Zucchini Recipes: Soup, Relish and Chocolate Cake

July through September is prime time for zucchini (also known as summer squash – or courgette, if you’re feeling fancy) in Nova Scotia. Here are three of our favourite zucchini recipes to put that summer bounty to good use.

CURRIED APPLE AND ZUCCHINI SOUP

1 medium onion, chopped, about 1/2 cup
1 Tbsp butter
2 medium zucchini, sliced or chopped, or one large (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
2 apples, peeled, diced
3 medium potatoes, or 1/2 cup uncooked rice
6 cups veggie broth
2 1/2 tsp curry powder, or to taste (standard curry powder will make this a mellow, savoury soup, but experiment with different masalas!)
salt, to taste

In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat; sauté the onion and apples until onion begins to yellow. Add potatoes or uncooked rice, curry powder and broth. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about 7 minutes. Add zucchini, then allow to bring to a boil again and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until potatoes or rice are soft.

This soup is really lovely pureed with a dollop of yogurt and fresh herbs, but I often leave it chunky. If you prefer a creamy soup, carefully puree the hot soup in the blender in small batches, or use a stick blender right in the soup pot. Add salt and pepper to taste.

ZUCCHINI GARDEN PEPPER RELISH
Makes 2 pint jars (500ml) or 4 1/2 pint jars (250ml)

4 medium zucchini (about 1 1/4 pound) finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 sweet red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 sweet green pepper, finely chopped
2 Tbsp pickling salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp each dry mustard and celery seeds
1/2 tsp each hot pepper flakes and turmeric
1 Tbsp water
2 tsp cornstarch

Toss together zucchini, onions and red and green peppers in a large non-reactive bowl. Sprinkle with salt and stir well. Let stand for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Drain vegetables in a sieve and rinse; drain again, pressing out excess moisture.

Combine drained vegetables, sugar, vinegar, mustard, celery seeds, hot pepper flakes and turmeric in large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Blend water and cornstarch. Stir into vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes or until liquid clears and thickens, stirring often.

Remove hot jars from canner and ladle relish into jars to within ½ inch of rim. Process 10 minutes for 1/2 pint jars and 15 minutes for pint jars.

Note: This is a great recipe to use those large zucchinis that surprise you in the garden – if the core of the squash has gotten seedy, just cut out the centre before you start chopping.

CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE
From Eating By The Seasons

3 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sour cream (plain yogurt also works)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp grated orange rind
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini

In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar. Add sour cream, nuts, oil, orange rind and vanilla. Mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Blend into batter. Stir in zucchini. Pour into greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake at 350F for 35 minutes.

Note: I have been known to ice this cake with nutella. However, this fudge frosting recipe from Smitten Kitchen is also excellent (I made a quarter of a batch). You can garnish the cake with nasturtiums or other edible flowers, if you have some at hand.

Updated from posts originally published in 2011 and 2012

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