Whether you grow it in your backyard garden, shop for it at the farmers’ market or just pick it up in the produce aisle, zucchini is a can’t-miss vegetable this time of year, as this mild, versatile squash is at its peak of freshness during the warm summer months. Simply sauteed zucchini with olive oil and seasoning is a go-to standby, but when you want to dress it up or feature it in creative ways, think beyond everyday preparations and check out Food Network’s best-five zucchini recipes below. Some of your favorite chefs, including Ina and Bobby, showcase this seasonal pick in their top-rated dishes for comforting gratin, quick salads and more can-do plates that are elegant enough to serve to company but easy enough to prepare on a weeknight.
5. Zucchini Gratin — Ina uses just a handful of ingredients to make her big-batch casserole, laced with a buttery sauce and finished with cheesy breadcrumbs for a textured topping.
4. Zucchini Corn Fritters — The secret to making Food Network Magazine‘s quick side dish is salting the zucchini after you shred it and letting it rest before combining it with sauteed corn and onions; this process will draw out much of its moisture, so when you fry the zucchini, it becomes deliciously crisp and golden brown.
3. Grilled Zucchini Rolls With Herbs and Cheese — Grill strips of zucchini for a few minutes until they become supple, then roll them around a mixture of goat cheese, lemon and parsley to create two-bite finger food that kids and grownups alike will appreciate.
2. Pasta With Zucchini and Ham — Boasting fresh tomatoes, grated zucchini and creamy goat cheese, Food Network Magazine‘s quick-cooking dinner boasts a simple, smooth sauce made with garlic, red pepper flakes and a cup of reserved pasta water.
1. Grilled Zucchini Salad With Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette and Shaved Romano and Toasted Pine Nuts (pictured above) — Instead of simply adding zucchini to a traditional greens salad, Bobby makes the vegetable the centerpiece of the recipe, quickly grilling it, then marinating the squash in a mustard-lemon vinaigrette before finishing it with crunchy pine nuts. Click the play button on the video below to watch him make it.