Grown Too Much Zucchini? Here’s A Zillion Ways to Use Up Your Extra Summer Squash

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Ways to Use Up Too Much Zucchini

Every year it astounds me just how much zucchini one single plant can grow, and then moments later, I find myself with WAY too much zucchini and no idea how to use it all up before it goes off.

And I hate wasting food, especially food that I’ve grown myself, so I’ve been experimenting with and exploring all the different ways you can use up your extra zucchini (also known as “summer squash”).

When you have too much zucchini, you can eat it in a huge range of recipes, including slices, burgers, noodles, stir-fries and salads, and as sides, snacks, spreads and desserts. You can preserve zucchini by freezing, drying or canning, or you can give (or sell) it to friends, family and neighbours.

Let’s dive into all the different ways you can use up your surplus zucchini harvest.

What to do when you have WAY too much zucchini

In my experience, using up a deluge of zucchini requires more than one approach and LOT of creativity.

There’s only so many zucchini-packed meals you can eat each day (trust me, I know!), so along with cooking up lots of zucchini recipes, you’re probably also going to want to store some of it for later, and maybe even share some of your bounty with others.

Are you ready to dive in? Let’s do this!

1. Eat lots of zucchini

The most obvious thing to do with an abundance of zucchini is to eat it.

I’m guessing that one of the reasons you grew your zucchini in the first place was to make yourself a little more self-sufficient with your food.

That’s one of the awesome things about growing your own food – you start to understand about eating foods that are in season, when they’re in season, and boy, has zucchini season arrived at your house!

So get ready to eat a lot of zucchini. Lots and LOTS of zucchini.

Happily it goes well in a huge variety of dishes, both savoury and sweet.

Here’s a great selection of recipes to inspire you. Use these as a starting point, and adapt recipes or go searching for healthier / vegan / paleo / keto equivalents and you’ll be cooking up a storm in no time.

1.1 Zucchini main dishes

Zucchini goes perfectly in lots of savoury dishes, and making it the star of your lunch and dinner is also one of the best ways to consume the maximum amount of zucchini in the shortest space of time.

Zucchini slice

This is a very common dish here in Australia, and comes in both egg-filled and vegan versions, in the form of a dense, nutritious slice. Either way it’s delicious, filling and uses up lots of zucchini.

Zucchini fritters and burgers

Some zucchini fritters and burgers can be more than half zucchini, and zucchini always tastes awesome fried, so you really can’t go wrong with these! We love to cook ours over the grill on our fire pit.

Zucchini frittata

A frittata is a rich, egg-based baked dish, a bit like a quiche without a crust, and suits the inclusion of zucchini perfectly.

Zucchini meatballs

Zucchini “meatballs” are a great way to use up zucchini, and great for Meatless Monday. They also make awesome finger food or snacks!

Zucchini lasagna

Layering tons of thinly sliced zucchini with a tomato sauce and cheese, in place of the usual pasta, is a great way to use up heaps of zucchini while enjoying a lower carbohydrate version of your favourite comfort food.

Stuffed zucchini

Scoop out the middle of a halved zucchini, and fill it with cheese, breadcrumbs, herbs, spices, risotto or whatever takes your fancy. Flexible and filling!

Zucchini noodles (AKA zoodles)

Zucchini actually works really well as a spaghetti substitute, and you don’t even need to cook it. Just turn it into pasta-like strips using a vegetable peeler or spiraliser, and you have a healthy, nutritious base for your favourite pasta sauce.

Zucchini pizza

Zucchini goes well on top of pizzas, as well as in the pizza base. Incorporating it into pizza is a great way to make zucchini seem less boring!

1.2 Zucchini sides

Adding a side of delicious zucchini to any meal will help you work your way through your mounds of zucchini even faster. And why not pair one of these zucchini sides with a zucchini main dish for even more zucchini madness?

Fried zucchini

Simple and delicious, just fry up slices or cubes of zucchini and you’ll be enjoying a tasty dish in no time at all.

Zucchini stir-fry

Zucchini also works really well in a quick and easy stir-fry, to which you can add your favourite seasonings or sauces.


Zucchini is great for adding more “green” to a salad, and is incredibly versatile, as you can see by this selection of zucchini salad recipes.

Grilled zucchini

Split a zucchini in half lengthways, and grill it until it’s golden brown under your kitchen grill plate or broiler, or throw it on the barbecue!

