The Least Gross Things You Can Make With Extra Zucchini

Oh no! It finally happened! You were approached by a smiling neighbor or coworker bearing a gift ... of the kind nobody ever wants to receive. More dreaded than holiday fruitcake, it's the unspeakable summertime surplus zucchini!

If you're a veggie lover, you've undoubtedly got boatloads (zucchini boat-loads) of recipes for all your favorites. If the thought of a zuke makes you want to puke, though, you may find yourself in somewhat of a dilemma. Sure, you could always sneak those crummy courgettes into the nearest dumpster, but there's a chance the donor might catch you in the act. Even if you get away with it, though, you're still going to be plagued with guilt as you hear your great-grandmother's (or Henry Fonda's) voice in your head saying "We didn't spend an entire Great Depression picking grapes of wrath so our spoiled descendants could grow up to be produce-tossing ingrates!" Your only choice, it seems, is to find some recipes to make that zucchini taste less ... zucchini-ish. Here are a few dishes that will appeal (or at least be tolerable) if you're not a fan of all things green and slimy.

Pumpkin zucchini bread

Zucchini bread is the first thing everybody thinks of when it comes to getting rid of excess zucchini – well, except for people who really love the stuff since zucchini bread falls into the category of "hide it as best you can." The problem is that most recipes call for grated zucchini, insisting that the zucchini shreds will just "melt" into the batter. Well, they don't, and it can be extremely off-putting to slice open your loaf and see little white sticks poking out and lending the bread a frighteningly maggot-infested look.

Luckily, Just a Pinch has a recipe that calls for pureeing the zucchini instead of shredding it. This recipe also uses pumpkin to further disguise any hint of zucchini. If you don't have pumpkin, or you have a bunch of zucchini to use up, you can use a double portion of pureed zucchini in place of the pumpkin. Although the batter comes out bright green, the bread turns a reassuring brown once baked and even the all-zucchini version just tastes of cinnamon and walnuts. To make the bread, mix 3 eggs, 1 cup vegetable oil, 2 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 cup canned pumpkin, and 1 cup pureed zucchini. Combine 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda,1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and1 tablespoon cinnamon, then stir into batter along with 1 cup chopped nuts. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour (makes 2 loaves).

Corn and zucchini enchiladas

There are a lot of recipes out there for zucchini enchiladas that call for swapping out the tortillas for thin-sliced zucchini, which is fine if minimizing your carb intake is your number one goal. If, however, you're trying to sneak some veggies by your picky eaters (or perhaps your picky self), zucchini wrappers are a pretty obvious switch. This corn and zucchini enchilada recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod, however, retains the tortillas while hiding the zucchini amidst a plethora of more palatable veggies like onions, corn, and black beans.

To make these enchiladas, saute half an onion with a small diced zucchini, then add a cup of corn and two sliced cloves of garlic and cook a few more minutes. Add 4 ounces diced green chiles, 15 ounces (1 can) black beans, 1/2 teaspoon each cumin, smoked paprika, and chili powder, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/2 cup salsa verde, 1/2 cup shredded jack cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Soften 12 corn tortillas by microwaving or frying them, then dip them in salsa verde and fill with 1/4 cup veggie mix. Roll the filled tortillas and place them in a 9x13-inch casserole. Top with whatever salsa verde remains from a 16-ounce jar, then sprinkle 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese on top. Bake at 375 degrees for about half an hour. Let the enchiladas cool, then serve them topped with your preferred enchilada toppings (diced avocado, chopped cilantro, jalapenos, etc.).

Zucchini tomato salad

If you have ever wondered whether it's possible to eat zucchini raw, well, chances are, you're not such a zucchini hater as all that; otherwise, why would you even consider it? Still, if the thought's ever crossed your mind for whatever reason, the answer is, yes, you can eat raw zucchini. As to whether you'd want to, in this recipe for a zucchini-tomato salad from Melanie Cooks, you might be surprised to find out how innocuous it tastes. Even veggie enthusiast Melanie can't claim that zucchini's flavor is anything all that special on its own, but she does say it just blends in with the other, tastier veggies and adds some extra crunch as well as nutrition.

To make this salad, chop up 2 zucchinis (tip: the smaller the dice, the less you'll be bothered by their presence). Don't bother peeling them, since the skin is soft and has no bitter taste. Plus, it contains important nutrients. Mix the zucchini with two pints of halved cherry tomatoes, one chopped red onion, and a bunch of parsley, also chopped. Whisk together the juice of one lime and four tablespoons of olive oil and drizzle the dressing over the salad. Finish off with salt and pepper to taste. (Be sure to use an over-sized pepper grinder so you can pretend you're a waiter in an old SNL sketch.)

Zucchine alla scapece

If you love Italian food but are horrified by the thought of being served a plate of marinara-topped mock-macaroni "zoodles," you may prefer an authentic Italian recipe where zucchini isn't attempting to disguise itself as anything else. Instead, this recipe uses two time-tested techniques to make just about anything taste better: deep-frying and pickling in vinegar. According to Salt and Wind, Zucchine Alla Scapece originates in Naples, and "Scapece" may be a Neapolitanization of the Spanish word for "pickled": escabeche.

This recipe is pretty simple to make. Slice your zucchini into coins about half an inch thick, then salt them generously and place them in a sieve over the sink to drain for half an hour (the salt draws out the moisture). Rinse, then dry the zucchini. Dice a few cloves of garlic and fry it in hot oil for about 30 seconds before removing and setting it aside. Fry the zucchini slices in small batches in the now garlic-infused oil until they're golden-brown on both sides. After all of the zucchini is fried, place it in a shallow dish, sprinkle it with the garlic, then drizzle it with a few tablespoons of red or white wine vinegar. (Balsamic works, too.) Season with salt and pepper and finish off with some chopped fresh mint. Let the zucchini marinate for at least an hour (overnight is even better), and then serve it as a side dish or Neapolitan-style, on toast topped with mozzarella or ricotta.