NORTHWOODS COOKS: Delicious zucchini recipes

Using zucchini noodles in place of traditional pasta noodles when making lasagna creates a delicious main dish that is low in carbs, yet rich and flavorful. (Adobe Stock)

Whether from the garden or a farmer’s market, zucchini can be incorporated into a variety of main dish and dessert recipes. Here are a few to sample from

No Noodle Zucchini Lasagna

2 large zucchini

1 Tbsp. salt


1 lb. ground beef

1-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 small green bell pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

1 cup tomato paste

1 (16-oz.) can tomato sauce

1/4 cup red wine

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil


1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano

1/4 cup hot water as needed

1 egg

1 (15-oz.) container low-fat ricotta cheese

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 (16-oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced

8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese


8 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a deep 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Slice zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices. Sprinkle slices lightly with salt; set aside to drain in a colander.

Prepare the meat sauce by cooking and stirring the ground beef and black pepper in a large skillet over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add in green pepper and onion and cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. Stir in tomato paste, tomato sauce, wine, basil, and oregano, adding a small amount of hot water if sauce is too thick. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer sauce for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, stir egg, ricotta, and parsley together in a bowl until well combined. To assemble lasagna, spread half of the meat sauce into the bottom of the prepared pan. Then layer half of the zucchini slices, half the ricotta mixture, all of the spinach, followed by all of the mushrooms, then half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat by layering the remaining meat sauce, zucchini slices, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella. Spread Parmesan cheese evenly over the top and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and raise oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Zucchini Hotdish

3 cups of zucchini, cubed

2 carrots, grated or chopped very small


1 small onion, diced

2 Tbsp. chives or green onion or green pepper

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 pkg. cheese and herb croutons

1/3 cup melted butter

Lightly stir-fry zucchini, carrots and onions. Mix half of the croutons with the butter. Mix all other ingredients with the other half of the croutons. Mix this in with the other vegetables. Put buttered croutons on top. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 6-8 servings.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup milk


1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup shredded zucchini

1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Mix egg, oil, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a bowl; stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in zucchini, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake in a preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Zucchini Brownies

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1-1/2 tsp.s baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 cups shredded zucchini

1/2 cup chopped walnuts


6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup margarine or butter

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 tsp. vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts and spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. Make frosting while brownies cool. Melt together the 6 Tbsp. of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk and 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

Boost the nutritional value of brownies with the addition of zucchini -- you won't even taste the hidden veggie. (Adobe Stock)

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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