Garden-fresh recipes for tomatoes and zucchini

Lots of tomatoes
Courtesy Good Shepherd Food Bank

Do you have a garden that yields more tomatoes than you’ll ever need? Or maybe a friend has gifted you a gigantic zucchini and there it sits on your kitchen counter.

You’re in luck because I reached out to some Catching Health friends to ask for recipes and tips and they came through big time. Let’s get started!

Boy holding a giant zucchini/Adobe stock

First up, that giant zucchini your friend gave you? It just happened to Kris Dean, the marketing manager at MedCOR Professionals. She and I met for coffee to talk about potential story ideas and I happened to mention I was looking for some tips and recipes.

Kris said she plans to shred her zucchini. She fills freezer bags with the exact amount she needs for zucchini bread and makes loaves for her family all year long. They’re pretty watery when she defrosts them, but she drains off the liquid and it’s not a problem. Here’s the recipe she uses. She says it’s easy to double, which she usually does. The original recipe is from Allrecipes.com

Zucchini Bread with lemon

Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease 8×4″ loaf pan.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Beat together shredded zucchini, sugar, egg, and oil.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir in cinnamon and lemon zest.
  3. Stir flour mixture into zucchini mixture until just blended.
  4. Pour batter into greased pan.
  5. Bake 45 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then remove and let cool some more on a wire rack.

Tomato Salad with Basil and Feta

Tomato tips and recipe from Good Shepherd
Courtesy Jessica Donahue, Good Shepherd Food Bank

The Tomato Salad recipe and tomato tips are from Good Shepherd Food Bank and its Cooking Matters class.

Jennifer’s Piccalilli Relish

Handwritten recipe for green tomato relish

My friend Jennifer told me they stopped growing zucchini long ago. As for tomatoes, she cans the extras and if it looks like too many are coming at once she makes green tomato (picalilli) relish.

Her recipe was passed down from her grandmother in her own handwriting from many years ago. In memory of Bertha Fay Haskins, here it is:

  • Slice green tomatoes and onions in a large pan and sprinkle generously with salt so it’s all through.
  • Let stand overnight.
  • Next morning drain the mixture off (it will make a brine)
  • I pour one cup of sugar to 3/4 cup vinegar over so it will nearly cover.
  • Put a package of whole pickling spices tied up loosely in a cloth and let all cook until tomatoes and onions seem done.
  • Jar hot. Throw spices away.

“I’ve added the following to Grammie’s hot packing method. Boil pints of relish in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes, take out and listen to the seals popping!” ~Jennifer

Jenni Casas, cooking up something delicious in the Wayside kitchen

Jennifer also suggested sharing your overabundant yield with a local food pantry. Jenni Casas, the Kitchen Manager at Wayside Food Programs said they love garden donations.

We’ve also had an abundance of zucchini and tomatoes coming our way.  I’ve been making ratatouille pretty consistently this summer.  I also really like making zucchini cornbread. We got a big donation in of puff pastry, so we’ve also been making very simple and delicious tomato tarts.

Jenni Casas, Kitchen Manager, Wayside Food Programs

Here’s the cornbread recipe Jenni uses. The original is from Epicurious.

Zucchini Cornbread

Eight to 10 servings.
Position rack to middle of oven and preheat to 350 ° F. Butter a 9x5x3″ loaf pan.

Ingredients

  • Stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large zucchini (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup medium-grind cornmeal

Instructions

  1. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until butter solids at bottom of pan turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Scrape butter into a medium bowl. Set aside and let cool. Whisk in eggs and buttermilk.
  2. Trim zucchini ends. Thinly slice five 1/8″ rounds from one end of zucchini and reserve for garnish. Coarsely grate remaining zucchini. Add to bowl with butter mixture and stir until well blended.
  3. Sift both flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Whisk in cornmeal. Add zucchini mixture; fold just to blend (mixture will be very thick). Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top. Place reserved zucchini on top of batter down the center in a single layer.
  4. Bake 55-65 minutes or until golden and knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. Store airtight at room temperature.

Broiled Tomatoes courtesy of Hannaford
Courtesy Guiding Stars Program

Hannaford sent me several recipes from its Guiding Stars team. They all look delicious. I’ll put one here and include links to the others.

Broiled Tomatoes Parmesan

This easy side dish adds a sense of elegance to any dinner. It’s the perfect way to enjoy garden-fresh tomatoes in August when their flavors are at their peak.

Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. basil
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. Gently squeeze out and discard seeds. Place the tomatoes cut side up on a broiler pan prepared with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the garlic, oil, basil, and pepper in a small bowl. Brush evenly over the cut surfaces of the tomatoes. Broil on high on the top rack until soft (5 minutes).
  3. While the tomatoes are broiling, combine the crumbs and cheese in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly over the tops of the hot tomatoes. Return to the broiler until the crumbs are browned (2 minutes).

More recipes from Guiding Stars

My sister-in-law grilling zucchini

Grilled Zucchini

In my opinion, nothing could be tastier than fresh veggies on the grill. Many thanks to my sister-in-law for sharing her beyond easy and delicious recipe for grilled zucchini. Snip off the ends and cut the zucchini into chunks. Toss with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a grill pan and grill on medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. Flip them over to grill both sides. Yum, yum!

Green beans and tomatoes/WW
Courtesy WW Maine

I’ll end our tomato/zucchini feast with a recipe from WW Maine. Maybe your garden is also full of green beans. Toss them with fresh tomatoes and you’re on your way to something wicked easy and delicious.

Roasted Green Beans and Fresh Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 450° F. Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 4 cups trimmed uncooked green beans
  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quartered
  • 1/4 cup basil, cut into ribbons
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Place green beans in a single layer in prepared pan and coat with cooking spray. Roast until desired doneness, stirring once or twice, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, 2 TBS of basil and the garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  3. When green beans are finished, remove from oven and spoon tomato mixture into pan; toss thoroughly.
  4. Serve hot, room temperature, or chilled, topped with remaining 2 TBS basil. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

Many thanks to the wonderful people and organizations that shared recipes and tips.

Enjoy and if you have a recipe or tip to share, please do.

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.