Mama Mia, Zucchini!

Ways to enjoy abundant zucchini and summer squash

Photography by Tessa DeLine.

If you find it challenging to get those daily fruit and vegetable requirements met, experiment with sneaking in zucchini or summer squash to fortify a dish or put the low-cal gourd front and center.



You can make this easy squash side dish outdoors on the grill or on the top of your indoor stove using a grill pan. Any leftovers can be added to soups, salads, sauces, pasta and even scrambled eggs. It takes only about 10 to 15 minutes to make, and you can be creative with the flavors that you apply. The key to successful grilling is clean, hot and oiled grates. Be sure to slice the squash equally for even cooking. You can slice the squash vertically or horizontally, based on preference. Horizontal slices are less likely to fall through the barbecue grates. If you think that your knife skills need work, try using a mandolin for consistent results.


1 pound zucchini or summer squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon green onion powder* (dried basil or parsley works well too)

Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat your barbecue or grill pan to medium high heat. Lightly oil the grates.
  • Wash and dry squash. Slice into ¼-inch slices.
  • Lightly brush squash with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with green onion powder, salt and pepper.
  • Place on grill, cover and cook for about 1-3 minutes on each side. Remove from grill with tongs.
  • Place on plate and serve.

Servings: 4


Green onion powder can be found online, or you can make it yourself. Just wash and dry scallions, cut off the green tops (reserve the white parts for other dishes), place in a food dehydrator or low temperature oven until dried. Add the dried onion to the food processor and blend until a fine powder forms (or desired coarseness). Store in a tightly covered container. The dried powder works well in a number of recipes and has a wonderfully mild oniony, grassy flavor.



Summer squash “meatballs” are a wonderful vegetarian alternative to real meatballs in your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce. They have a meatball-like texture, and it is hard to tell the difference. Baked “meatballs” can be frozen, reheated and served at a later date. Recipe lightly adapted by Skinny Taste.


1 ¼ pound grated zucchini or summer squash (unpeeled)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 egg (beaten)

¼ cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

¼ teaspoon white pepper

2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a nonstick skillet, add olive oil, garlic, kosher salt and squash. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until squash is cooked and oil is absorbed.
  • Add mixture to a sieve or strainer and gently squeeze remaining moisture out.
  • Add panko, eggs, cheese, oregano, marjoram, white pepper and squash mixture to a medium-sized bowl. Mix well.
  • Form into 14 balls using a #40 cookie scoop. If you don’t have a scoop, use your clean hands to roll into round balls, the size should be a bit smaller than a golf ball.
  • Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 22–25 minutes until golden brown.
  • Heat up marinara in large saucepan. When “meatballs” are done, add to marinara and toss gently to coat. Serve “meatballs” over cooked pasta or in “meatball” sandwiches.

Servings: 14 “meatballs”


Be sure to gently squeeze as much liquid out of the squash as you can before mixing with the remaining ingredients. Too much moisture will likely cause your “meatballs” to fall apart.

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More to Explore



This easy-to-make, chocolatey quick bread is reminiscent of a cakelike brownie. Three different chocolate ingredients increase the level of chocolatey goodness. Adding Greek yogurt cuts calories, and dark chocolate is a heart-healthy ingredient. A great recipe to hide that overabundance of zucchini that so many backyard gardeners have.


1 ½ cups zucchini, shredded

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup extra dark cocoa

½ cup granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup dark chocolate chips

2 eggs

¼ cup canola oil

¼ cup vanilla- or honey-flavored Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon chocolate extract



Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the zucchini, eggs, oil, yogurt and chocolate extract.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spray a 4-by-8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.

Add zucchini mixture and spread evenly in pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until done. Remove from the oven. Let cool on a rack and then serve.



Servings: One loaf


Fun facts about zucchini and summer squash

  • Zucchini and summer squash are very versatile ingredients. They can be prepared by grilling, boiling, baking, pureeing, stuffing, dehydrating, frying, sautéing and so many other ways.
  • Zucchini and summer squash originated in Central and South America.
  • Zucchini and summer squash are technically fruits and not vegetables.
  • Zucchini and summer squash are low in calories, high in fiber, rich in antioxidants, high in vitamin A, and known to aid in digestion and lower blood sugar levels.
  • Zucchini has more potassium than a banana.
  • Zucchini and summer squash taste best when picked young; the larger the zucchini, the less flavor it will have.
  • One zucchini has about 25 calories. (A potato has about 130 calories.)



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