Fresh D'Lights by Stacy: Zucchini 2.0

Zucchini 2.0

By Stacy Carroll

As I was pondering what recipe topic I should write about next, I looked back at my articles for some ideas.  I had written about zucchini last summer, but if you have a bumper crop this year then you are always looking for new recipes.   And so are all your neighbors as you “spread the love around”!  Zucchini really tastes like whatever ingredients you put with it; that is why it is so versatile in both sweet and savory dishes. 

Last year I shared my tried and true favorite recipes.  This year I have gone to my Pinterest vault to bring you recipes that have rave reviews that I can’t wait to try.  And now we will see how many zucchini get dropped off at the Press!)  Many new recipes seem to come from dietary restrictions, weight loss programs, or are just trying to get more vegetables into our diet and find a use for the big ones that got away from you in the garden.  Either way, these recipes all sound amazing and easily adaptable to use what you have on hand.

Summer Minestrone Soup Recipe

Try with just onions and peas instead of leeks and beans or without tomatoes or peppers depending on what you can find or your family likes.  You can also add diced chicken to make it a heartier meal.

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves 4


1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 c. diced onion

1/2 c. sliced leeks, white and light green parts only

1/2 c. diced celery

1/4 c. diced red bell pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 T.)

6 c. chicken stock or vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

1 t. fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)

1 t. kosher salt

2 c. zucchini, cubed 

1 c. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

2 tomatoes, diced

1 can small white beans

1/2 c. ditalini or small pasta

Fresh basil & grated Parmesan cheese for garnish


Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium high. Add the diced onion, leeks, celery, and pepper.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until softened, lowering the heat to medium to prevent browning.  Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more, until fragrant. Add the stock, bay leaf, thyme, and salt to the pot. Increase heat to bring to a simmer, then add the zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, white beans, and pasta.  Cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables and the pasta are cooked through. Garnish with basil and grated Parmesan cheese.


Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Make these boats vegetarian by using black beans and corn instead of hamburger.  You can substitute rotel if you do not have salsa.  I would add avocado, black olives and cilantro to the toppings list too!

Total time: 1 hr.

Serves: 4


4 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

2 T. olive oil

1 lb. lean ground beef

1/2 small onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced 

Flesh from 2 zucchini 

1 1/2 c. chunky salsa (mild or spicy)

1 packet taco seasoning or 2 T.

1 c. shredded Mexican blend or cheddar cheese


Diced tomatoes

Chopped lettuce

Sour cream

Chopped parsley


Cut zucchini in half and hollow out the center out of the halves to create zucchini boats. Keep the flesh from two zucchini and discard the rest. Squeeze excess water out of the flesh and chop well, set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add diced onion and garlic stir and cook for 1 minute.  Add ground beef and continue cooking until no longer pink. Drain grease, leaving only about 2 tablespoons in the pan.  Add the diced bell pepper, reserved diced zucchini flesh, salsa and taco seasoning. Stir and simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking dish with foil.  Spoon taco mixture into the hollowed zucchini boats. Divide the mixture equally and press firm to fit in as much as possible and top with shredded cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 25-35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through. Remove foil during last 5 minutes of cooking.  Serve as is or topped with sour cream, fresh parsley, chopped lettuce and diced tomatoes.

Calories: 205 Carbohydrates: 7 Protein: 17 Fat: 11 Saturated Fat: 4 Cholesterol: 49 Sodium: 487 Potassium: 627


Zucchini Tots

The tots can really use any cheese or seasoning you like.  I think parmesan and Mrs. Dash or Italian seasoning sound good as well.  Some reviews listed adding mushrooms or bacon and using onion flakes instead of raw onion.  The most important tip is to get as much water as you can out of the zucchini; try cooking longer or broiling at the end to get them extra crispy.

Total Time 35 minutes

Yield: 20 Tots


2 c. shredded zucchini, about 1 med. zucchini

1 t. salt

1 T. flour

2 large eggs

1 c. shredded sharp cheese

1/2 c. finely chopped yellow onion

1 t. smoked paprika


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.  Place the shredded zucchini in a medium-sized bowl and toss with the salt; let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Squeeze out any moisture and discard the liquid.  In a mixing bowl sprinkle flour onto the zucchini and toss well to coat. Add the eggs, cheddar cheese, onion, and paprika and mix well to combine.  Fill each muffin cup with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zucchini mixture. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Run a knife around the tots to loosen as soon as you get them out of the oven. Let cool for a minute to allow them to set up, and then remove them from the muffin pan.

Zucchini Meatloaf

I would slightly drain the zucchini so it isn’t so wet; also I usually make my meatloaf freeform in a larger pan so the drippings can drain away.  These can also be made into meatballs, use ground turkey instead of beef, or substitute oatmeal for the bread crumbs~make it your own!

Time: 55 min

Servings: 4


1 c. zucchini, grated

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/4 c. onion, very finely chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c. bread crumbs, plain

1/2 t. paprika

1/4 t. dried oregano

1/2 t. salt

1/8 t. ground black pepper


2 T. ketchup

1/4 t. mustard

1/2 T. brown sugar


Put grated zucchini, ground beef, egg, onion, garlic, bread crumbs and onion into a large bowl. Season with paprika, oregano, salt and black pepper. Mix well until combined. Put meatloaf into a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake in 350 F preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven. In a small bowl, combine ketchup with mustard and brown sugar. Pour over Zucchini Meatloaf and bake for about 15 more minutes.




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