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Ellie Krieger's Grilled Zucchini Roll-Ups with Herbs and Cream Cheese is just one way to serve some of that late-summer bounty. / Renee Comet/USA WEEKEND


Zucchini is so plentiful in August that home gardeners with a surplus happily honor the tongue-in-cheek holiday “Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day,” officially Aug. 8, but often observed throughout the month.

A plethora of zucchini is a good thing. Here are three ways to put the summer bounty to use:

Shred it. Add shredded zucchini to meatballs or meatloaf for extra moisture and nutrition.

Dice it. Dice and sauté with sweet onions, fresh corn kernels and quartered cherry tomatoes. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Marinate it. Halve lengthwise, then marinate overnight in a mix of olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar, garlic and herbs. Grill or broil 6-8 minutes.

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Stuff it. Halve zucchini lengthwise then scoop out the center using a melon-baller. Stuff with a mix of ground meat, rice or bulgur, herbs and nuts. Place in baking dish with tomato sauce and bake at 350 degrees covered until tender, then uncovered until browned.

Grill it. Cut zucchini lengthwise into ¼-inch thick slices, brush with oil then grill about 3 minutes per side. Serve as part of an antipasto platter, layer on sandwiches or chop and put in salads.

Slice it. Use a vegetable peeler to slice zucchini into thin ribbons, sauté in a little olive oil and garlic until tender, 2-3 minutes. Enjoy as a side dish or toss with ribbons of cooked whole-grain fettuccini.

Crisp it. Shred zucchini then use paper towels to press out as much water as possible. Mix with grated onion, and egg and flour to bind. Pan-fry or spray with oil and bake to make crisp pancakes.

Roll it. Spread soft goat cheese and herbs into strips of grilled zucchini and roll up for a delightful and elegant summer starter. (See recipe.)

Grate it. Finely grate zucchini and stir into pasta sauce or macaroni and cheese to amp up vegetables for picky kids.

Pureé it. Sauté with onion or leeks then puree with broth and a handful of fresh, tender herbs like basil or tarragon. Stir in some buttermilk or yogurt for a refreshing chilled soup.

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Grilled Zucchini Roll-Ups with Herbs and Cream Cheese

3 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices
1 Tb. olive oil
1/8 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1½ ounces fresh goat cheese, preferably reduced-fat
1 Tb. minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 ounces baby spinach leaves (2 cups lightly packed)
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves

Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat.
Discard the outermost slices of zucchini and brush the rest with the oil on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, about 4 minutes per side.
In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, parsley and lemon juice, mashing together with a fork. Put ½ tsp. of the cheese mixture about ½ inch from the end of zucchini slice. Top with a few spinach leaves and one small (or half of a large) basil leaf. Roll up and place seam side down on a platter. Repeat with the rest of the zucchini slices, then serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving (4 rolls): 80 calories, 7.5g carbohydrates, 3g protein, 5g fat (1.5 saturated), 2.5g fiber, 2mg cholesterol, 160mg sodium

Contributing editor and registered dietitian Ellie Krieger is best known as the host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite. Her most recent cookbook is Comfort Food Fix: Feel Good Favorites Made Healthy.

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