Zucchini is simply an elongated, cylindrical, usually green variety of summer squash.
In Season: Summer squash are in season during the summer, peaking at the end.
What to Look For: Look for summer squash that are firm and heavy for their size; the skin should be brightly colored and blemish-free. Because they are harvested earlier, smaller squash are more tender than larger ones and have thinner skins; choose squash that are less than eight inches long.
How to Store: Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to four days; do not wash until ready to use.
This Mediterranean-inspired recipe pairs juicy pork chops with tender zucchini that's topped with feta and lime. Letting the pork marinate all day ensures big, bold flavors, so prepare the pork in the morning and have dinner on the table in a snap that night. This recipe makes enough zucchini to use in Herbed Ricotta Pasta with Corn and Zucchini, but you can also use leftovers in a salad or prepare half the called-for amount of zucchini and skip the leftovers altogether.
In this hearty vegetable stew from Provence, onions, garlic, eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and canned diced tomatoes are simmered together, with fresh basil stirred in at the end of cooking. Serve the ratatouille as a vegetarian meal with crusty bread, as a side dish with fish or lamb, or as an addition to pasta or an omelet.
Make the filling for this frittata by sauteing zucchini, onion, and thyme until the liquid in the pan evaporates, ensuring the frittata won't be soggy. Pour a mixture of beaten eggs, milk, and shredded cheddar cheese into the pan and top with a decorative arrangement of sliced tomatoes before baking.
The vegetables in this quick gratin get a head start with a quick saute on the stove top. Cream and panko breadcrumbs are added, then the mixture is spooned into a baking dish, topped with Parmesan cheese and more breadcrumbs, and baked for just 10 minutes, until the topping is golden.
Saute zucchini, onion, minced garlic, and curry powder together, and then simmer with water and cubed potato to make this easy vegetarian soup. Once the potato is tender, puree the mixture until smooth and creamy, and serve hot or chilled, topped with toasted almonds.
Make this zucchini "spaghetti" recipe from Patricia Wells by slicing the squash on the julienne blade of a mandoline. Lightly salt the zucchini to draw out some of the moisture, squeeze dry, and toss with an irresistible dressing of cream, lemon juice, and minced chives.
There are no noodles to be found in this vegan, gluten-free "lasagna" that makes the most of ripe summer tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and basil. Grill the squash and tofu, then marinate in lemon-and-garlic-infused olive oil before layering with homemade pesto and fresh tomato slices.
A savory Parmesan pastry crust encloses sauteed shallot and zucchini, cherry tomatoes, lemon zest, basil, and miniature balls of fresh mozzarella (known as bocconcini). Serve this savory summer tart with a green salad for an elegant lunch or light dinner.
Add a touch of refinement to this light, cream-free gratin by arranging slices of zucchini, yellow squash, and leeks in a decorative spiral pattern. Top with a mixture of bread crumbs, minced garlic, thyme, and Parmesan cheese and bake until the vegetables are tender.
A mixture of cider vinegar, sugar, dry mustard, mustard seed, turmeric, and cumin creates a brilliantly hued sweet-savory brine for thinly sliced zucchini and onions. The pickled zucchini makes an out-of-the ordinary addition to burgers, sandwiches, and pasta salads.
Marinate thin ribbons of zucchini and red onion in lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil to make a creative sandwich condiment. It's delicious with shredded chicken (broil chicken cutlets or use leftovers) that's mixed with the zucchini, toasted almonds, and fresh parsley before being piled on Italian bread.
Marinate roasted zucchini slices in minced garlic, olive oil, and white-wine vinegar, and sprinkle with fresh mint leaves just before serving. Serve this flavorful side dish with grilled lamb or pack it in the picnic basket to enjoy with an assortment of cheeses and salumi.
Marinate thinly sliced raw zucchini in olive oil and lemon juice while you pan-sear boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Toss the zucchini and sliced chicken with fresh spinach, red onion, Parmesan cheese, pecans, and mint to complete this satisfying main-dish salad.
Make the ratatouille-inspired filling for these vegetarian wraps by seasoning eggplant, zucchini, and onion with thyme and oregano and roasting until golden. Combine the roasted vegetables with chickpeas and halved cherry tomatoes, and wrap in whole-wheat lavash with sliced mozzarella cheese.
Cook sliced yellow squash and frozen peas in the same pot of boiling water as gemelli pasta, and then toss everything with butter, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil. This one-pot vegetarian dinner is ready in less than half an hour.
Our favorite summer produce, including blanched haricots verts and yellow wax beans, toasted almonds, sauteed summer squash, mint, cilantro, thyme, and squash blossoms, mingle in this pasta dish. The dressing of honey, sherry vinegar, and jalapenos adds a nicely balanced sweet, spicy, and tangy kick.
Simmer fresh corn kernels, scallions, garlic, minced jalapeno, and sauteed zucchini and yellow squash in chicken stock just until the corn is tender, and then toss with cooked rocchetti or penne pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Grilled chicken makes a delicious addition to this colorful dish.
Saute zucchini, red onion, and garlic in a generous amount of olive oil before tossing with dried oregano, crushed red-pepper flakes, Gaeta or Nicoise olives, and cooked linguine. This out-of-the-ordinary vegetarian pasta recipe is courtesy of Pino Luongo and Mark Strausman, authors of "Two Meatballs in the Italian Kitchen."