And we're not talking about zoodles.

By Sara Tane
August 16, 2017
Photographer: Daniel Agee; Food Stylist: Deb Wise; Prop Stylist: Audrey Davis

Right around this time of year, it’s not uncommon for your refrigerator drawers to be bursting at the seams with that one vegetable that everybody loves to hate—zucchini. Despite its less-than-exciting flavor and tendency to be overcooked into a sad, soggy mess, there are actually a lot of creative, tasty ways to use up this summer squash.

As much as we love a good zoodle dish or fried zucchini situation, there truly is nothing quite like a slice of zucchini bread. Disguised behind complex layers of different baking add-ins, zucchini acts as more of a textural (so moist!) than flavor component in a hearty zucchini bread. Plus, veggies in your bread means it’s HEALTHY.* In these 3 iterations, you have the option to go traditional or a little off-the-wall, but either way, you’re sure to put those extra squashes to good use.

Mexican Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Mexican Chocolate-Zucchini Bread image

Photo: Daniel Agee; Food Styling: Deb Wise; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Chocolate and vegetables. Yes. Getting a rich, deep chocolate flavor from chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and bittersweet chocolate (a triple threat, if you will), this simple bread is the perfect answer to your next sweet tooth craving. With a subtle pinch of cinnamon and a handful of pepitas (pumpkin seeds, if you will), this bread takes on a whole new level of a warm, aromatic flavor and a nutty crunch. Eating fibrous veggies is fun when it tastes like a chocolate bar, trust me.

Sesame Cashew Zucchini Bread

Sesame-Cashew Zucchini Bread image

Photo: Daniel Agee; Food Styling: Deb Wise; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Did you read this name and go “whaaaaaat?!?” LOL, yeah you did. But seriously, as unexpected as this flavor combo may seem, especially in bread, it’s actually an ingredient union for the ages. If toasted sesame and Chinese five-spice powder could get married and start a family, they totally would. Ever-so-sweet and laden with a rich salty-sweet flavor and creamy cashew butter, this bread is one that will make your taste buds do a double take (if that is even a thing that taste buds can do). Eat this for breakfast with a dollop of yogurt, or take it after dinner with a scoop of ice cream. Either way, you win.

Tuscan Pignoli Zucchini-Orange Bread

Tuscan Pignoli-Zucchini-Orange Bread image

Photo: Daniel Agee; Food Styling: Deb Wise; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

If you are a firm believer that “more zest is best,” (I mean, aren’t we all?), then this is how you should put those zucchinis to use. With a hefty sprinkling of orange rind and roasted pignoli (AKA pine nuts), this zucchini bread is the ultimate comfort food. If you don’t have pine nuts (or don’t want to buy them because MONEY), feel free to substitute sliced almonds, pistachios, or a different nut of your choosing. Just make sure that you toast the nuts ahead of time—this way, they keep a crispy texture within the bread. While you could substitute orange extract for the rind, we highly suggest you stick to the fresh stuff. Repeat after us, zest is best.

*Not a nutritionist here, don’t @ me