How to Use Zucchinis: Buying Storing, and Cooking Tips + Recipes

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Get the most from your seasonal produce: how to use zucchinis, including buying tips, storing zucchini, and zucchini recipes.

ways to use zucchinis

Looking for new ways to use zucchinis when they are in season and in abundance?

Zucchinis are a staple vegetable in our household, especially at this time of the year when they are cheap and plentiful. 

When I was a kid, dad would grow zucchinis until they became huge – so big we could hardly carry them inside. Mum would stuff them with savoury mince, one of our favourite meals. My childhood friend still reminisces about those glorious stuffed gourds.

If you’re wanting to get the most out of your zucchini this season, here are some tips for buying, storing and cooking zucchini, along with a few recipes, both from this blog and other great blogs (with permission) – recipes I have tried and enjoyed myself.

Guide to Buying and Storing Zucchinis

In season: Zucchinis are available all year round but are in season in summer and autumn.

Buying zucchini: Look for firm and glossy zucchini that aren’t shrivelled, mouldy, or slimy.

Storing zucchini: Store unwashed zucchini in the fridge in a vegetable storage bag, paper bag, a plastic bag or wrapped in a damp tea towel in the crisper. Zucchinis last for about a week in the fridge (sometimes longer).

Freezing zucchini: Do you have an abundance of zucchini? Freeze them for later. You can grate the zucchini and freeze it for recipes like zucchini bread or any dish you want to hide vegetables in. Or you can freeze the zucchini in chunks or slices.

(See further: how to freeze zucchini).

Cooking Zucchini

Zucchini is a versatile vegetable. It can be steamed, boiled, sauteed, roasted, char-grilled, fried, deep-fried, or braised; in fact, you can use just about any cooking method available to cook zucchini.

To prepare zucchini: Wash zucchini just before cooking. Top and tail and cut as preferred. You can slice, slice into half moons, cut into sticks, or chop into small dice.

To steam or boil zucchini: rinse and slice zucchini. Add to a pot of already boiling water or a steamer basket and cook for one or two minutes until just cooked but still firm (although personally, l like soggy zucchini, but that’s just me).

To saute/stir fry zucchini (side dish): Add a little oil to a hot pan and stir fry zucchini for a couple of minutes or until cooked to your liking. You can add a little crushed garlic, salt, and pepper for the last few seconds of cooking for a flavour punch. We do this side dish with a combo of zucchini and carrots cut into sticks.

To roast zucchini: cut into slices, sticks, or chunks, toss in a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast at 200°C for 10 – 20 minutes (depending on how big you cut your zucchini and how charred you like it – check after 10 minutes and adjust). You can season your roast zucchini before cooking with garlic, parmesan, or your favourite herbs and spices.

To braise zucchini: place sliced zucchini in a pan with a little butter or oil and just a tablespoon of water. Put the lid on and leave for one minute to soften slightly. Lift the lid, let the water evaporate, and fry to get some golden charring (1-2 minutes)—season with salt and pepper and your favourite fresh herbs.

Zucchini goes well with: Basil, butter, eggs, feta, garlic, lemon, mint, oregano, onions, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and tomatoes.

Zucchini Recipe Ideas

Looking for ideas on what to do with zucchinis?

I love an omelette with grilled zucchini or roasted zucchini frittata. Below are other ways we have enjoyed zucchinis, including links to the recipes.

Some recipes are from this blog, and some are from other wonderful blogs. Click through to the recipe and look at their other fantastic recipes.

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

From: Frugal and Thriving

This zucchini bread makes a great healthy addition to lunch boxes.

Get the recipe: Zucchini Bread

Parmesan Zucchini and Corn Side Dish

From: Damn Delicious 

This recipe really is damn delicious, along with the other recipes on the website. I ate the leftovers cold for lunch the next day and the lime coriander flavours melded into a salsa-like flavour party.

Get the recipe: Parmesan Zucchini and Corn

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries

From: Apples for CJ

Don’t these look just like the ultimate healthy comfort food? This recipe from Apples for CJ is amazing. 

