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Colorado Sun readers’ favorite zucchini recipes — from tuna cakes to pineapple muffins

Summer’s winding down, which means the backyard zucchini harvest is booming. Here are a couple dozen ideas for what to do with your squash bounty, from readers of The Sunriser newsletter.

Left: Zucchini-Pimiento Skillet Mac & Cheese (forgive my scorched pan). Right: SmittenKitchen's “Ultimate Zucchini Bread” and Marcie Haloin's pineapple zucchini muffins. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)

“My friends in the Midwest say you must keep your car windows rolled up to avoid unwanted zucchini deposits. Anonymously leaving zukes on someone’s doorstep is now called a door-dash, according to social media.”

Sunriser reader Julia Crocetto

QUICK LINKS: Salads & Sides | Entrees | Seafood | Soups | Camping Friendly | Breads | Cakes & Muffins

It’s late August and the great backyard zucchini harvest is well underway across Colorado.

Whether you’re picking them from your own garden, grabbing a bushel at a farmers’ market or having them forced into your life by neighbors, everyone has the same question: What the heck am I supposed to do with all of this squash?

I offhandedly asked the readers of The Colorado Sun’s daily newsletter The Sunriser (sign up here if you haven’t already!) for their favorite recipes and accidentally tapped into a vein of creativity and resourcefulness that took me — and my inbox — by surprise. I received photos of handwritten recipe cards, recipes that had been passed down but never written down, gems from the world of recipe blogs and even a song!

I’ve made three of these dishes so far (see the photo at the top of the page) from a single gigantic zucchini I found in a neighbor’s basket while walking my dog, but some of the recipes I received are so tempting that I may actually end up — gasp — buying some more zucchini just to try them out.

If you have a recipe of your own that would add to this culinary merry-go-round, send it my way and I’ll keep updating! 

QUICK LINKS: Salads & Sides | Entrees | Seafood | Soups | Camping Friendly | Breads | Cakes & Muffins


A CHARMING VIDEO TO KICK THINGS OFF

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  • Zucchini Dreamin’ — LINK📽
    “I know you didn’t ask for zucchini songs, but… This is my most requested song, and one I’m reworking in 2021 as a fundraiser for children’s hunger. ”
    — By Marilyn Walker

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SALADS & SIDES

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  • Grilled Zucchini  — LINK
    “I think this is the easiest recipe, and very delicious.”
    — By Cookie Murphy-Pettee
  • Crispy Fried Zucchini  — LINK
    — Submitted by MakersTeleMark
  • Jacques Pepin’s Quick RatatouilleLINK
    “If you want an easy ratatouille recipe that uses several other vegetables, I highly recommend Jacques Pepin’s recipe for Quick Ratatouille. Most everything is cooked at once, with the tomatoes added at the very end, so you don’t need multiple pots. The vegetables maintain some crunch and it really is easy. If you have leftovers you can heat them or not, and they’re good with oil cured olives as a garnish.”
    — Submitted by Faye Diamond
  • Oven-roasted Zucchini RoundsLINK
    — By Faye Diamond
  • Zucchini Caprese SaladLINK
    “My favorite way to eat late summer zucchinis! The recipe is definitely approximate. Enjoy!”
    — By Lauren Mehl
  • Three Herb Tomato Zucchini SaladLINK
    “I doubled the recipe, let it all marinate in the fridge overnight, and added two sets of mozzarella pearls right before book club to make it a bit more filling.  It was a huge hit and I’ll definitely be making it again soon (with all those tomatoes we’re about to harvest). ”
    — Submitted by Lisa Byington
  • Brined Grilled Zucchini with Mint Salsa VerdeLINK
    “Very well, challenge accepted!”
    — Submitted by Mark Cohen

