Zucchini

Grilled Zucchini and Herbed Ricotta Sandwiches

I planted a second round of tomatoes in the garden last week. And while I was at it, I went ahead and stuck a new zucchini plant in.

Because this is the first year I haven’t wanted to wretch at the mere sound of “zucchini” before the 4th of July. I seriously cannot get enough of it. And I haven’t even made zucchini bread, the sure sign that Zucchini Fatigue has set in, once.

(Muffins are a different story. For next week.)

But this dish. Pure zucchini amazingness. I took my favorite summer side dish (that has already gotten the sandwich treatment plenty this summer) and gave it the Annie’s Eats sandwich treatment: served on some crusty ciabatta with a beautifully simple and creamy herbed ricotta.

I made my own ricotta. You don’t have to. But I highly recommend it. Because it takes like 20 minutes, a candy thermometer, and some $3 cheesecloth.

And your 4 year old will look at you with complete wide-eyed amazement because she just helped you make cheese. “Real cheese but it’s cheese that we eat with a spoon.” (And eat with a spoon she will until you take it away.)

Grilled Zucchini and Herbed Ricotta Sandwiches

Creamy herbed ricotta and grilled vegetables served on crusty, grilled ciabatta bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb zucchini, sliced into 1/3-inch rounds
  • 1 red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + more for spraying/brushing
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup ricotta
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3-4 large basil leaves, minced
  • 1 lb loaf of ciabatta

Instructions

  1. Heat grill to medium.
  2. Carefully thread the onion rounds onto skewers (this will keep them in tact as rounds while grilling), making sure the skewer goes through every onion ring.
  3. Brush onions and zucchini rounds with 1/4 cup olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill vegetables 9-10 minutes each side, until nicely caramelized.
  5. Cut the ciabatta loaf in half horizontally and lightly spray/brush with olive oil - transfer to the grill for 1-2 minutes until crisped.
  6. Stir the ricotta with the lemon juice and zest, garlic, and basil leaves in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Spread ricotta over the bottom half and top with zucchini and red onion slices.
  8. Spread any remaining ricotta on the top half of the bread, place on top, and then cut into serving sizes (smaller for appetizer; larger for entree).

Notes

Yields: Servings vary

Adapted from Annie's Eats

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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Grilled Zucchini and Red Onion Sandwich

You can do a lot of amazing things with zucchini. You can bread it and bake it for the faux-fry treatment. And then dip in ranch. Because the answer is always ranch (when it’s not margarita).

Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries

You can caramelize it in some bacon grease [swoon] and toss it into a peppery, velvety smooth carbonara for what is quite possibly the best pasta dish you’ll make all summer.

Zucchini Carbonara

But my all-time favorite for the last few years? Grilling it with red onions and topping with a simple, insanely versatile, you-have-all-these-ingredients-already vinaigrette.

Grillzed Zucchini & Red Onions

I make the grilled zucchini twice a week and eat it most nights as our veggie side. And most days, I pile the leftovers onto a chunk of baguette with a smear of mayo and a dizzle of vinaigrette, pop it under the broiler with some cheese, and call it lunch.

It’s my favorite summer lunch. My favorite summer sandwich.

And it’s pretty close to the best thing that could ever happen to zucchini.

Grilled Zucchini & Red Onion Sandwich

Summery sandwich made with grilled zucchini and red onions, topped with a lemon basil vinaigrette.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Spread mayo on the bread and pile high with zucchini and red onions.
  3. Take a spoonful or two of leftover vinaigrette from the bowl and spoon over top.
  4. Top with cheese and broil for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted.
  5. Cut in half to make 2 sandwiches; serve hot.

Notes

Yields: 2 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 10 minutes

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Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries

I’m sad to report that our two rockstar zucchini plants fell victim to their nemisis: the vine borer. I’ve started a couple of new seedlings in hopes of being run over by zucchini again soon. Because I really do want more zucchini. But prior to their demise, they teamed-up and tested my love for zucchini. We were harvesting 5-7 gigantic zucchini a week.

When you’re over-run with zucchini, you have few other options than to get creative and deal with it. Or give them to friends and family, when they aren’t avoiding you and your mutant zucchini. We’ve eaten it for breakfast (the Foodie Toddler’s favorite), grilled (my favorite), in pasta (The Foodie Groom’s favorite), and zucchini parmesan (a house favorite). We repurposed that last dish into baked zucchini fries.

The coating on the zucchini fries gets very crispy in the oven while the insides get soft. You know, kinda like a real french fry… only not. Everyone in this house loves them! I prefer them dipped in a little ranch dressing, The Foodie Groom wants a bowl of marinara, and the kiddo? She just wants more. “Muh. Muh! MUUHHH!!!!”

What’s your favorite way to eat zucchini?

Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries

A fun way to serve zucchini - as crispy zucchini fries!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb zucchini, cut into 4-5-inch sticks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment (or whatever non-stick method you prefer).
  2. Place flour in a large zipper bag.
  3. Whisk eggs with 2 Tbsp water and place in a shallow dish.
  4. Place Panko, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish and mix to combine.
  5. Place zucchini in the bag with the flour and shake until well coated. Dip the zucchini into the egg and then into the panko, turning to coat well.
  6. Place breaded zucchini on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  8. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce (we like ranch... and barbecue sauce).
  9. They're best the first day, but to store leftovers, store in a single layer on a plate, wrapped with ziploc. Reheat at 375 degrees for 5-7 minutes, until heathed through.

Notes

Yields: 6 servings (8 pieces)

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

Nutritional Information
Calories: 108.8 | Fat: 2.4 | Fiber 1.7 | Protein 5.2 | Carbs 16.3
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 3

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Grilled Zucchini & Red Onion with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Our garden continues to crank out zucchini like there’s no tomorrow. Luckily, “we” like zucchini! One of our favorite sides is grilled zucchini. But not just plain grilled zucchini. Noooo. We grew tired of plain grilled zucchini very soon after our plants started producing 3 baseball-bat sized zucs a day.

Grilling the zucchini caramelizes the rounds and adds a wonderful smokiness to the veggie. Paired with red onions that are incredibly sweet when grilled and a simple vinaigrette, they’re the perfect side dish for a weekend cook-out or barbecue.

Grilled Zucchini & Red Onion with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Smokey grilled zucchini and red onions are topped with a fresh summery vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb zucchini, sliced into 1/3-inch rounds
  • 1 red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 3-4 large basil leaves, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat grill to medium.
  2. Carefully thread the onion rounds onto skewers (this will keep them in tact as rounds while grilling), making sure the skewer goes through every onion ring.
  3. Brush onions and zucchini rounds with 1/4 cup olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill vegetables 9-10 minutes each side, until nicely caramelized.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk garlic, lemon juice, zest, mustard, oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper together.
  6. Place cooked vegetables on a platter, drizzle with dressing, and top with chopped basil leaves.

Notes

Yields: 4-6 servings

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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