Roasted / baked zucchini

Add some zucchini chunks to an oven tray, along with your favourite vegetables for roasting, or your usual Sunday roast, and enjoy the golden, tasty chunks of goodness that emerge from the oven.

1.3 Zucchini snacks

Turn your excess zucchini into a wide variety of tasty snacks, so you never have an excuse not to be eating zucchini.

Zucchini fries

Cut your zucchini into chunky sticks, coat with spices, cheese or breadcrumbs and bake until golden and delicious. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and super healthy all ’round.

Zucchini chips

Slice up your zucchini, toss with oil, spices or your favourite flavours, and oven bake or dry until crunchy. It doesn’t get much easier than this.

Zucchini tater tots

Zucchini combines with egg, potato or sweet potato to make the most moreish snacks ever. You can add all kinds of herbs and spices or keep them super simple. Either way, they won’t last very long.

Zucchini rounds / bites

Turn your zucchini bounty into healthy finger food, by slicing them into rounds, topping with your favourite foods and oven baking them or eating them raw.

Zucchini roll-ups

Roll up raw or grilled strips of zucchini around your favourite fillings for a quick, tasty and healthy snack. Also great for finger food, appetisers and parties.

Zucchini butter

Turning your zucchini into a decadent spread for your bread and crackers is wonderfully creative and fabulously delicious. An easy and tasty way to eat more zucchini.

Zucchini dips

Zucchini also works really well in a wide range of dips – from hummus, to spicy roasted dips and fresh tomato creations. There’s lots of possibilities here for you to explore.

1.4 Zucchini desserts

Believe it or not, zucchini goes really well in a huge number of sweet dishes, so you can satisfy your sweet tooth and eat even more zucchini, guilt free!

Zucchini bread

A cross between cake and bread, zucchini bread takes zucchini in a sweeter direction, similar to banana bread, and makes a hearty, comforting snack at any time of day (or night).

Zucchini muffins

What better way to enjoy eating heaps of zucchini than with these delicious zucchini muffins, in both sweet and savoury versions? With zucchini muffins, the options are truly endless, so have fun experimenting.

Zucchini brownies

The classic brownie recipes gets a healthy makeover with these delicious zucchini brownie recipes. Whatever diet they’re made to suit, these brownies are sweet, rich and decadent, just like a brownie should be.

1.5 Zucchini drinks

Have you ever considered drinking your zucchinis? Probably not!

But with such a high water content, zucchinis are perfect for juicing and smoothies, and even wine. Experiment with different blends of fruits and vegetables to find your favourite combination.

2. Store your zucchinis for later

If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably reach a point somewhere about halfway through zucchini season, where you just can’t keep up!

Or maybe you’ve just eaten so much zucchini that it’s coming out of your ears, and you just want to do something different with it.

Either way, this might be a good time to look at storing some of your zucchini for later use, and there’s a few different ways to do this.

2.1 Freezing zucchini

Grate and freeze zucchini for baking

One of the easiest ways to store zucchini for the longer-term is to grate it and freeze it.

And the beauty of this method is that you don’t even need to blanch it first. Just grate, freeze and store it for up to a year.

You can easily thaw your grated zucchini later on when you need it by leaving it overnight in the fridge.

You can also use this to store your zucchini noodles (zoodles) for later use.

You’ll need to strain out some of the excess water that comes out of it, but then it’s ready to add to zucchini slice, muffins, breads, and anything else that uses shredded zucchini.

Blanch zucchini slices and freeze

If you don’t want to shred your zucchini, you can also store it in slices, ready to add later to soups, stews, smoothies, sauces, dips and stir fries.

To stop it going soft as it thaws, you’ll need to blanch it first in boiling water for a few minutes and then cool it in an ice bath before freezing. This also slows the discolouration of the zucchini.

Stored like this, your zucchini should keep in the freezer for up to a year.

2.2 Drying zucchini

With such a high water content, zucchini dries down really well in a dehydrator, and helps it store for the long-term.

I’m also a big fan of drying methods for preserving, because they don’t require much space to store or any electricity to keep them fresh.

Depending on the form you dry your zucchini in, you can rehydrate it and use it for a wide range of purposes – baking, stews, noodles – and you can also eat them dry – as chips or jerky – and you can also turn your zucchinis into flour.

How cool is that?

2.3 Canning zucchini

Pickled zucchini

Zucchini pickles are tasty and great for adding to all kinds of dishes – on bread, with cheese, in salads and more.

