Tag Archives: zucchini

Zucchini Noodles

thin zoodlesWhen only a giant zucchini will do: to make zucchini noodles. Zoodles some call them. Use them the same way you use pasta. They taste great, and they are gluten free, wheat free and carb free. Also you don’t need to think about what vegetable to serve. They are the “something green” in your meal.

fettuccine style zucchini noodles
Fettuccine style zucchini noodles

Here are two kinds of zucchini noodles I have made, using two blade plates of a mandoline slicer. For thin ones, use the mincer (the one with close-set cutting teeth). For thick fettucine size noodles, use the cutting or julienne blade (with teeth about ¼ inch apart).

1. Slice zucchini noodles

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. If it’s wider than the base of your slicer, cut in half lengthwise again so that it will fit. One half a giant zucchini (say 12″/30 cm) makes enough noodles for two servings.

slicing zucchini with mandolineThen, carefully, slide the zucchini the full length of the slicer. Keep it as flat as you can. Continue this, turning the zucchini around as needed to keep making nice long noodle strings. Stop when you reach the inner part. The seedy, soft part middle will not slice well.

2. Cook zucchini noodles

frying-zoodlesYou can sauté, microwave or boil the zoodles. I heated a tbsp or so of olive oil in a pan and sautéed them a few minutes. Stir and flip them often. Water will come out of the zucchini. That’s good. After another couple minutes, your pile of noodles will shrink in size and they will look cooked. And they are.

3. Plate, top, serve

thin zucchini noodles alfredo with garlic bread
Thin zucchini noodles

Put noodles on plates, draining as much water off as you can. Add your topping. I used alfredo sauce, microwaved straight from the jar. Enjoy.

Using a mandoline is quite labour intensive. Your arm gets tired. So if you are making dinner for eight, even four, you might want a method that is easier and faster. Maybe that’s where a spiralizer or some specialized tool would be worthwhile. See Downshiftology for much more information on zucchini noodle making.

Cheese Stuffed Zucchini

A zucchini that escaped, hiding under foliage in order to grow huge. cheese stuffed zucchini with dinner rollStuff it. With what? What about a cheese stuffing? Something light and summery for the last days of summer. Light cheese. Maybe egg too. Below is what I used, but other combinations of cheese and herbs would work just as well.

Ingredients

1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise
1-2 tbsp chopped onion
1/3 cup (100 g) cream cheese
1/3 cup (100 g) ricotta or cottage cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
salt, pepper
fresh or dried herbs
turmeric, garlic (options for taste)
cheddar cheese, grated

Recipe for stuffed zucchini

Scoop out zucchini insides and keep. I left about a half inch of zucchini in the shells. Set them aside to fill later.scooped-zucchini

Take seedy parts out of the zucchini pulp and discard. Chop up the rest of it.

sauteeing-zucchini Melt a bit of butter in a frying pan and add zucchini pulp, onion, salt and pepper. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric for colour. Garlic would probably be good too.

A lot of water will come out of the zucchini. Drain it and put in a bowl.

cheese added to zucchiniAdd one large egg, beaten.

Add 1/3 cup each cream cheese and ricotta to zucchini-egg mixture. Blend with a fork.

You can use any kind of hard or soft cheese, alone or in combination. I thought the cream cheese and ricotta I had on hand would make a light, almost fluffy filling, and it did.

zucchini egg breadcrumbs and herbsMix in 1 cup breadcrumbs. I added fresh herbs – parsley, basil and rosemary – and green onion, chopped coarsely.

Put a bit of olive oil on zucchini boats and fill with mixture. I added cherry tomatoes on top and grated cheddar cheese over them.

zucchini-ready-to-bakePut them on a baking sheet and add a bit of water to the pan so they don’t stick. Bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes, until cheese on top is nicely browned and zucchini on the sides is soft.

