Get a taste of summer with these recipes using zucchini and squash
Spring is here, and summer seems like it’s miles away. Already, you’re seeing those sweet, light summer recipes appearing on your timeline, and maybe, just maybe, in the middle of your hankerings for fresh fruit and corn on the cob, you want some zucchini or yellow squash.
Zucchini, or courgettes as our friends across the pond call them, are what food rookies mistake for cucumbers at the grocery store. Unlike cukes, which are great for summer recipes themselves, you can cook zucchinis and their closely-related cousin, yellow squash. In fact, they make a great substitute for starchier fare like potatoes & pasta.
So if you’re trying to watch your carb intake, want something lighter than a traditional pasta dish, or can’t wait for that zucchini you just grew for your garden to grow, head on over to the supermarket, grab those cucumber lookalike veggies (yes, we know they’re technically fruit, but we wouldn’t put ‘em in a fruit salad), and let’s get down to cooking!
Are you a pasta fiend who’s watching your calories or carbs? Zoodles are your new best friend! While the texture isn’t quite the same, zucchini noodles are lighter than pasta and can substitute the carby, delicious strands in any of your Nonna’s Italian spaghetti recipes.
So here at Film Daily, we thought we’d give you the run-down on how to properly prepare zucchini noodles so you can throw them in any of your favorite pasta recipes.
You will need:
- Zucchinis or yellow squash
- Either of the following:
- Julienne peeler
- Sharp kitchen knife
- 1 tsp. Olive oil or butter (if you’re heating them up on the stove).
- Salt & pepper to taste
- First, you’ve gotta turn your zucchini or yellow squash into pasta ready for recipes. To do that, you need some tools. Spiralizers are the easiest to use. All you do is pop your zucchini in there, press a button, or crank a wheel per the directions, and bam! Noodles. If you don’t have a spiralizer, a julienne peeler or a mandoline are more affordable options but require a little more precision.
Lastly, if you’re in a pinch and need to use that zucchini now, you can try thinly slicing the zucchini lengthwise. Cut the zucchini or squash as narrowly as you can, about ⅛ to ¼ inch thick depending on your preferences. However, if you don’t have the steadiest hand, we recommend using this round of zucchini to make zucchini fries or chips instead (see below).
- Now, you’ve got to cook that zucchini. Sometimes, you can prepare it raw to go in a salad, but if you want to substitute it for pasta, either microwave it in a microwave-safe container for one minute, sautee in butter or olive oil for 1-2 minutes, or boil for one minute, strain, and pat off the excess water. Do NOT overcook or you’ll end up with soggy zoodles!
As we said before, if you can’t make zoodles tonight, don’t despair! You can still get your carb fix by baking yourself some delicious zucchini or squash fries. If you’re feeling daring, you can cut up some zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant together for a colorful medley and some different flavors.
That said, this is a good zucchini fries recipe to start with from our good friends at D@mn Delicious.
- 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, dried oregano, and dried basil (or any 1 ½ teaspoon combo of your favorite dried herbs)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves (or fresh herbs of your preference)
- First things always first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix your Parmesan, dried herbs, garlic powder, fresh herb leaves, and salt & pepper together.
- Cut your zucchini into wedges and pat dry. Coat in a drizzle of olive oil and coat them in the Parmesan & herb mixture.
- Put them on a greased baking sheet and bake for about fifteen minutes, or until they turn golden. Then, broil them for 2-3 minutes until they’re crispy.
- After they’ve cooled down to eat, break out your favorite dipping sauce and nom!
Simple yellow squash
“But Film Daily”, you groan. “I don’t have time to make vegetables into noodles & fries!” Otherwise, you’re pulling a Mr. Incredible when he screams “math is MATH”, but are shouting “Zucchini is ZUCCHINI!”
OK, OK, we hear you. You want a zucchini recipe you can throw in a pan without the fuss. The good people over at Love and Lemons gave us an idea to have you covered with one of the easiest yellow squash (or zucchini) recipes on the planet. In fact, we’re simplifying it, so all you have to do is cut up some veggies and throw ‘em in a pan. That’s it.
- 3 yellow squash. Feel free to substitute some squash for some zucchini for color
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Fresh basil & thyme for garnish, optional
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cut your zucchini or squash into ¼ inch thick discs. Are your squashes fat at the bottom? Cut em in half-moons!
- Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Throw the zucchini & squash discs in and cook for seven to ten minutes – when they become a little golden brown, but before they become soggy (Paraphrasing Mary Berry from ‘Bake Off’, nobody likes a soggy zucchini). Remove, add salt & pepper to taste along with whatever herbs & spices tickle your fancy. Perfect for a side dish or a snack!