Yep, it’s that time of year again. Zucchini and squash season. When crouching over the first blossoms in our now-defunct garden, The One and I waffled: Snip the flowers and stuff and fry them or let them fruit? We always sacrificed the short-term joy of those marvelous crunchy blossoms for baskets and baskets–and, yes, more baskets–of zucchini and squash.

With all that bounty (read: an occasional burden), I needed to find ways to use them up. That’s why there are more than 90–ninety!–recipes for zucchini and summer squash on the site.

These ten are the ones tickling my palate this summer. My tippy-top three: squash blossoms, mac and cheese with zucchini, and the luscious, decadent, sinful chocolate cake.

The word "David" written in script.
A skillet filled with spaghetti with zucchini, lemon, and basil, with a fork resting in it and a bowl of Parmesan on the side.
Patricia Niven
1 of 10

Spaghetti with Zucchini, Lemon, and Basil

Here’s a quick, lemony vegetarian pasta dish that can easily be adapted to other greens: try it with asparagus, broccoli or broad beans when you tire of zucchini.
A loaf of zucchini walnut bread on a wooden cutting board with two slices cut from it and a serrated knife resting beside it.
Andrea Bemis
2 of 10

Walnut Zucchini Bread

This walnut zucchini bread is the real deal, folks. Made with whole wheat flour, honey, walnuts, and zucchini, this healthy loaf is a perfectly respectable breakfast (or pleasant distraction) at any time of the day.

This zucchini bread is healthy, easy, and so very nice! The allspice-forward seasoning is fragrant and delicate. This recipe is perfect. I wouldn’t change one thing!

lynn k.
A large pan covered with parchment paper and 8 deep fried zucchini flowers, sprinkled with lemon zest, salt, and chile flakes.
dolphytv /123RF Stock Photo
3 of 10

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Stuffed zucchini flowers are a favorite all over Italy. This version is filled with a traditional ricotta and basil filling, then deep fried until crisp. Use them as an outstanding appetizer or as a substantial garnish.
A zucchini cake with lemon and poppy seeds topped with lemon frosting on a platter with half the cake cut into slices.
Peter Cassidy
4 of 10

Zucchini Cake with Lemon and Poppy Seeds

This zucchini cake with lemon and poppy seeds is an old-fashioned way to use up that seemingly infinite supply of summer zucchini. Not overly sweet, it's made with zucchini, ground almonds, and poppy seeds. Lemon frosting optional.

This super-moist zucchini cake is awesome. The texture and flavour are so memorable. I browned the butter for the icing and doubled the recipe; months after making the cake, people were still talking to me about it.

the dough house
A large white plate on a white background, filled with halved, browned zucchini, sprinkled with mint.
Jeroen van der Spek
5 of 10

Pan-Fried Zucchini with Mint

This simple side dish was inspired by a dish usually made to use up the leftover, scooped-out zucchini flesh, but I use the whole zucchini here.
A hand using a wooden spoon to lift a scoop of macaroni and cheese with zucchini out of a cast iron pot.
Molly Krebs
6 of 10

Macaroni and Cheese with Zucchini

This indulgently creamy, macaroni and cheese with zucchini has three types of cheese and just the right amount of crunch from the garlicky brown butter bread crumbs. It's likely no one will even notice the vegetables that are hidden in there.

After the zucchini cooked down, I was very happy about how creamy this dish was! This was perfect comfort food (even though I skipped the crumb topping).

A tangle of sautéed summer squash ribbons on a square white plate.
America’s Test Kitchen
7 of 10

Sauteed Summer Squash Ribbons

Delicate cooked squash needs little embellishment; a quick, tangy vinaigrette of extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and lemon and a sprinkle of fresh parsley round out the flavors. We like a mix of summer squash and zucchini, but you can use just one or the other.
Two white plates topped with zucchini and fennel salad.
Laura Edwards
8 of 10

Zucchini and Fennel Salad

Simple, easy, and healthy. What more could you want from a summer side?

I loved this zucchini and fennel salad recipe! It was delicious, simple, beautiful, light, and healthy! I wouldn’t change a thing.

The interesting ingredients really took this salad up a notch. It was so easy to make but was beautiful enough to serve guests.

kaitlyn n.
A spider spoon with a fried summer squash in it being set onto a cooling rack.
Ben Fink
9 of 10

Summer Squash Fritters

This is the perfect recipe for when you have too many squash and not enough things to do with them. These fritters are great with a grating of pecorino cheese over the top while warm.
A square of chocolate zucchini cake with buttercream frosting on a square of parchment with a fork standing up in the center of the cake.
Amanda Rettke
10 of 10

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Buttercream Frosting

You can enjoy this rich and indulgent chocolate zucchini cake with or without the buttercream frosting. Either way, it's excellent.

My family RAVED about this cake. I bake a cake weekly, and this recipe won top honors from my three picky children. Be sure to grate the zucchini finely to produce a silky crumb. Make this soon–you won’t regret it!

bonnie m.

Zucchini and Summer Squash FAQs

can you freeze summer squash?

Yes, you can. Since raw squash can become watery after thawing, we recommend blanching it before freezing.

To prepare squash for freezing, wash and slice it into 1/2-inch pieces. Blanch the squash in boiling water for 3 minutes, then immediately immerse it in an ice-water bath. Drain well, stash in a freezer bag, and store for up to 6 months in the freezer.

Can you eat Summer Squash raw or do it need to be cooked?

All varieties of summer squash can be enjoyed raw and are often spiralized to be served as zucchini slaw or zucchini noodles, also known as zoodles. It can also be thinly shaved for a shaved vegetable salad or as a low-carb wrap.

what’s the difference between summer and winter squash?

Summer squash is thin-skinned and needs to be enjoyed or preserved within a few days of harvesting. Winter squash have thicker skin, making them ideal for longer-term storage. Summer squash plants also tend to be more abundant than their winter counterparts.

do you need to peel zucchini?

Nope. The skin of all summer squash is edible and full of nutrients, so it’s beneficial to leave it on. Simply give your zucchini a good rinse, and cut off and discard the stem before preparing it.

Still looking for more zucchini and summer squash recipes? Try pickling zucchini, making it into a snackable zucchini pizza bake, or tossing it on the grill and smothering it in bright mint salsa.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

8 Recipes for Fresh Peaches

Whether you’ve got a glut of peaches to use up or you simply can’t resist anything with peaches, you’re going to want to try each of these 8 incredible recipes that make the most of the irresistible summer stone fruit.

2 hrs 20 mins

10 Beach Picnic Food Ideas

Heading out to enjoy a day at the beach? Let us help you fill your cooler with the tastiest dishes you can imagine.

15 mins

7 No-Churn Ice Cream Recipes

No ice cream maker? No problem. These no-churn ice cream recipes require just a little stirring and a brief stint in the freezer before you can indulge in homemade ice cream bliss.

4 hrs 15 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *