It may seem inconceivable to the gardeners out there, but last summer I had a crappy crop of zucchini. This year is a totally different story. What’s that saying by Barbara Kingslover? Something like the only reason that folks in the South lock their cars in the summer is so their neighbors won’t put a bag of zucchini in the front seat? Well, neighbors you’ve been warned.
Two years ago, my friend Samantha mentioned that if I ever found myself with a ton of zucchini she had a recipe for me. This one falls into that fail proof recipe category of one busy mom sharing her favorites with another busy mom, you trust it from the get go.
Sam did not let me down; this is one delicious recipe that can be served just about anyway — tossed in pasta, quinoa, even smeared on a crostini. Just when you can’t stand the sight of another zucchini on your counter, here is a winner that takes it to another level.
I’ve made this twice in less than a week and both times tossed it with quinoa.The quinoa cooking guide from the kitchn is the best way I have found to prepare it. “It’s so FLUFFY!”
Golden Zucchini with Quinoa
This is a casual dish that can be served as a side to any simply grilled protein, but it’s good enough to serve on it’s own, too.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 cups zucchini, large dice (depended on size, this could be one big daddy zucchini or 2-3 medium)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons rough chopped mint leaves
¼ fresh shavings Parmesan cheese (use a veggie peeler)
2 cups (cooked) quinoa
Heat a large stockpot on medium high heat with olive oil. Once the oil is hot, put the diced zucchini in, followed by the salt and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat the zucchini with all the olive oil goodness. Let the zucchini cook for about 30-35 minutes (until the zucchini takes on a golden brown color), stirring occasionally. No need to be overly gentle with the zucchini—use a metal spatula so you can get all the yummy bits off the side of the pot.
Once the zucchini is cooked and golden, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, followed by the juice of ½ a lemon. Stir, to loosen up the golden bits on the bottom of the pan and cook for about one minute more. Cover and take off the stove and let sit until you are ready to serve.
Mix the cooked quinoa with the zucchini and toss in about 3/4 of the cheese and half of the mint. Reserve the rest of the cheese and mint for garnish sprinkled over the top.