When bumper crops of zucchini roll in, it’s time to collect both unique and tried-and-true recipes. Here’s how I used a spiralizer to create a grain-free, fresh-from-the-garden pasta bursting with Italian flavors.
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They say if you have to buy zucchini, you don’t have any friends. I was pretty good at being friendless–or rather, good at having non-gardening friends–until we started our local community garden. Now we get lots of zucchini!
How to Use Zucchini? Let me count the ways.
I’m terrible at documenting all of the ways in which I use zucchini here on the blog, but here are a few of my go-to recipes:
- banana zucchini bread or flourless chocolate zucchini muffins
- grain-free lasagna
- zucchini pancakes
- zucchini & carrot crustless quiche
The following zucchini recipes from my blogging friends look amazing!
- Cheesy Garlic Zucchini Bread
- Chevre Cheese & Grilled Zucchini
- Crisp Onion & Zucchini Pizza
- Healthy Breakfast Muffins
- Zucchini Bread or ‘Simply the Best’ Zucchini Bread
- Zucchini Fritter in a Cast Iron Skillet
- Zucchini Gummy Candy
Zucchini is obviously a really versatile vegetable. The cookbook From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce suggests trying it, “…raw, broiled, steamed, fried, grilled, sauteed, or stir-fried.”
Does that get your creative juices flowing?
Make Your Own Italian-Inspired, Grain-free Pasta
I think zucchini pairs especially well with Italian flavors like tomatoes, garlic, and herbs such as basil and oregano. It’s not hard to make the leap from thoughts of Italian flavors to pasta, which is exactly what my mind did. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to experiment with making zucchini noodles, sometimes playfully called “zoodles”.
If you want to get straight to the recipe for Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes, just skip to the bottom of this page.
The Vegetable Spiralizer
While I have one friend at the community garden who pushes her extra zucchinis on me (to my delight!), another dear garden friend supported my grain-free lifestyle in another way–by gifting me with a spiralizer!
Here is my review of the Veggetti: It’s a simple design with no moving parts. It is easy to figure out how to use, and easy to clean. I imagine it will last a long time, making the low price extremely appealing. The downside is that the opening is only about 2 1/4 inches wide, so any zucchinis that have a larger diameter aren’t going to fit through it.
I ended up slicing the larger zucchinis by hand into small matchsticks. From the pile of zucchinis and yellow squashes I had (I use them interchangeably), I estimate that half of them went through the spiralizer, with the other half being made into matchsticks.
The spiralizer makes the work go really quick. On the other hand, making matchsticks by hand with the zucchinis that were too large to go through the spiralizer significantly increased the amount of overall time needed to process the zucchini. This makes me wonder how using the Veggetti compares to using the Paderno or another brand of spiralizer. If you have a veggie spiralizer, I’d love to hear more about the model you use in the comments below.
A Note on Preserving Zucchini
I freeze extra zucchini for use throughout the winter. Shredded zucchini will be used in baking, while the matchstick zucchini will be frozen for use in soups, stews, quiches, and stir-frys. Just thaw it before using and squeeze out the extra moisture.
Zucchini can also be dehydrated. Shredded, dehydrated zucchini is easily added to soups and stews, while seasoned, dehydrated zucchini chips–like cucumber chips–make a delicious and healthy alternative to potato chips.
Roasting Zucchini Noodles
Most vegetable noodle recipes will have you saute them or add them to sauce and simmer until they are al dente or soft to your liking. I wanted some noodles with a little more oomph, so I played off of this recipe that suggested roasting them.
Zucchini has a high moisture content, so I roasted the noodles for 30 minutes at a low temperature, squeezed out the moisture, added olive oil, increased the oven temperature, and roasted them until they started to brown. I was really happy with how they turned out. If you think you’ll miss the pasta, think again! Bonus: Use your extra carb credits on a glass of vino!
Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic
Tomatoes and garlic both have a rich flavor when roasted, and are irresistible together. Zucchini is a blank canvas with a mild flavor that is just waiting for this colorful combo to bring it all together. I tossed chopped tomatoes with minced garlic in olive oil and salt, then roasted it until browned. Delicious all by itself, roasted tomatoes and garlic could be added to any Italian-inspired meal, topping an omelette, protein source, or even salad.
Rounding out the Meal
Zucchini noodles with roasted tomatoes and garlic make an excellent side dish topped with a handful of chopped basil leaves and grated fresh parmesan. We rounded out the meal by adding chicken breast with melted mozzarella cheese. Buon appetito!
Recipe: Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes
- 2 pounds zucchini or other summer squash, spiralized or sliced thinly
- 2 pounds tomatoes, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- couple handfuls of fresh basil, chopped (optional)
- parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Cover two cookie sheets with paper towels and divide the zucchini noodles between them. Spread the noodles evenly, then sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the cookie sheets from the oven.
- Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
- Transfer the noodles to a cheesecloth or lint-free pastry towel, then squeeze the noodles over the sink to release the extra moisture.
- In a mixing bowl, use your hands to “fluff” the noodles, then mix in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Transfer back to the two cookie sheets (without paper towels this time).
- In a 9-x-11-inch casserole dish, mix tomatoes, minced garlic, and the remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Spread evenly, then sprinkle with salt.
- Place the cookie sheets of zucchini noodles and the casserole dish of tomatoes and garlic in the oven and roast for 30-45 minutes, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned.
- Return the zucchini noodles to the mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes and garlic, and gently mix together. Add salt to taste.
- Top with fresh basil and parmesan before serving.
What’s your favorite way to use zucchini?