Five Easy Dinners for Peak Zucchini

Summer’s low-key charmer shines in a velvety chilled soup, kid-friendly chicken meatballs and Korean scallion pancakes.

By Emily Weinstein

Last week, we talked tomatoes; this week is all about our zeal for zucchini, with recipes devoted to summer’s low-key charmer. While I love zucchini, I do not love mushy, watery zucchini, and so it’s essential to lean on recipes and techniques that best show it off.

As usual here at Five Weeknight Dishes, we’re focused on dinner recipes, but don’t ignore zucchini’s other divine purpose: as an ingredient for baking. Zucchini bread, zucchini muffins and chocolate zucchini loaf cake are all worthy of your time. Tell me what you’re thinking and making at [email protected]. Next week: corn!

1. Chilled Zucchini Soup With Lemon and Basil

There are two secret ingredients in this new recipe from Hetty Lui McKinnon, and they give this plush soup body and nuanced flavor. Serve it for dinner with bread and a tomato salad.

View this recipe.

2. Sheet-Pan Chicken With Zucchini and Basil

Zucchini hardly ever stars in sheet-pan dinners — but why not? It’s delicious when it’s left alone to caramelize on the pan (don’t poke at it), which is what it does here alongside bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in this Melissa Clark recipe. Use two sheet pans if you need to feed more than two or three people, instead of crowding one pan.

View this recipe.

3. Zucchini Scampi

The scampi universe expands with this recipe from Ali Slagle, which takes the utterly delicious garlicky butter sauce of shrimp scampi and applies it to zucchini rounds. I’d double the sauce and serve this with pasta, and it would be an impeccable side dish for salmon.

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4. Vegetable Pajeon (Korean Scallion Pancakes With Vegetables)

Zucchini flourishes in this staple recipe from the Brooklyn chef Sohui Kim: You grate or chop it along with other vegetables you might have (either raw or cooked), stir it into a simple pancake batter and then pan-fry it. I love this for dinner.

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5. Chicken-Zucchini Meatballs With Feta

These clever and crowd-pleasing summer meatballs are half zucchini, half chicken. They’re entirely delicious with feta-lemon sauce in this recipe from Ali Slagle.

View this recipe.

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Emily Weinstein is the Food and Cooking editor of The New York Times. She also writes the popular NYT Cooking newsletter Five Weeknight Dishes. More about Emily Weinstein

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