Zucchini is a common vegetable frequently used in Italian cooking. From side dishes to dinner recipes, these Italian zucchini recipes are not only delicious but very easy to make.
Zucchini is one of my favorite garden vegetables to grow each summer, and I use it in so many of my own Italian recipes. I know you’ll get inspired to try some new recipes whether Italian fried zucchini or combining this summer squash with some pasta and herbs.
Italian Zucchini Recipes
The Italians have taught us many different methods for preparing zucchini in amazing recipes that can be used not just in summertime, but all year round. There are over 20 types of zucchinis, however you can use any type of zucchini in the following recipes. Make sure to also check out my helpful tips further down this page for additional cooking and storage advice.
Common Italian Seasonings for Zucchini
There are many ways to season zucchini Italian style. Here are some suggestions for herbs and other ingredients I frequently use when cooking my favorite zucchini recipes.
Italian grated cheese. Having grated cheeses such as Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano cheese on hand takes your zucchini to a whole new level. Check out my article about how to freeze Italian cheese so it can be kept fresh for longer.
Simple herbs and flavors. Most popular zucchini varieties such as Black Beauty, have a strong and distinct flavor. Avoid using Italian seasoning mixes from the store. These mixes have too many different herbs.
When you add too many herbs and spices it can over complicate a dish. Common herbs are basil and parsley. Oregano can be used if serving as part of a pizza. Even fresh mint goes well with zucchini. Rosemary compliments zucchini nicely, but only use enough to give a hint of this wonderful herb, otherwise it can overpower the recipe.
Olive oil. Always use a good quality extra virgin olive oil when cooking with zucchini. The quality of the olive oil can seriously impact the overall outcome of the dish. Some oils specify if they have a smooth (light) flavor – which I’d only use in a baking recipe. Look for a first cold pressed extra virgin organic olive oil.
Garlic cloves. Garlic and zucchini go great together. For a stronger garlic flavor throughout the entire dish, mince the garlic and mix with the olive oil. For a subtle flavor slice the garlic – this also allows people to avoid eating the garlic if they aren’t big garlic fans.
Ways to cook zucchini. Due to it’s shape, size and texture, it can be stuffed, sliced, cubed, or cut in half lengthwise. You can fry, saute, bake, eat it raw or even prepare it as grilled zucchini. You don’t ever have to get tired of zucchini!
Varieties of Zucchini
There are many varieties of zucchini available to use thanks to the internet. 25 years ago we were limited to only what was found our local grocery store or mail order catalogs. Now we can order from companies that offer zucchini in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I recommend checking out these two sites where I’ve ordered seeds from in the past.
- Rareseeds.com specializes in heritage seeds that are not commonly found.
- GrowItalian.com specializes in seeds straight from Italy.
- You can also order seeds online through Amazon.
How to Store Zucchini
One of the problems with zucchini is that it can start to go soft fairly quick. This is especially true when bought from the stores, or if you just have too many remaining zucchini at the end of the growing season. What I do when my zucchini is still edible, yet I can’t use it up right away is to store it in the freezer.
I know that I most often use sliced zucchini rounds in my cooking, so I slice them up into half moons and place them in a freezer bag. You might be wondering if I blanch them like many gardeners advise.
My answer is no, and my reason is I’m lazy.
I’ve kept my zucchini in freezer bags for over a year! Yes I know this is not ideal as it will start to lose it’s freshness after about 5 or 6 months. But if you plan on adding it as part of a main recipe, like adding it to a pasta recipe, well… it can work. If you plan on using it for something like a pizza topping, salad, or appetizer, don’t bother – it will have too much moisture and just won’t taste good.
I hope this collection of Italian zucchini recipes has been inspiring for you. If you have a favorite side dish or dinner recipe that you’d love to share, let me know in the comments below!