Zucchini relish

Zucchini relish like your grandmother used to make it! Sweet, tangy and full of flavour, it’s great for canning for long-term storage and also great as a gift.

Zucchini chutney

Zucchini chutney has that extra sweetness, and a variety of flavours from the mustard, ginger and pimentos. Goes with almost anything – beef, sausages, in sandwiches and more.

Zucchini salsa

Salsa is a great addition to a meal, whether in the canned or fresh variety. Use these recipes to create the perfect salsa to go with your meal.

Zucchini marmalade

Did you know that you can make marmalade with zucchini? The addition of lemons, oranges and ginger to zucchini, makes for a sweet and delicious spread.

Fermented zucchini

Fermenting zucchini is another great way to keep your zucchini harvest working hard for you throughout the year.

Phew! So many delicious zucchini recipes. Are you all zucchini-ed out yet?

And we haven’t even mentioned ratatouille, zucchini gratin, or zucchini soup. So there’s even more to explore.

Maybe you’re starting to regret the day you planted your zucchini seeds…

Massive Zucchini Plant

Before you give up all hope, here’s a few more ways to use up your extra zucchini.

3. Share your zucchinis with others

If your shelves are full of dried and canned zucchini, bags of shredded zucchini keep falling out of your freezer, and you just can’t stand to eat another bite of zucchini slice, then it might be time to consider sharing your bounty.

And there’s a few different ways you can do this.

3.1 Give your zucchinis away

The simplest way to reduce your ever growing zucchini pile is to simply give away zucchinis to anyone and everyone.

During zucchini season, we regularly walk around our neighbourhood, donating zucchinis to our neighbours. In the USA, there’s even a day, August 8th, dedicated to offloading your excess zucchini onto your neighbours: “National Sneak Some Zucchini On Your Neighbour’s Porch Day”.

You could also leave a box or basket of squash at the top of your driveway with a sign inviting people who walk past to take what they can eat.

Everyone loves the free, fresh, organic produce and we build stronger connections in our community. It’s win-win!

You can also take some with you any time you visit friends or family, and just hope they’re not also growing their own summer squash.

And you can also look for local barter or food swap groups in your area, where you all turn up on a regular day with your excess produce, and swap your zucchinis from some different fresh veggies from someone else’s garden.

You might even be able to find local restaurants, cafes, soup kitchens or charities that would be delighted to receive fresh produce for free.

We used a very creative way to get rid of our excess zucchini many years ago – we were having a party and played a “guess the weight of the zucchini” game and whoever got the winning guess got to take the zucchini home. Brilliant!

And of course, all of this also applies to any zucchini preserves you’ve made – a jar of zucchini relish or zucchini pickles would make a fantastic birthday, Christmas or housewarming present.

3.2 Sell your extra zucchinis

If you’re feeling a bit enterprising, you could also look at ways to make a little extra money from your zucchini-growing success.

If your neighbours aren’t already too zucchini-ed up from your previous efforts, they might be willing to buy extra zucchinis from you, especially if they’ve gotten used to using them in everything.

Or you could set up a stand in your driveway offering fresh, organic zucchinis for low prices. Just check that your local laws allow for this.

You might even be able to strike up an arrangement with your local independent greengrocer or CSA (community supported agriculture) operation to take your excess produce off your hands for a small profit.

If you have a lot more produce than you can eat, and enough variety, you could even attend a farmers market and sell your vegetables there, although there can be a fee to attend and a few more hoops to jump through.

Equally, if you have a regular supply of excess zucchini, you might be able to find a cafe or restaurant that’s willing to buy your produce when it’s in season, but you’ll need to crack out your business and negotiating skills to make this arrangement work for everyone.

You may also be able to sell your zucchini preserves in some of these same situations, although vegetables that have been prepared in some way are usually subject to additional food handling and other regulations, so again, check with your local government department before heading down this path.

4. Get creative with your zucchinis

If you’ve reached the point where you just can’t find anything else to do with your zucchinis (or you just can’t be bothered, like me), then maybe it’s time to get a little artsy-crafty with your zucchini stack.

Yes, it might feel a little wasteful not to be actually eating them, but at least they’re being put to good use.

4.1 Zucchini stamps

Use slices of zucchini to carve out shapes to use for painting and stamping onto paper. A great way to make low-cost, unique wrapping paper or just keep the kids occupied.

