Since we’ve lived here, we haven’t had great production from squash varieties of all sorts. This is really the first year that we’ve had to deal with the gluttony of squash that so many gardeners deal with every August. I think it might have something to do with us being completely chemical free in our lawn for the third year straight. I can’t help but think that bees and other pollinators prefer a more natural environment. Between our CSA share and our garden’s production, I’m having to get quite creative with how to use my zucchini.

I have a confession to make: I do not love zucchini. I don’t dislike it. It just isn’t my favorite. A surplus of cucs or peppers or cherry tomatoes? Yes please! But I just don’t crave zucchini, so I’ve had to get a bit creative this year since I have so much of it laying around. Here are a few recipes we’ve enjoyed lately in case you’re having trouble using up squash too:

Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Adapted from A Couple Cooks

Ingredients
2-3 zucchini and/or yellow squash (using different varieties is prettier)
1/4 cup red onion, diced finely
Handful of cherry or grape tomatoes
Parmesan cheese as garnish
For dressing
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red paper flakes
Handful fresh oregano (or basil would be delicious, but we were all out)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Using a vegetable peeler (or mandoline if you have one. I don’t…could one of you drop a hint to Grant?), thinly slice/peel the squash lengthwise. When/if the squash gets seedy toward the middle, compost the rest of the core.
2. Place the ribbons in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain under cold water and pat dry.
3. Mix the dressing ingredients in a Ball jar and shake vigorously (with the lid on!) to combine.
4. Assemble the ribbons onto salad plates and garnish with diced red onions and cherry tomatoes. Pour about a tablespoon or two of the dressing on each salad and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Roasted Ratatouille
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Side note: this cookbook is quickly becoming one of my favorite go-to cookbooks. Cook’s Illustrated has rarely steered me wrong, and this cookbook is no exception.

Ingredients
2-3 sweet peppers
2 eggplants, peeled
2 zucchini and/or summer squash
1 large red onion
4-5 cloves of garlic
2-3 medium ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup marinara sauce (use your favorite recipe – I’ll share mine soon)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Handful of fresh herbs – whatever you have on hand. I used basil, oregano and rosemary. Dried would work here too, but the roasted fresh herbs put this dish over the top.

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour two tablespoons of olive oil in a 9×13 glass baking dish and set in the oven to preheat along with the oven.
2. Slice all of the vegetables into similarly-sized shapes  – the onions and peppers into about quarter inch strips; dice the eggplant, squash and tomatoes into small cubes. Dump all of the cut vegetables into a large bowl. Mince two cloves of garlic and add them along with the other whole cloves of garlic to the bowl. Add the herbs, marinara sauce and remaining olive oil and mix gently, just until combined.
3. Once the oven is preheated, remove the baking dish and dump the vegetable mixture into the baking dish, spreading the vegetables evenly across the pan. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
4. Serve over pasta, rice, quinoa (as we did) or the grain of your choice. Garnish with some Parmesan cheese and enjoy.

Ratatouille is a great way to use up all of those August vegetables. I’ve tried freezing it and reheating it for those cold, dark winter nights, but it definitely tastes better the day it was made.

Garden Gazpacho

I just completely made this up a few weeks ago because we had lots of veggies that needed to be used up before we went out of town for a few days. It tastes a little like gazpacho, but I’ve been eating it for breakfast, which totally grosses out Grant.

Ingredients
2 tomatoes
1 carrot
1 hot pepper, stem removed
1 green pepper, seeded
1 cucumber
1 zucchini/summer squash
Handful of kale
Splash of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. I have a Vita-Mix (don’t get me started on my Vita-Mix), so I just throw all of those ingredients in the blender and let it go. It turns everything to mush in just a few seconds. If you’re using a regular blender or food processor, you probably will want to cut up all of the ingredients into smaller chunks before you blend.
2. This would make a tasty gazpacho appetizer, along with some homemade bread or croutons. Or if you want to be really adventurous like me, you can start off your day with one of these! It makes enough for two or three, but even if you split it, it’s close to a whole day’s worth of veggies in one stop.

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