Recipe: Have a surplus of zucchini? Stir up a batch of Mediterranean zucchini

Stuffed zucchini boats.

Stuffed zucchini boats.


Summer’s glorious bounty yields so many mouth-watering treasures, including juicy, plump tomatoes, crisp, colorful peppers, tender lettuces and superbly scented herbs. But of all these highly-anticipated annual crops, perhaps the most prolific is zucchini.

Zucchini plants are a fine sight to behold in the garden. Often reaching colossal dimensions, the indestructible zucchini plant is capable of producing quite a multitude of fruit each season. One moment its glossy green leaves are shielding slim shoots protruding from bright yellow blossoms. But seemingly within 24 hours, baby zucchini become enormous interlopers.

Gardeners have long succumbed to slightly suspect methods of sharing their zucchini wealth. Should your mailbox be graced with a grocery sack of zucchini, go forth and cook! Zucchini of all sizes have their place in the kitchen. The most tender will be no more than 6 to 8 inches in length, with a glossy skin, and firm to the touch. These little beauties are well suited to salads, slaws, stir fries and the latest kitchen craze; spiralizing into “noodles.” For a sublimely simple snack, serve raw zucchini strips alongside a zucchini, mint and yogurt dip.

Larger squash love to be baked, grilled, or steamed. Try pairing with eggs, flavorful fresh herbs such as dill, tarragon and basil and some good, sharp cheese for a satisfying summer frittata.

Prepare a luscious alfresco lunch by stuffing zucchini. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, scoop out an inch deep cavity, then chop that zucchini and combine with minced garlic, breadcrumbs, chopped tomato and fresh mozzarella, place back in the cavity, drizzle olive oil over, then bake until tender.

If your zucchini are more in the range of small baseball bat proportions, have no fear! Oversize squash are perfect for grating and reinterpreting as tender zucchini bread, fritters, crepes, pancakes, cupcakes and chocolate zucchini cake.

This wonderfully versatile and healthy crop contains only 25 calories per small zucchini, is low in sodium, is cholesterol free, and is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. Leave the thin skin on for all preparations, it’s a good source of dietary fiber. Store unwashed zucchini in a plastic bag in the veggie compartment of the refrigerator, for no more than three days for optimal freshness.

Mediterranean Zucchini

Serves 4

2 tbsp extra- virgin olive oil

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and very well drained

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 medium zucchini, washed and chopped

2 cups water or vegetable broth

1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 medium tomato, washed and finely chopped

1 sweet yellow pepper, washed and finely chopped

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup chopped olives-any kind you like

2 tbsp minced fresh basil

2 tbsp minced fresh parsley

1 tbsp minced fresh oregano

1 tbsp minced fresh mint

1 tbsp red wine or white wine vinegar


Freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add quinoa and garlic. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly until quinoa is lightly browned. Stir in zucchini and water or broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, let cool for a few minutes, then stir in all remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Can be served immediately or refrigerated for several hours.

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook,” writes about preparing a delicious life and presents healthy food workshops throughout New England. She is a professional cook, organic gardener and a graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teachers College.