There's a whole world beyond zoodles and salads.
Baked Rigatoni with Zucchini and Mozzarella
Credit: Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

It's coming up on the summer solstice, which means that it's also coming up on zucchini season, or "zuch szn" as no one calls it but me. Sure, zucchini are available throughout the year at the grocery store, but now is when they emerge into their full powers. In the beginning, it's lovely to have a few fresh zucchinis to grill or sautee, or throw in a salad. But in roughly three to six weeks, it will be a time when zucchini seems to take over everything. If you have a backyard garden with zucchini, or access to a farmers' market, or a CSA, or even just friends who participate in a CSA, you may run into a classic July problem: just way, way too much zucchini.

Unlike strawberries, where you always have the option of turning everything into a jam, or tomatoes, which you can cook down into a sauce or paste for later use, zucchinis don't have an obvious application for concentrating all that zucchini-ness. You know about zoodles, you know about zucchini skewers, what else can you do with this sudden zucchini bounty? Don't worry. We've got you.

Make Zucchini Bread

A classic way to use up zucchini and sneak some nutrients that might not otherwise be a part of your regular toast, zucchini bread is delicious, and easy to adapt to your personal tastes. The zucchini adds moisture and heft to this Zucchini Bread with Pine Nuts and White Chocolate Chips, or you can take things in a more savory direction with something like this Moroccan spiced Zucchini bread. You can even make it using a box of cake mix.

Pickle Them

Add some tang to your dish by quick pickling zucchini sliced thinly, a trick that works equally well with summer squash as it does zucchini. If you're more into the whole canned pickles thing, you can do that with smaller zucchini specimens, too, or just slice them like you would cucumbers.

Throw Them Into Pasta

You're probably already well aware that sliced zucchini can serve as a substitute for pasta for people who are trying to avoid carbohydrates or can't eat gluten. But if you don't have those concerns, zucchini can also be a fantastic addition to your pasta dish, like in this baked rigatoni dish. Throw some sautteed zucchini into a bowl of mac and cheese, or marinate some in olive oil and lemon juice and put it into noodles with a generous sprinkling of Paremsan.

Make Them Into Pesto

Speaking of pasta, zucchini makes for an excellent addition to one of summer's greatest pasta sauces, an easy pesto. Pulse shredded, sauteed zucchini in a food processor with almonds, cheese, herbs, and spices, and you'll have a riff on the traditional sauce that incorporates a little extra green.

Make Zucchini Pie

You could, if you wanted, sneak zucchini into a sweet pie and see how it went, but here we're talking about something that's closer to a spaghetti pie or quiche. Shredded zucchini is a great, easy addition to eggs of all kinds, and here, it adds heft and moisture to a dish that would work well as the star of a brunch party.

Still need ideas? We've got more zucchini recipes here.