Get the recipe: Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries

Easy, One-Tray Baked Chicken and Vegetables (Including Zucchini)

From: Frugal and Thriving

In this recipe, I use pesto to add flavour to the chicken, but you can marinate it in your favourite herbs and spices, mixed with a tiny bit of olive oil. Rub on and let sit in the fridge until ready to roast.

Get the recipe: Easy One-Tray Roast Chicken and Veg

Bruschetta-Inspired Zucchini Noodles

From: Frugal and Thriving

Zoodles make a great cheap, and healthy alternative to pasta. 

Get the recipe: Bruschetta Inspired Zucchini Noodles

You might also like: 8 Ways to Swap Grains with Veggies

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Fritters

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Fritters

From: Frugal and Thriving

This is one of the few vegetarian meals my kids don’t make a fuss about. 

Get the recipe: Zucchini and Sweet Potato Fritters

Zucchini ‘Meatballs’

From: Delish

My son loved these so much that he asked for seconds! I served these Zucchini balls from the Delish website with a lemon and cream sauce (just garlic, lemon juice and cream) rather than the tomato sauce.

Get the recipe: Zucchini ‘Meatballs’

Easy Zucchini Ratatouille

easy ratatouille with zucchini

From: Frugal and Thriving

Ratatouille is cheap and tasty – a great vegetarian dish that uses summer seasonal produce like capsicum and eggplant (as well as zucchini). Serve with couscous or creamy polenta. This recipe can be frozen.

Get the recipe: Easy Zucchini Ratatouille

Mexican Zucchini Burrito Boats

From: Making Thyme For Health

What I enjoyed about these boats is that they are vegetarian, super easy and tasty, cheap to make and healthy. I followed the recipe and swapped out the rice for quinoa – both are great.

Get the recipe: Mexican Zucchini Burrito Boats

Vegetarian Nachos

vegetarian nachos

From: Frugal and Thriving

We finely dice a couple of zucchini for these vegetarian nachos.

Get the recipe: Vegetarian Nachos

If you have a glut of homegrown zucchini or you want to make the most of buying seasonal produce, then serve them up in a variety of ways, and you’ll never get sick of the humble zucchini.

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  1. Loving how that Zoodles is looking. I have just read how Zucchinis are best eaten at night. What can you say about that? I think that the health benefits of Zucchinis are apparent. It is just a matter of incorporating it into various recipes. And in the way it looks, it is not that hard to whip up some stuff with it as an ingredient.

    1. Melissa Goodwin says:

      Hi Daikuro,
      Nice to meet you.
      I think zucchinis are probably good at any time :)

  2. Those zucchini oven fries and the zucchini corn salad look AMAZING! I love zucchini, but tend to quickly run out of ideas of what to do with it beyond the basic stir-fry and zucchini bread. I will be trying some of these recipes when they come into season in North America–just have to wait a few months! And maybe I’ll grow a few extra zucchini plants in the garden this summer….thank you!

    1. Melissa Goodwin says:

      Hi Heather,

      They are delicious recipes! Hope you enjoy.

  3. Excellent suggestions. My personal favourite use for Zucchini is Soup. Basically substitute Pumpkin for Zucchini in your favourite pumpkin soup recipe. Trust me its worth it!!!

    1. Melissa Goodwin says:

      That sounds yum, I will have to try it. Thanks.

  4. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this post. I have a bumper crop of zucchinis at the moment and I’m pulling in 2kgs of zucchinis a week. I’ve got pasta, soup, zucchini slice, and a bolognaise sauce that’s more zucchini than mince taking over my freezer and I still have more zucchinis. I was wondering if it was safe to freeze them, so I’m glad you’ve done it successfully. Plus I really look forward to trying out these recipes, especially the burrito boats!

    1. Melissa Goodwin says:

      Wow, that’s awesome, lucky you :). Hope you enjoy the burrito boats.

  5. Zucchinis make awesome bread and butter or dill pickles

    1. Melissa Goodwin says:

      Yum. Great idea. Thanks.