The Many Joys of Zucchini

Do you have more zucchini than you know what to do with? 

Are you looking for another, creative way to use zucchini? 

Did you know you could eat this summer squash raw or even use it in a facial mask? 

“The greatest fine art of the future 

will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.”  

~ Abraham Lincoln 

Growing zucchini can make just about anyone feel like they have a green thumb. It’s easy to grow,  delightfully prolific,  and  in  no  time  at  all  can  be  overwhelming  as  it  piles  up  on  your  kitchen  counter. 

1 zucchini piled up

As a child I had no appreciation for the zucchini my grandmother grew in her garden and lovingly  prepared into meals. For me, it was a cooked squishy vegetable with no  real  flavor. Everyone  raved about her zucchini relish and wanted more. I didn’t want any at all - not on my plate and  certainly not touching my food. The only way I would eat it was if it was baked into a zucchini  bread.

One day, when I was browsing through an old recipe file box, I came across her ‘famous’ zucchini  recipe written in her own handwriting. The fond memories of my grandmother, her gardening,  and her cooking came flooding back. I decided I wanted to grow zucchini, even if I didn’t like it.  And, I wanted to make her relish just to find out, as an adult, what it tasted like. Wow. What a  joy! I soon came to the realization that I wanted to learn a  few ways to prepare zucchini that 

were flavorful and that I would actually enjoy eating. After all, the plant was producing far more  than I could use in one recipe.  

Gluten-Free Baked Zucchini Oatmeal 

Since going Gluten-Free in our household I realized after a few years that I missed eating a slice  of fresh baked zucchini bread in the summer. I wanted to find a way of bringing that joy back into  my life, so I played around with ingredients until I came up with a baked oatmeal that was gluten free, dairy-free, healthy, and quite tasty. 


  • 4 cups oats (I use organic, gluten-free oats) 
  • ½ cup sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon powder 
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder 
  • ½ teaspoon clove powder 
  • 2 cups grated zucchini 
  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce (I use this in place of dairy) 
  • 2 eggs 


Pre-heat oven to 375° Fahrenheit. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Create a dent in  the center of your mixture and add in your zucchini, applesauce, and eggs. Mix thoroughly. Scoop your batter into a greased 9-inch loaf baking dish. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. 

1 zucchini piled up

This recipe makes a single loaf of baked oatmeal, though it can easily be doubled. It can be kept in the refrigerator for a week or more and makes an easy to grab breakfast or snack.

3 Baked zucchini oatmeal loafs

Creamy Herbed Zucchini Sauce 

Have you ever tried a creamy, herbed zucchini sauce? If not, you’re in for a real treat. The best  part is: it’s delicious. We ladle it over mashed potatoes, though this sauce could easily be served  over rice, pasta, oven roasted vegetables, ground hamburger, shredded chicken, or even pulled  pork.  


  • 2 small or 1 medium-large to large zucchini (approximate 2.5 pounds), diced or shredded ¼ cup butter (olive oil makes a good substitute) 
  • 1 medium to large sweet onion, diced 
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano (or 4 tablespoons fresh, chopped) 
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil (or 4 tablespoons fresh, chopped) 
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary (or 2 tablespoons fresh, crushed) 
  • 1 .5 teaspoons turmeric root powder  
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground 
  • A dash of Sriracha sauce (or a pinch of red pepper flakes) 
  • 1 cup chicken stock (bone or vegetable broth are good substitutes)  
  • Optional: ¾ cup crumbled Feta cheese or freshly grated Romano cheese 


Heat a large sauce pan to medium high heat. Add your butter and onion and sauté for three to  five minutes. Add  the garlic, oregano, basil, rosemary,  turmeric, salt, pepper, dash of Sriracha  sauce, and cook for one to two minutes. Then add your chicken stock and zucchini, bring up to a  bubble, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make  sure the mixture doesn’t stick. 

After 20 minutes, when your zucchini is completely soft, use a submersion blender to blend your  sauce to a smooth, creamy mixture. If your sauce is too thick, add a little more chicken stock and  thin to desired consistency. Then, add the cheese and serve over your side dish of choice. 

This sauce freezes well, even with the small amount of cheese in it. 

4 herbed zucchini sauce mashed potatoes

herbed zucchini sauce w salmon

Zuc Soup 

Honestly, my zucchini soup is basically the same recipe as above. The only real difference is when  I make soup I add in one quart of chicken stock or bone broth. If the consistency turns out thinner  than you desire, you  could thicken  it  with  some  instant  potato  flakes.  If  you want  it  a  little  creamier, you could add a little oat milk or cream before ladling into a soup bowl and topping 

with a few crumbles of Feta cheese. Easy, hearty, and you can find several quart jars of Zuc Soup  in my freezer long after the growing season is over.

