These aren’t necessarily unfamiliar vegetables that you don’t know how to prepare, like kohlrabi or rutabagas … but summer squash arrive in full force, bursting from the garden by the dozen, heaped in piles at the farmers market, heavy in your CSA box at the end of the summer. How to use it all and not feel the repetition of only a few dishes?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t get the hype about cooking outside in the summer. It’s hot outside. That officially makes it the last place I want to be, except if the other choice is in front of a flaming grill. No, sir. When the weather heats up, I say, take it inside and let the sweet AC work its magic. That brings me to another appliance I have all kinds of love for: my oven. These are my favorite ways to enjoy all those fresh summer vegetables without sweating it out in the process. And if your oven tends to heat your house up? Roast up one of these dishes in the morning, before the sun has a chance to sizzle — that way your home will be cooler come dinnertime.
Leave it to Ina Garten to elevate simple zucchini to a decadent dish. With 364 reviews and a 5-star rating (not to mention the promise of fresh breadcrumbs and all that melted Gruyère), this one’s officially on my summer food bucket list.
A couple of summers ago, zucchini noodles, aka “zoodles,” became the go-to answer to the perennial seasonal quandary: What do I do with the pounds and pounds of zucchini in my garden/CSA share/farmers market haul? Now that the spiralizer has established itself as a must-have kitchen tool the question becomes: What new variations can I make so I never tire of zucchini noodles?
Never fear, we have answers. Just as one can never (never!) have too much pasta in life, the same can be true for zucchini noodles in season. Here at Food Network, everyone is getting in on the zucchini-noodle game and putting their own spin on it — and if you don’t have a spiralizer, a vegetable peeler works in a pinch. Check out these ways to maximize your zoodle game for the rest of the summer.
On the end of every growing zucchini or summer squash you will find a vibrant yellow-orange flower — the blossom — which is a vegetable in its own right. Zucchini blossoms are fragile and delicately flavored, a little sweeter and more ephemeral than the flavor of the squash itself. The blooms are naturally soft, but pick those that look fresh, not droopy, with mostly closed buds.
Stuffed vegetables are an easy and creative way to squeeze more summer produce onto your plate. In this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, a kid-friendly recipe from Nancy Fuller, hollowed-out zucchini halves are filled with a mixture of sauteed spicy sausage, juicy tomatoes, onions and fresh garlic for a flavor-packed dish. Before putting the “boats” into the oven, Nancy tops them with rich Parmesan and shaved mozzarella for a cheesy finish.
For more easy summer recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Get Seasonal: Summer! board on Pinterest.
Get the Recipe: Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini Boats
There are a lot of one-trick ponies out there, but let’s just start by saying zucchini is not one of them. In fact, we can’t help but think of this versatile, in-season squash as a seriously magical ingredient. It can fill many roles, taking the place of potatoes, bananas, chicken and more. Don’t believe us? Go on and see. Zucchini is capable of countless feats; these 10 recipes are just the start.
1. Slice, bread and lightly fry zucchini into this Zucchini Parmesan Crisps (pictured above).
Burgers, brats and barbecue may be the stars at your Labor Day cookout tomorrow, but when it comes to side dishes, look no further than this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. Sunny Anderson’s seasonal casserole comes together with only a handful of ingredients and features a crispy topping of breadcrumbs, Parmesan and fragrant thyme, which turns golden in the oven.
For more crowd-pleasing recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Celebrate board on Pinterest.
Get the Recipe: Baked Zucchini
If you’re a gardener, or you’ve been to the grocery store and seen it on sale, you know the zucchini has officially arrived. We have a ton of the stuff popping up in our small garden beds every day, which means we’re eating a ton of the stuff every day. These are my favorite kid-tested zucchini recipes, offering enough variety to keep everyone eating the good stuff all summer long.
Zucchini Ribbon Pasta: Long tendrils of zucchini combined with tender fettuccine noodles are the base of Ellie Krieger’s lightened-up Italian meal (pictured above). But it’s the garlic, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil on top that make it truly mouthwatering.
Pizza can be the ultimate comfort food — rich, gooey mozzarella on soft pizza dough is the perfect treat when you just need a little pick-me-up. But it’s not always the quickest or the healthiest option to make. Try a warm, cheesy flatbread as an alternative — by simply using store-brought pita slices and topping them with any combination of cheese and vegetables that you want, you can re-create a pizza for dinner with hardly any effort at all.
In this Roasted Zucchini Flatbread with Hummus, Arugula, Goat Cheese and Almonds recipe, the zucchini is baked with a drizzle of olive oil to give it a charred, smoky flavor, and is then added to the hummus and crumbled goat cheese to bring out a combination of textures. The pita bread is grilled through to keep it soft and warm, and serves as the perfect base for the ingredients. Easy and flavorful, this is a summer recipe worth raving about.
From grilling and roasting zucchini to mixing it in pastas and cold salads, there’s no shortage of ways to use up this seasonal classic, but perhaps the easiest among them is baking zucchini in a sweet bread. The beauty of zucchini bread is that once you bake a single loaf, the results double as breakfasts and desserts for days to come. Unlike banana bread, which requires overly ripe bananas, zucchini bread can be made with the produce at any stage, so it’s a go-to pick if you’re facing a surplus from a garden or a sale at the grocery store. Read on below to find Food Network’s top-five recipes for zucchini bread, and get a mix of creative and traditional picks.
5. Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread — You don’t have to be gluten-intolerant to enjoy this sweet loaf, laced with a trio of warm spices as well as a duo of olive oil and Greek yogurt for moisture.
4. Zucchini and Apple Bread — Made with crunchy walnuts for added texture, this easy-to-do recipe yields two loaves, making it a favorite for potlucks and bake sales.