ENTREES

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Things were going grate as I tried to process the 2-foot long squash I foolishly brought into my apartment. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)
  • Jammy Summer Squash Pasta With Basil And AnchoviesLINK
    “Here’s one of my favorite ‘I have way too much zucchini help what do I do’ recipes. Anchovies or not, summer squash or zucchini, 2 lbs, more lbs—it’s very adaptable. She has a great method of slowly cooking and breaking down zucchini until ‘jammy’ in butter, so you can use up tons and cook it down. Zucchini + butter + red pepper flakes + parmesan = chef’s kiss!”
    — Submitted by Maddie Richart
  • Skillet Mac & Cheese with Zucchini & PimientoLINK
    — Submitted by Chesney Christner
  • Roasted Chicken Thighs with Zucchini and Couscous  — LINK
    “A chicken-centric sheet-pan dinner.”
    — By Sara Hansen
  • Creamy Zucchini Fettuccine  — LINK
    “My new favorite way to use zucchini from my garden.”
    — Submitted by Mary Rogers
  • No-Recipe Stuffed Zucchini Recipe  — LINK
    “My stuffing has no real recipe but here goes.”
    — By Brenda Bender
  • Zucchini Lasagna  — LINK
    — Submitted by MakersTeleMark
  • Italian Zucchini Bake  — LINK
    — By Marci Haloin
  • Zucchini Feta Pancakes  — LINK
    — Submitted by JW Stephens
  • Zucchini Boats  — LINK
    — Submitted by Meg

SEAFOOD

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  • Zucchini Tuna (or Salmon) Cakes  — LINK
    “You will probably get a bunch of zucchini bread recipes, so I decided to send something a little different.”
    — By Betsy Cabell

SOUPS

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  • Quick Zucchini Soup — LINK 📽
    — By Mary Collette

CAMPING FRIENDLY

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  • Zucchini Parmesan Foil PacketsLINK
    “A camping-friendly yummy side dish.”
    — By Sara Hansen

BREADS

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  • Ultimate Zucchini Bread  — LINK
    “My favorite one bowl. Can split into 2 loaf pans even though the author doesn’t.”
    — Submitted by Susanna Kantor & Thy Vo
  • Blueberry Summer Squash BreadLINK
    “It sure looks like it will put a metric merde ton of zucchini to good use, if you’ll pardon my French. Slather some good butter on a slice of it toasted and I’m SURE it will be good.”
    — Submitted by Sarah Beatty
  • Chocolate Zucchini Bread
    “The best way to use a big (read: tasteless) zucchini is to put it to work in a sweet bread. My husband’s and my favorite recipe.” — By Lainie Miller

CAKES & MUFFINS

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  • Garden MuffinsLINK
    “It’s a bit different from straight up zucchini bread. I like muffins, because they freeze well and can be used in needed quantities. I made a couple of other modifications to make the recipe healthier and more flexible. I like a mixture of zucchini, carrots and apples in these muffins, but let’s be honest, has anyone ever left apples or even carrots in your car? Didn’t think so.”
    — By Marilyn Bay
  • Chocolate Zucchini Bundt CakeLINK
    “Espresso powder not necessary, you can use 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds.”
    — Submitted by Susanna Kantor
  • Superhero MuffinsLINK
    “Sneak more veggies in with a carrot. Recipe by NYC Marathon champ Shalane Flanagan.”
    — Submitted by Susanna Kantor
  • Mom’s Chocolate Zucchini CakeLINK
    — By Anne Whitis
  • Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes  — LINK
    “My family all loves this and thinks of it as regular cake. The zucchini makes it moist as heck and… what’s not miraculous about tucking a little vegetable into your chocolate? (Because you can’t do that with an avocado – I don’t care what they say – blech!) And all fool ourselves into thinking it’s super healthy because there’s a veggie in there, so we eat them for breakfast, lunch, snacks – all day long until they’re gone.”
    — Submitted by Alyssa Pinkerton
  • Test Kitchen Chocolate Zucchini Cake  — LINK
    “Here’s a zucchini recipe I tried over the weekend after being gifted a zucchini the size of a football. I didn’t believe it was possible, but yes, chocolate zucchini cake exists. It’s great, it makes a dense, chocolatey cake with no sign of the zucchini left, and you can tell yourself you’re eating a vegetable.”
    — Submitted by Carrie Vaughn
  • Pineapple Zucchini MuffinsLINK
    — By Marcie Haloin

We believe vital information needs to be seen by the people impacted, whether it’s a public health crisis, investigative reporting or keeping lawmakers accountable. This reporting depends on support from readers like you.