How to Use Zucchini

What would summer be without zucchini?  It is the most popular summer squash in both America and Europe.

Photo credit: utroja0 licensed under CCO/Added text, border and transparent shape

All of the squashes belong to the Cucurbitaceae plant family which includes the winter squashes, melons, and cucumbers.  Zucchini squash has a thinner skin and higher water content than its winter squash cousins.  It cooks much more quickly and all of its parts are edible; the skin, seeds, and flesh!

Interestingly most of its nutrients are found in the skin.  Zucchini squash is packed full of Vitamin A, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, and vitamin C.

Although it did not make the dirty dozen list for 2017, it is a crop that has likely been genetically modified, so I would recommend you buy organic zucchini.

The best way to store this squash is in the refrigerator.  It will stay fresh for up to 5 days.  And quite frankly, I’ve had it for even longer than that.

The great thing about zucchini is its versatility.  You can roast it, fry it, sauté it, or grill it.  You can also make fritters, bread, or you can zoodle them and use as a replacement for pasta.

My two favorite ways of cooking zucchini is to either roast it or grill it.  But I do love to fry it for a treat!

zucchini uses
Photo credit top to bottom: Couleur, ulleo, markusspiske, and Einladung_zum_Essen all licensed under CCO/added text

Fried Zucchini
  • 2  Zucchini squashes , use three if they are too small
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (I made some from my homemadesourdough bread)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Coconut oil
  1. Wash and slice the zucchini into half inch slices.
  2. In a shallow dish combine the flour with the salt and pepper.
  3. Put the beaten egg into another shallow dish.
  4. And in a third shallow dish combine the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, paprika, onion powder, and the garlic powder until well combined.
  5. Arrange, in assembly line fashion, the zucchini slices, flour, egg, bread crumbs, and a baking sheet.
  6. Coat a zucchini slice with the flour using your designated “dry” hand, dip it in the egg using your designated “wet” hand, and coat with the bread crumb mixture, again using your designated “dry” hand.  Place the well coated slice on the baking sheet.
  7. Repeat with the remaining slices.
  8. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.
  9. When ready to fry, heat about an inch of coconut oil in an iron skillet or in a frying pan until the tip of a wooden spoon dipped in sizzles.
  10. Fry each slice on both sides until golden brown.
  11. Keep warm in a low oven until all are finished and you are ready to eat.
  12. Enjoy!

Preparing zucchini slices for frying
Photo credit: "Day 198: Fried zucchini for dinner" by Loren Kerns
Licensed under CC BY 2.0

This is a fun and versatile recipe.  Don’t hesitate to mix up the seasonings according to your tastes.   If, for example, you want more of an Italian taste you can use Italian seasoning and basil instead of the smoked paprika.  You can even take it in a Mexican direction by using chili powder and cumin.  And you don’t need to use cheese or you can use a different variety of cheese.  As with any recipe, use it as a guide and then add your own touches to make it yours.

You can also make a dip if you’d like.  A simple marinara would be good.  Or a mayonnaise based sauce.  Maybe a ranch or blue cheese dressing.  Something really simple to do is to mix mayonnaise with pureed chipotle peppers.   The choice is yours!

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