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Sustainable Life: Zucchini eight ways

Mia Swainson

This is the time of year where zucchini plants know no boundaries. 

Zucchini flowers and their fruit just keep coming and coming… and coming. Ooops, I missed a zucchini and now it’s a massive marrow. Groan. What am I going to do with the generosity of this blessing?

It’s official. This is the most likely time of year for a Canberra garden vegetable glut. Having a glut is a good thing. Better than not having enough. The best thing for a glut of zucchinis is inspiration.

Here are eight fresh ideas for preserving and cooking that will inspire your love for the marvellous zucchini.

Chutney

Preserving is a great way to enjoy your zucchini’s in those cold winter months. Chutney can turn any cheese sandwich into something special. They also make lovely gifts for friends. My favourite chutney is a family recipe.

We dice about 1.8kg of zucchini and six onions, then combine them in a large saucepan with 500g of sugar, 1 tablespoon of salt, half a teaspoon of curry powder, two teaspoons of mustard powder and 2 cups of white vinegar.

Bring this to the boil, for 30mins – 1hr. Longer for a thicker chutney. Bottle in sterilised jars.

Zucchini and green bean salad

This recipe is inspired by the Italian chef, Antonio Carluccio. I love the way it makes use of two vegetables that are in your garden at the same time.

Bring a pot of boiling water to the boil, add a pinch of salt. Meanwhile, slice three young zucchinis lengthwise into thick wedges. Trim the ends of about three handfuls of beans. Put the zucchini wedges and beans into boiling water and cook for 5 – 6 minutes. The zucchini should be

Put the zucchini wedges and beans into boiling water and cook for 5 – 6 minutes. The zucchini should be soft, but still retain its shape. To prepare the dressing, combine in a bowl: three garlic cloves (roughly chopped), half a bunch of mint leaves, half a cup of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Combine the hot, just cooked zucchinis and beans with the dressing. Leave the salad at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, so that the vegetables have time to absorb the flavour. Serve with fresh bread for lunch.

To prepare the dressing, combine in a bowl: three garlic cloves (roughly chopped), half a bunch of mint leaves, half a cup of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Combine the hot, just cooked zucchinis and beans with the dressing. Leave the salad at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, so that the vegetables have time to absorb the flavour. Serve with fresh bread for lunch.

Combine the hot, just cooked zucchinis and beans with the dressing. Leave the salad at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, so that the vegetables have time to absorb the flavour. Serve with fresh bread for lunch.

Raw zucchini and lemon salad

Slice two or three young zucchinis into ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Extract the juice and zest of a large lemon. Combine the zucchini ribbons with the lemon juice and lemon zest in a bowl. Then thinly slice about 50g of parmesan cheese and crumble it over the bowl, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Zucchini stuffed with goat’s cheese

Make a lengthwise slit down the middle of your zucchinis and stuff them with goats cheese. Pop them onto individual pieces of lightly oiled foil. Sprinkle the zucchini with fresh, chopped mint, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up the foil, then bake your zucchini in a hot oven until it’s tender (about 30 minutes). You might also like to try this one on the BBQ or a campfire, baking the zucchini on hot embers.

Vegetable kebabs

It’s BBQ weather. I love vegetable kebabs on the barbie. They’re light, tasty and so good for you! My favourite kebabs are threaded with zucchini, red onion, haloumi cheese and red capsicum. I let them marinate in olive oil, a little lemon juice, salt and pepper of course!

Zucchini ‘pasta’

Have you ever tried a spiral slicer for your zucchinis? I love the way that our spiral slicer can turn something ordinary into something amazing with just a few twists.

On a hot night, I like to zucchini ‘pasta’ instead of spaghetti. To make your pasta sauce, chop up two cloves of garlic and saute them in a generous amount of olive oil. After a few minutes, add a small hand full of oregano leaves and can of tomatoes. Let this simmer for at least 10 minutes. Season with salt, sugar and pepper to your liking.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to the boil and make the zucchini ribbons from two large zucchinis with your spiral slicer. Plunge the zucchini ribbons into the boiling water for 30 seconds, to blanch and then drain the ribbons. Serve them in little mounds, topped with the tomato sauce and a generous helping of shaved parmesan cheese.

Grilled zucchini and capsicum

Start with the capsicum. Slice three red capsicum’s in half, lengthwise and put them under a hot grill. Leave the there until they char, about 20 minutes. The more charred, the easier they will be to peel. Remove them from the grill and stand them aside in a bowl to sweat and cool.

After they’re cool enough to touch, peel their skins. Slice the capsicums lengthwise, into thin strips. Meanwhile, slice three, large zucchinis lengthwise into pieces that are about 3mm thick and about as long as your capsicums. Brush with olive oil and grill them for about 10 minutes, or until they’re charring slightly. Allow them to cool, then combine the grilled zucchinis and capsicum.

Serve immediately as part of an antipasto, with a slight drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Alternatively, store them in a jar in the fridge with olive oil, salt, pepper and some chopped garlic.

Zucchini muffins

This is a school lunch box regular in our home. Tasty and brilliant for sneaking in some extra vegetables. Lightly beat three eggs and combine with a large zucchini (grated), a cup of olive oil, one and a half cups of wholemeal flour, three teaspoons of baking powder, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, two-thirds of a cup of brown sugar, half a cup of sunflower seeds and a cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen). Combine well. Line 12 – 16 muffin moulds with patty pans and fill with muffin mixture. Bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes.

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Mia Swainson

Mia Swainson is passionate about creating a more sustainable world and believes that everyone can make a difference. Trained as an environmental engineer, Mia has worked in sustainable development with the Australian Government and community sector for more than 15 years. Mia’s work has taken her around the world to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and back to Canberra. She currently tends her kitchen garden, cares for three young boys and is growing her executive coaching consultancy (miaswainson.com.au/wp). More about the Author

  • Ann-Elise Koerntjes

    Love the recipe ideas, especially as I’ve just been gifted two enormous zucchini!
    Something strange has happened to the formatting on the zucchini and green bean salad recipe, the instructions of the 2nd paragraph are repeated three times?

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