As summer starts to wind down, zucchini plants are really gearing up! Try some of these creative ways to use zucchini and summer squash and take advantage of this frugal vegetable’s abundance.
By Kristen Smith, Contributing Writer
By the time August rolls around, most zucchini and summer squash plants are in hyper-production mode. With such an abundance, zucchini and summer squash become pretty inexpensive to buy. Some gardeners have so much that they are thrilled to give it away!
There’s even an urban legend that if you leave your cars unlocked at night, you might wake up to random zucchinis inside. I’ve yet to experience this phenomenon, but I’m assured by authorities that it is, in fact, true.
It’s one task to find cheap or free summer squash. It’s another to figure out how to put it all to use!
Creativity often needs to reign when on a budget and trying to feed our families well. I try to creatively use leftover vegetables and think of new ways to bake with sourdough. A surplus of zucchini is just another way to put my creative powers to use in the kitchen.
(And in case you’re wondering, zucchini is a summer squash, but not all summer squash is zucchini. There are all sort of unique varieties of summer squash, but zucchini is specifically the dark green kind.)
And now, on to the ideas! These creative uses for zucchini and summer squash will leave you happily snatching up as many of these frugal veggies as you can.
25 Creative Uses for Zucchini & Summer Squash
Zucchini Fritters by Back To The Book Nutrition
1. Grate it and freeze it in 1-2 cup portions in freezer bags, then use through the year in soups, stews, and baked goods.
2. Slice it and dehydrate it to use in soups, casseroles, and other foods, or season the slices before dehydrating for a snack!
3. Use a spiralizer to make zoodles, or noodles made from zucchini, then serve like regular pasta.
4. You can never go wrong with a basic zucchini bread! There are as many recipes as there are zucchinis in the summer, but I like to make mine with sourdough starter.
5. Make regular zucchini bread more exciting with healthy add-ins and a special topping, like in this recipe.
Yellow Squash Donuts by Little House Living
6. Simply shred the zucchini and add to spaghetti where it will hardly be noticed! You can also add it to many casseroles and stews.
7. Make gazpacho, the chilled blended vegetable soup, and use up a whole zucchini.
8. Instead of making plain cheddar biscuits, try Yellow Squash Cheddar Biscuits.
9. Skip heating up the oven and try a simple skillet casserole, like this Zucchini and Ground Beef Skillet Casserole.
10. Or, make something similar with yellow squash, cooked sausage, and cheddar cheese. You can bake it all together or cook it in a skillet.
Gazpacho by Eat At Home
11. Your children are sure to be thrilled with these Yellow Squash Chocolate Donuts! Zucchini would work instead of yellow squash, too.
12. Slice the zucchini into 1/2 inch slices, then top with pizza sauce, cheese, and other pizza toppings for mini veggie pizzas. Just pop them under the broiler until the cheese lightly browns.
13. You may not believe it, but you can make an excellent mock apple pie or apple crisp with peeled zucchini! Add extra lemon juice and a bit more sugar than you use for apples, like in this recipe. Most people will never know there are no apples in the dessert!
14. Zucchini Fritters work well with both green zucchini and yellow squash. They’re a great side to any meal!
15. Slice the squash or zucchini (peeling is optional), and coat with powdered Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and other seasonings and bake like in this recipe.
Zucchini and Ground Beef Skillet by LiveRenewed
16. Fried zucchini is hard to beat! Dip the slices in flour, then beaten egg, then cornmeal and Parmesan mixture, and fry in a skillet with oil. This is another similar technique.
17. Place leftover fried zucchini in a single layer in a pan, then top with pasta sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese for a type of Zucchini Parmesan!
18. Put the grill to use and make a simple side of grilled zucchini and summer squash. It just takes a bit of oil and seasoning for a tasty veggie side.
19. Use the leftover grilled zucchini and squash in a creamy pasta dish with chicken.
20. Homemade fermented foods are great probiotic sources, and you can ferment zucchini and summer squash for a healthy snack.
Zucchini Goodie (Mock Apple Crisp) by Blessings Overflowing
21. Zucchini Crust Pizza is an incredible way to enjoy homemade pizza and figure out a way to use up 8 cups of shredded zucchini!
22. Like zucchini bread, there are quite a few chocolate zucchini cake recipes to sample. This one looks really good!
23. Grill zucchini and/or squash, along with eggplant, tomatoes, onions, and peppers, then chop and toss with herbs for a grilled version of ratatouille.
24. Sneak zucchini into chocolate chip cookies and enjoy some veggies with your chocolate!
25. Eat sliced raw zucchini and summer squash with a tasty dip, like this homemade Avocado Ranch Dip.
I chop summer squash (I grow three varieties) into small chunks together with tomatoes and other vegetables (whatever I have on hand), toss them in oil and seasoned herbs and slow roast them (oven 1 hour or crock pot 3 hours). When soft, I stir the mix into cooked pasta and serve as a delicious, frugal meal.
Kristen @ Smithspirations
That’s a great idea, Tracy! I think this sounds like a plan for our family since most of them aren’t crazy about zucchini and summer squash, though I sure like it! 🙂
I love using summer squash & zucchini . I make zucchini cookies , bread & a casserole with both summer squash & zucchini .
I make zucchini mock crab cakes, zucchini alfredo, zucchini carrrot casserole, zucchini chocolate cake, grill packets with zucchini, sausage, and potatoes, zucchini boats,… Some of these are on my blog.
Kristi A Calvert
I make dill and sweet pickles with the extra zucchini. Going to try sweet squash relish this year.