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Favorite Zucchini Recipes from the Garden State


What to do with all that Zucchini. Produce in the Garden State is early this year.  The strawberries came and went before I could get out to pick them! And local blueberries are already showing up in markets across the state.

So it’s no surprise that my zucchini crop has peaked before the Fourth of July.  And of course, I planted too many. Again!  With seven zucchini in the refrigerator and six more on my kitchen counter, I need some help!  So I asked my fellow Jersey Biters to weigh in with their favorite zucchini recipes.  There was just one rule:  no zucchini bread allowed.

I’m pleased to share with you these great recipes.  From main dishes to desserts, salads to sides, zucchini is what’s cooking right now in the Garden State.

Main Course:

Fried Zucchini Spaghetti, Lauren Weiss, Union County

(Recipe by Gwyneth Paltrow  http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/fried-zucchini-spaghetti)

This is simple, but to die for!

Ingredients:

1 pound small zucchini, very thinly sliced crosswise

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 pound spaghetti

1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

1/2 cup torn basil leaves

Freshly ground pepper

Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions:  In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the flour and a pinch of salt.

In a very large skillet, heat half of the oil until shimmering.  Add half of the zucchini and fry over high heat, turning once or twice, until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the zucchini to a paper towel–lined wire rack and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining oil and zucchini.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.  Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the 1 cup of cheese, the basil and a generous pinch of pepper.  Add the reserved pasta water a little at a time, tossing well to coat.

Transfer the pasta to a bowl and top with the crispy zucchini.  Serve right away with lemon wedges and additional cheese.

Zucchini and Basil Lasagna, Sheila Hill, Monmouth County
A twist on traditional lasagna!  The tender zucchini paired with the herbs and spicyness of the sauce are a delight for the palette.

Ingredients:
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
1 fresh basil, chopped
1 egg, beaten
3 medium zucchini, diced
¼ cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 26 ounce jar spicy tomato sauce
9 oven-ready {no boil} lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine cottage cheese, basil and egg in a food processor until smooth.

Heat a large non-stick saute pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Add zucchini, onion, and garlic, and saute for 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in pasta sauce and remove from heat.

Grease bottom of 13x9x2-inch baking dish.  Spread ¼ cup of zucchini mixture in bottom of baking dish.  Arrange a layer of 3 noodles over zucchini mixture.  Top with ⅓ of cottage cheese mixture, ⅓ of zucchini mixture, and ⅓ of mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layers twice with the remaining noodles, cottage cheese mixture, zucchini mixture, and mozzarella cheese.

Bake, covered for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until lasagna is bubbly.

Salads and Sides:

Grated Zucchini Salad, Heidi Raker, Bergen County

Ingredients:
4 medium sized zucchini, grated on medium hole grater side
2 Granny Smith apples, grated on large hole grater side
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup EVOO
juice of 1 lemon
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions:  Whisk together liquids, toss with zucchini and apple, season to taste.  Delicious!

Healthy Zucchini Cakes, Lauren Lee, Bergen County

Ingredients:

4 zucchinis, shred by hand or in food processor with shredder blade

1 T low fat mayo

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 sweet vidalia onion

2 cloves chopped garlic

1 egg white

2 T fresh oregano

salt and pepper

parmegiano reggiano to taste

dash of red pepper flakes

Directions:  Into a saute pan or wok add 2 T of extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil.

After grating the zucchini, squeeze out the water with a hand towel until dry.

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix.  Make into flat cakes.

Saute in the oil about 3 minutes until brown. Carefully turn over and brown the other side.

Roast in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes while you make tzatziki sauce.

Taztziki:  Into a bowl, combine drained greek yogurt, 1 clove of garlic smashed, 1 clove of chopped garlic, shredded cucumber, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and chopped fresh dill.  Stir to combine.

Oven Fried Zucchini Chips, Michele Errichetti, Atlantic County

Better than your regular run of the mill chips and definitely better for you! Bet you can’t eat just one.

Ingredients:
4 small zucchini cut into round slices, ¼ inch thick
¼ cup Locatelli cheese, grated
3 T of low fat milk
½ cup of bread crumbs
¼ tsp of salt and pepper
Cooking spray olive oil

Directions:  Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Place milk in bowl and add zucchini slices.  Combine cheese, salt and pepper, and bread crumbs in a large plastic ziplock bag and shake.  Drop 4 zucchini slices at a time into the plastic bag and shake to coat.  Repeat until all slices are coated.

Place the slices on a cookie sheet and bake till light golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Move over potatoes!

Desserts and Sweets:

Pina Colada Jam, Jennifer Malme, Cumberland County
This sweet jam will brighten up your breakfast.  And no one will believe there’s zucchini in here!

Ingredients:
6 cups sugar
6 cups shredded, peeled zucchini
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple with juice
¼ cup lime juice
2 packages (3 ounces each) pineapple gelatin
1 T coconut rum

Directions:  In a large pot, combine the sugar, zucchini, pineapple with juice, and lime juice.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat; stir in gelatin and run until gelatin is dissolved.

Pour into jars or freezer containers, leaving ½ inch headspace.  Cool completely before covering with lids.  Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year.

Yield:  3 ½ pints

Zucchini Whoopie Pies, Kerry Brown, Burlington County

What a sweet way to eat your veggies!  Although delicious as written, this recipe is adaptable to other flavor profiles as zucchini’s mild flavor will adapt nicely.  Maybe a chocolate cake with cappuccino filling, peanut butter cake with chocolate ganache, or ginger cake with peach or matcha buttercream.  Be creative!

Ingredients:
2 cups grated zucchini, with the skin on
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a bowl, mix the zucchini, oil, eggs and sugar until well combined.  Sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and then mix into the wet, stirring until combined.

On baking sheets lined with parchment paper, scoop rounded tablespoons of the batter. Allow to sit at room temperature until they spread slightly or gently push down with your fingers or the back of a spoon.

Bake for 8 to 11 minutes until golden brown.  Once the pies have cooled, frost one side (recipe below) and assemble the whoopie pies.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out for use (optional)
2 tablespoons milk

Combine the first three ingredients and mix well. Add the milk for the desired consistency.

Jennifer Malme is a full-time mother, sometime substitute teacher, avid locavore, and enthusiastic supporter of New Jersey wines. Her lifestyle blog, Down-Home South Jersey, explores ways to live simply and eat well in and around Cumberland County. When she is not blogging, she enjoys cooking, touring local wineries, and reading. She has never met a cheese that she doesn’t like, and she especially enjoys finding new, authentic ethnic restaurants in her area. Jennifer lives in Vineland with her husband, teenage son, and very smart Siamese cat.


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