Cut each baked zucchini boat in half, which gives you four servings.cheese-stuffed-zucchini

Alternative suggestions

My husband said the zucchini stuffing on its own would make a great casserole. Its texture is almost like a soufflé. So if I try that, I’d scrape out the whole inside of the zucchini. Then, his suggestion, put the mixture in ramekins for individual servings.  If you want to stick with stuffed zucchini boats, but heartier ones, you can use a thick pasta sauce. Here is how I make  those. And you can buy zucchini corers! (See Paderno’s below) Who knew?

Zucchini Boats

baked zucchini boats photo D StewartGot huge zucchinis? Stuff them. Here is how my husband makes them using left-over spaghetti sauce. The ingredient quantities below are for one zucchini, which makes two zucchini boats. Adjust amounts according to the size and number of zucchini. The one he used was about 10 in./25 cm.

Make zucchini boats

zucchini-scooped-out-photo-D-StewartSlice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the soft part in the middle. He discards the seeds and keeps the pulp. Chop that up and put it in a frying pan with chopped onion. Cook the mixture until it’s soft. Zucchini has a lot of water in it, so leave the pan uncovered so as much water as possible evaporates.

Make the stuffing

adding-spaghetti-sauce-photo-D-StewartAdd green pepper, mushrooms, hot sausage or whatever you like. Add half a cup of breadcrumbs. When everything is cooked through and the mixture is fairly thick, add about three-quarters of a cup of your leftover sauce. Heat it through.

Put the zucchini boats in a baking dish and spoon the stuffing mixture filling-zucchini-boats-photo-D-Stewartin them. Grate cheese – parmesan, cheddar or mozzarella – over the tops. Pour a bit of water in the bottom of the dish so they don’t stick to the bottom. Put in a 350° oven and bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes until the zucchini shell is nice and soft. If your zucchini has grown to monster size, the outer skin might stay too tough to eat but you can still scoop out the insides.

A giant zucchini emergency and no spaghetti sauce? Try my Cheese Stuffed Zucchini.

 

Grilled Zucchini

zucchiniIf God has blessed you with so much zucchini that even the chickens run away when they see you coming, here is one solution. Grilled, for the freezer.

Preparing Grilled Zucchini

preparing grilled zucchiniJust cut the ends off, cut in half and slice lengthwise.

Toss with olive oil and herbs such as oregano, basil, or herbs de provence.

 

Zucchini on BBQGrill lightly on the bbq both sides.

You don’t have to cook it, just grill until it “sweats.”

 

 

Grilled Zucchini ready for freezerThis what they look like when they’re done.

Then lay out in a single layer on non stick cookie sheets and put in the freezer.

After freezing, bag ’em and you’re done. It’s easy and is great in tomato sauce or casseroles, especially in the middle of winter.

My husband spent all day dealing with produce from our garden.  He posted his grilled zucchini process on Facebook, and I stole it.

 

Zucchini Biscuit Quiche

biscuit quiche with saladThis kind-of quiche is a really easy, fast and light meal. Once, when a friend was visiting, we were talking and I had the veggies sliced, everything mixed and the dish in the oven before she even realized I’d started preparing dinner. 

You can make it with broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes – anything you might have and think would go in a quiche. I’ve used many different kinds of cheese in it as well – again whatever I have on hand. (The one in the pictures is mushroom and broccoli with cheddar and parmesan.) Just use the same quantities of veggies and cheese. And don’t be frightened by the amount of oil – you need it to keep it moist and fluffy. Serve it with a salad and it’s a perfect summer meal.

How to make:

3 cup zucchini, thinly sliced

1 small onion, chopped

1 cup biscuit mix (Bisquick or any baking powder tea biscuit mix)

4 large eggs

mushroom & broccoli quiche, in casserole dish1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup each grated Parmesan cheese and grated Gruyere cheese (or others)

1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

1/2 tsp dried marjoram

2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 12” x 8” casserole dish [I use an 8” x 8”]. Bake at 350˚ for 30 mins or until golden. Serves 8 [as side dish, 3-4 if main course].

Source: M. A. Downie & B. Robertson, Canadian Treasury of Cooking and Gardening, Toronto: Key Porter Books 1987