4.2 Zucchini race cars

Add a pair of wheels to a zucchini, decorate it anyway you like, and have yourself some instant zucchini racing cars that will keep the kids (and maybe even the adults) entertained for hours.

4.3 Zucchini boats

Take a large zucchini, scoop out the middle, decorate it with flags or a sail, and then set your zucchini boat afloat on the nearest creek, dam or puddle.

4.4 Zucchini people

Create instant dolls, or just “dress sup” your zucchini donations by turning them into little people. Add clothes and faces to make an adorable toy or (mostly) edible gift.

4.5 Zucchini carving

Demonstrate your artistic prowess (or lack thereof) by cracking out a zucchini and carving it. You can do a simple jack-o-lantern face or get horribly and wonderfully creative. The sky’s the limit! A great activity for kids too.

The best way to store fresh zucchini in the short-term

When you have a lot of zucchini piling up in your kitchen, what’s the best way to store it so it stays fresh and ready for you to use in whatever way you choose next?

Here’s some tips on keeping your zucchini fresh until you’re ready to use it:

  1. The most important thing for storing zucchini is to leave them whole and unwashed, and keep them as dry as possible
  2. Let the air circulate around them to reduce the chances of mould, so leave the ends of any bags open
  3. If you have space, store your zucchinis in the fridge, preferably in the crisper drawer. They can be stored at room temperature on the bench, but they’ll go soft faster like this.

Stored like this, fresh zucchini should keep for one or two weeks, but if they start to soften or wilt at any point, use them straight away.

What happens if I eat zucchini every day?

Zucchini is a very nutritious food, full of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients, and is an excellent part of any diet.

Eating zucchini daily can provide the following benefits:

Eating zucchini every day will provide your body with key nutrients, potentially address specific health problems and support your overall well-being, meaning that you’ll end up healthier, so long as you’re not adding too many other less healthy foods to your zucchini dishes.

Here’s some more health benefits of zucchini:

Can you eat too much zucchini?

With so much zucchini goodness floating around your home, is it possible to eat too much zucchini?

Happily, because zucchini has such a high water content, it tends to be a very filling food, so if you’re eating a dish that is primarily made up of zucchini, such as zucchini noodles or a zucchini stir-fry, you’ll fill up quickly and be unlikely to eat too much of it.

Because of the relatively high amount of both soluble and insoluble fibre in zucchini, people with sensitive digestive systems or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may experience stomach cramps, nausea or diarrhoea if they eat a lot of zucchini.

However, with 1 gram of fibre per 100g, you would have to eat over 2 kilograms (4.5 pounds) of zucchini to exceed the recommended daily intake of fibre of 20 to 35g per day (depending on age and gender). Keep in mind that any time you eat more fibre than your body is used to, you may experience bloating, flatulence (gas) or other discomfort, but this will soon pass.

If you binge on zucchini you may also find that your stomach stretches to accommodate the extra volume of food, but this will adjust back when you return to eating normal volumes of food.

If you pair your zucchini with less healthy foods, like cheese, chocolate or sugar, then eating too many of these dishes could be bad for your health, but the issue here would not be with the amount of zucchini you’re eating, but the other foods you’re eating alongside it.

As with any diet, it’s important to eat a variety of foods over a few days, to ensure that your body gets all of the nutrients it needs, but that shouldn’t stop you from adding zucchini to your meals wherever possible, if you have a surplus of it, because it really is hard to eat too much of it.

Ready to use up that extra zucchini?

By now you should have a much better idea of the many different ways you can make sure that your surplus zucchini doesn’t go to waste.

You can eat it in a million different ways, you can preserve it and you can share Mother Nature’s bounty with everyone around you.

So get into the kitchen and start whipping up some delicious dishes with your mountains of zucchini, or sneak yet another bag of zucchini onto your neighbour’s porch, and you’ll get rid of that endless zucchini in no time at all!

Let me know in the comments below what your favourite way is to use up excess zucchini.


These resources are also included in the article above and will help you explore the topic in more depth:

Ways to Use Up Lots of Zucchini

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I grew up on a farm in the Yarra Valley, east of Melbourne, Australia, with a father who loved growing veggies and a collection of farm animals that we raised, including cows, goats, chickens, dogs and more. Since then, no matter where I've lived, I've always found a patch of dirt to grow some food. One day we might move back to a farm, but for now I love finding new and creative ways to be self-sufficient, and turn our suburban home into a homestead.

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