Zuc soup w baked oatmeal

Did You Know You Could Eat Zucchini Raw and Enjoy It? 

I didn’t know this until I was curious if I could add some zucchini into our morning smoothies. Turns out that raw zucchini is quite healthy to eat and has more fiber and vitamin C than when  it’s cooked. When cooked zucchini has slightly more vitamin A.  

Plus, zucchini is high in antioxidants that help to protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. The carotenoids, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene are particularly plentiful  in zucchini, which help benefit your skin, heart, and eyes. Either way you enjoy it - cooked or raw  - this summer squash is rich in many vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. 

Zucchini Smoothie 

Our  days  start  out  with  a  healthy,  nutrient-packed smoothie.  The general  rule  of  thumb  in  creating them are: 

  • 75% greens or mixed vegetables (choose from: spinach, broccoli, cabbage, celery, carrots,  tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, pumpkin, lettuce, beats, etc.) 
  • 25% mixed fruits (such as: banana, berries, cherries, frozen tropical fruit blend, seasonal  melons, peaches, pears, kiwi, etc.) 
  • Flaxseed and/or chia seed for their fiber and omega 3s (approximately ¼ cup total seeds)
  • A handful of nuts (brazil, almond, walnut, pistachios, or even bitter apricot kernels) You can even add a few supplements if you like, such as  
  • 1 heaping tablespoon full of beet root powder  
  • 1 tablespoon full of loose leaf green tea that has been brewed in a cup of boiling water  and  cooled  down  to  room  temp  (I  pour  the  tea  and  tea  leaves  all  together  into  the  blender) 
  • Optional: any herbs or spices that sound good at the time 

Everything goes into our 64oz Vitamix blender along with  

  • 1 cup of pomegranate juice 
  • 1 cup of coconut water 
  • 2 cups of filtered water 

Then voilà, after a minute of blending on high speed, we have a nutritional smoothie-meal that  tastes amazing, changes with the seasons, and supports good health. The bonus is: at least half  of  the ingredients come from our garden. (We  freeze a lot of home grown veggies,  fruits and  berries to keep us in smoothies’ year round.)

zucchini smoothie

Sliced Zucchini and Hummus 

The next time you’re slicing vegetables to eat with hummus or enjoy with a dip, consider slicing  up a small zucchini and add to the selection. 

zucchini and hummus

Zucchini in a Facial Mask? 

Have  you  ever tried a  zucchini  facial  mask?  The  advantage  of  zucchini  for  the  skin  is  that  it  contains  nutrients  that  naturally  prevents  premature  aging. Packed  with  vitamins,  minerals,  pectins, organic acids and other useful microelements, it nurtures your skin and rejuvenates it, improves blood circulation at the cellular level, and promotes a youthful complexion.  


  • 2 tablespoons finely grated zucchini 
  • 1 tablespoon of honey 
  • 1 teaspoon olive or avocado oil 
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (lemon juice may be substituted)  


Finely grate two tablespoons of zucchini into a small bowl. Add your honey, oil, and apple cider  vinegar. Mix well and apply to face and neck. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes then rinse off. 

Freezer and Pantry Bounty 

When the zucchini growing season is wrapped up, you’ll often find my freezer filled with: Anywhere between 30 to 50 bags filled with two cups of shredded zucchini, each ready  for  inclusion  into  a  baked  oatmeal,  a hearty  Fall-Winter  soup, a  ‘Go-To’  quiche, or  casserole. 

  • 10 quart jars of zucchini soup 
  • 10 pint jars of zucchini sauce  
  • Several bags of chopped zucchini ready to throw into the blender for a smoothie Plus, a few jars of canned zucchini relish sitting on the pantry shelves bringing me fond childhood  memories of my grandmother. 

zucchini sauce in pints

Kitchen Scraps Go to the Worms: 

The  cut  off  ends  of  zucchini  end  up  in  our Vego  In-Ground Worm  Composter bins,  which  of  course, the worms get to enjoy too. We’ve been doing worm composting for many years now. Yet, with these bins right in the garden beds, it has made our composting incredibly easy and  convenient. 

A Greater Appreciation  

In the recreation of my grandmother’s famous zucchini relish, I found my own joy of zucchini.  Over  these past  few years, I’ve gathered  together 13 well-loved  recipes that makes it easy  to  decide what  to do with all  that zucchini. With  the easy versatility and adaptable  flavor of  this  summer squash, it has become a garden staple on our homestead and beautifully supports our  goals of sustainable living. 

Though, remember: when there is still more zucchini than you can consume, preserve, politely  give away, donate to your local foodbank, or feed to the chickens, don’t forget August 8th, The  National  Sneak  Some  Zucchini  onto Your  Neighbor’s  Porch  Day. This  quirky  holiday was  established by Thomas Roy, to help gardener’s give-away their excess zucchini. 

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