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Vegetable Risotto recipe

Keep these 11 vegetarian zucchini recipes in rotation for all your summer Meatless Mondays.

Whether Meatless Monday is every Monday or you make a special effort to eat plant-based to start off your week, it tends to be a more exciting prospect in the summer, when there’s a broader range of produce to choose from. And one of those ubiquitous summer vegetables is zucchini (which, true, is in grocery stores all year, but is technically a summer squash).

It’s great grilled, roasted, or even eaten raw, but if you need a little spark of inspiration, here you have it: a bushel of zucchini recipes for summery vegetarian meals, with a dessert thrown in for good measure because why not?

1. Summer Squash Pizza

Summer Squash pizza recipe

Chowhound

Top store-bought or homemade pizza dough with thin slices of green and yellow summer squash on light layers of pesto and melty mozzarella cheese—perfection. Put this pizza on repeat all season, and feel free to grill it instead of baking. Get our Summer Squash Pizza recipe.

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2. Mexican Torta with Fried Zucchini

fried zucchini torta recipe

Chowhound

Who says vegetarian sandwiches can’t be hearty? This take on a Mexican torta is packed full of panko-coated fried zucchini, refried black beans, queso fresco, avocado, pickled jalapeño slices, and shredded lettuce for a fully satisfying meal on a bun. Swap in some vegan cheese if you don’t do dairy. Get our Mexican Torta with Fried Zucchini recipe.

3. Vegan Quinoa-Stuffed Grilled Zucchini

grilled quinoa stuffed zucchini recipe

Chowhound

Hollowed-out zucchini is ideal for stuffing with all sorts of things, from other veggies to grains like couscous or rice; here, we go with quinoa flavored with plenty of garlic and cumin, but use whatever seasoning you like, and add other things like sauteed onions and fresh herbs as you see fit. Get our Vegan Quinoa-Stuffed Grilled Zucchini recipe.

4. Basic Veggie Risotto

Vegetable Risotto recipe

Chowhound

Tender diced zucchini studs this creamy, dreamy summer risotto, which is also ripe for riffing; add or swap in whatever ingredients you have on hand—fresh basil from your garden, corn kernels shaved off the cob, a splash of wine, or whatever else sounds good. Get our Basic Veggie Risotto recipe.

5. Vegetarian Fajitas

Grilled Veggie Fajita recipe

Chowhound

For these healthy veggie fajitas, you’ll grill zucchini, green onions, and poblano peppers, and tumble them in tortillas with pinto beans, tomatillo salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and shredded cheese—or whatever toppings you want (maybe Trader Joe’s cult-fave Green Dragon Hot Sauce?). If you have 30 minutes to spare, don’t skip the citrus-garlic marinade, which gives the green onions and zucchini a lot of extra savor. Get our Vegetarian Fajitas recipe.

6. Linguine with Squash Noodles and Pesto

Linguine with Squash Noodles and Pine Nuts

Chowhound

Lighten up your linguine by mixing in strands of squash—zucchini noodles (or zoodles) are easy with a spiralizer but can also be made with a julienne peeler. Fresh herbs and ricotta salata bring refined flavor, but if you want more of a punch, mix in some garlicky pesto too. Get our Linguine with Squash Noodles and Pesto recipe.

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7. Grilled Summer Squash with Feta and Mint

Grilled Summer Squash with Feta and Mint

Chowhound

While we’ve classified this as a side dish, it’s so delicious we’d happily eat an entire platter for dinner, maybe with an accompaniment of grilled bread and good olive oil for dipping. The smoky squash sparked with salty feta and fresh, cooling mint is perfect with nothing more than a spritz of lemon and a grind of pepper. Get our Grilled Summer Squash with Feta and Mint recipe.

8. Zucchini Carpaccio

zucchini carpaccio recipe

Chowhound

Sometimes you want a light dinner, especially if it’s sweltering. This zucchini carpaccio is a perfectly refreshing meal that won’t weigh you down, but it’s also a great starter for a vegetarian BBQ or bright side dish for practically anything else you might eat this summer. Get our Zucchini Carpaccio recipe.

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9. Zucchini Brown Butter Cornbread

Zucchini Brown Butter Cornbread recipe

Chowhound

Pair this delicious, zucchini-packed version of cornbread with our vegetarian chili (which you can make in your slow cooker if you don’t want to tend a pot on the stove), our chipotle corn soup, or our Mexican vegetable stew (and feel free to substitute more zucchini for the winter squash). Then eat the leftovers lightly toasted for breakfast—if there are leftovers, that is. Get our Zucchini Brown Butter Cornbread recipe.

10. Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries recipe by Laila Ali

Matt Armendariz

You could serve these healthy baked zucchini fries as a side to veggie burgers, but they’re so good you could also eat an entire pan for dinner and not even have to feel too bad about it. Get Laila Ali’s Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries recipe.

11. Zucchini Cupcakes

Zucchini Cupcake recipe

Chowhound

Grated zucchini helps keep these cupcakes moist and tender, but we also call for cake flour for the finest texture and lightest crumb. Cinnamon and nutmeg add a nice spice, and the tangy cream cheese frosting is phenomenal (but check out our Fluffy Vegan Buttercream recipe if you need a dairy-free alternative; the cupcakes themselves are already vegan, so no worries there). A sprinkle of chopped toasted pecans finishes things off with a nutty crunch. In short, these are worth turning on the oven for, even when it’s hot out. Get our Zucchini Cupcakes recipe.

Related Reading: The Best Plant-Based Cookbooks to Add to Your Shelf

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Jen is an associate content producer at Chowhound. Raised on scrapple and blue crabs, she hails from Baltimore, Maryland, but has lived in Portland (Oregon) for so long it feels like home. She enjoys the rain, reads, writes, eats, and cooks voraciously, and stops to pet every stray cat she sees. Continually working on building her Gourmet magazine collection, she will never get over its cancellation. Read more of her work.
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