With the increased interest in vegetable gardening there is sure to be a lot more zucchini around this summer. Zucchini is surprisingly easy to grow, and quickly goes from small, grocery-store sized summer squash to enormous things the size of an adult arm. All it takes is a three day camping trip for a zucchini to get away from you.
If you’re not a gardener, then you can also find these giant zucchinis at the farmers market. Usually they’re in a discount bin, with a price stick of $3 for a 5lb zucchini. It’s a great deal, but what can you do with them?
Here are 3 ways to make use of these oversized squash. Hopefully, you’ll discover that not only are they affordable and nutritious, they are also delicious.
Prep time: 10 minutes; bake time: 20 minutes
This is my kids’ favourite way to eat zucchini. They aren’t huge fans of zucchini and giant zucchinis are no exception. However, they love breaded zucchini medallions.
This recipe calls for baking the zucchini instead of frying, simply because it’s easier to get them all done at once. Feel free to fry the breaded zucchini instead for an extra crispy exterior.
1 giant zucchini or 5 small zucchinis
1⁄3 cup of flour
21⁄2 cups of bread crumbs
1⁄2 tsp of dried oregano
1⁄2 tsp of dried basil
1⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄2 cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 450˚F.
2. Slice the zucchini into 5mm thick circles. Large zucchini may have fully developed seeds in the middle that need to be removed. So slice the zucchini down the middle and scrape out the seeds before slicing it into semi-circles.
3. Set up three bowls. Have flour in the first bowl. Beat the eggs in the second bowl. Then have a mix of breadcrumbs, salt and herbs in the third bowl.
4. To make the breaded zucchini medallions, coat the zucchini slices in flour, then dip in the egg, and finish by coating in breadcrumbs.
5. Lay the breaded zucchini out on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
6. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Baked Zucchini Parmesan
Prep time: 15 minutes; cook time: 30 minutes
Once you’ve made breaded zucchini medallions, it’s easy to turn them into a complete meal by serving them with pasta and tomato sauce as a baked zucchini Parmesan.
1 batch of zucchini chips
6 cups of tomato sauce
2 cups of grated mozzarella
1⁄2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 package of pasta.
1. Preheat the oven to 425˚F
2. Prepare one batch of zucchini medallions with just a few changes. This recipe works best if the medallions are larger, so make them 1cm thick and if you’re using small zucchinis, slice them lengthwise rather than in circles. Also, don’t top with Parmesan cheese for the initial baking as the cheese will be added later.
3. Bake the medallions for 15 minutes only. The exterior needs to be crisp, but not browned.
4. Meanwhile grate the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and heat up the tomato sauce.
5. Make the zucchini Parmesan in a 9” x 13” baking dish. Start by covering the bottom of the dish with 2 cups of tomato sauce. Then layer on all of the zucchini medallions, overlapping as needed. Top with the remaining tomato sauce. Finish by covering the entire dish with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
6. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
7. Meanwhile, Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
8. Serve the zucchini Parmesan on top of the pasta.
Freezing Grated Zucchini
Total Time: 10 minutes
One of the reasons I seek out giant zucchinis at the farmers’ market, is that it is just so easy to freeze for serving in the winter.
To prepare zucchini for freezing, simply grate it with a medium-sized grater, then freeze it in plastic zip-top bags or freezer containers. This is really easy if you happen to have a mandolin or a food processor with a grater attachment.
I typically freeze zucchini in 1 cup or 2 cup portions. Grated zucchini seems to completely disappear in most dishes, which makes it perfect for getting a bit more vegetables into your kids. Simply defrost the frozen zucchini in the refrigerator the day before you intend to use it. If you froze zucchini in a plastic bag, then I recommend placing it in a bowl for defrosting as it tends to sweat a lot of liquid.
Here are a few ways to use grated zucchini:
• Bake zucchini bread.
• Add it to your favourite vegetable soup.
• Grated zucchini completely disappears in flavourful chili or tomato sauce.