
Recipe: How to Cook Zucchini Noodles
6. Zucchini Noodles With Shrimp and Almond-Herb Pesto
Ready for more zoodle recommendations? If you like seafood and pasta, this is an excellent way to use up some of your zucchini. The shrimp is low in calories and rich in vitamins, such as selenium. Selenium is a mineral that can help to reduce inflammation and improve heart health.
Also, this dish is an easy way to get your whole family eating healthy. It’s a light meal you can consume before a busy night of activities.
7. Zucchini and Chicken Skewers
This dish combines your daily protein and vegetable intake, so you can just make one meal instead of having multiple sides. You can also substitute the chicken for any kind of meat, seafood, or supplementary vegetables.
Also, consider adding some soy sauce and onions to enrich the flavor. This recipe is perfect for summer barbecues. It also allows you to showcase your gardening skills to friends and family.
8. Zucchini Muffins
These are perfect for on-the-go breakfasts and snacks. Zucchini muffins are also a fun way to encourage your kids to eat healthier since they use less oil than traditional muffins.
Consider combining the zucchini with other ingredients for a tasty treat. Chocolate chips or bananas are good options. Also, zucchini freezes well, so you can make a larger muffin batch and keep them on hand.
Did you end up with some of your zucchini going bad? Or maybe you’re not sure what to do with scraps? Adding excess zucchini to your compost pile can be an eco-friendly way to dispose of it. Composting is a natural way to recycle organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps. Gardeners can then use it to fertilize and improve the soil — it’s an ongoing cycle!
To get started, create a pile of organic material inside a container. You may also want to add a small amount of garden soil. Once the pile turns dark brown, it has become compost.
10. Freeze It
Of course, there’s more you can do than cook your vegetables immediately. If you aren’t quite ready to consume the zucchini, you can always freeze it. You just want to take some steps to get the produce ready for cold storage.
Before you put the zucchini inside the freezer, you’ll want to shred it and divide it into freezer bags. Keep in mind that the best-quality zucchini will last around 12 months inside the freezer, so try out one of the many recipes above before the year is up.
How to Save Your Zucchini
Zucchini can be a fun and nutritious vegetable to grow — but it can produce a lot more than you first expect when you start your garden. Try these creative ways to use it up if you find yourself with a number crop.
Evelyn Long is the editor-in-chief of Renovated. She writes about gardening and green home improvement for homeowners and renters who want to embrace eco-friendly living.
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