One of my favorite scenes in the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which is about her family’s year of living off the land in Appalachia, is her description of the summer squash wars. She relays the lengths to which neighbors would go to try to unload their summer squashes when the plants start producing in droves in July and August. In a comical passage, she cautions against leaving the car unlocked during zucchini season, lest you return to your vehicle to find the front seat stuffed with a “gift” from a sneaky neighbor’s garden.
Summer squash such as zucchini are not the most exciting vegetables, but they are easy to grow, abundant and affordable in the summer. Because of their soft skins, they don’t have a long shelf life so they need to be used within a few days of buying them. (Did you know that winter squash are called that because their tough skins allow them to be stored throughout the winter?)
One of the most popular dishes in my cookbooks and on my site, The Six O’Clock Scramble is this Amazing Zucchini Pie, originally suggested by my friend Jackie Cohen. The savory pie is mild and simple enough to appeal to the palates of kids (in fact, many have told me that it actually reminds them of pizza!). To give the pie a more sophisticated and intense flavor, use Swiss, Gruyere, or another sharp cheese, rather than the mozzarella.
If you have an abundance of zucchini, you might also enjoy Barbara Kingsolver’s recipe for Disappearing Zucchini Orzo.
Many cooks also sneak zucchini into breads, muffins, cakes and cookies, such as in this Zucchini Bread from Kitchen Explorers’ Alice Currah.
If you still have zucchini to use up, try these delicious Zucchini Fritters.
What is your favorite way to use zucchini and summer squash?
Recipe: Amazing Zucchini Pie
The savory pie is mild and simple enough to appeal to the palates of kids (in fact, many have told me that it actually reminds them of pizza!).
- 1 Tbsp. butter or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 zucchini, or use yellow squash, thinly sliced (4-5 cups)
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 prepared 9-inch pie crust
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (use wheat/gluten-free if needed)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter or oil over medium heat and sauté the zucchini and onions until they are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil and oregano.
- Press the pie crust into a pie dish and spread the mustard evenly over the crust.
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cheese and zucchini mixture. Pour everything into the pie crust and spread it evenly.
- Bake it for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Allow it to cool for a few minutes and cut it into wedges to serve it (or refrigerate it for up to 24 hours or freeze it for up to 3 months.)