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.
This time of year, nothing is easier to find (and afford) than zucchini. Finding ways to get the good stuff into your kids, however, can be more elusive. I’ve tried all sorts of things (some hits, many misses) and these are the most popular zucchini dishes according to our three kids:
- Baked Zucchini with Rice, Tomato Sauce and Sausage: This dish is like lasagna without the noodles; zucchini adds form while rice soaks up the extra juices. You might even want to make two pans and save one in the freezer for later.
- Stovetop Pork and Rice with Zucchini: If you can make rice, you can make this — and your kids will swoon. Just add mustard, cooked cubes of pork and chicken broth to plain brown rice. Throw the zucchini in for the last few minutes. Tada!
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.
Whether you’ve got an abundance of zucchini from your CSA or it’s just one of your summer favorites, here are three ways to incorporate zucchini into your meatless meal tonight.
Start with Bobby’s Grilled Zucchini Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette and Shaved Romano. Zucchini sliced lengthwise grills up beautifully. Just toss with some Romano cheese, crunchy pine nuts and tangy vinaigrette to create a grill-master side dish.