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What to Do With a Round Zucchini?

By Joy Johnson, Master Gardener

Have you ever been gifted with a vegetable that you didn’t know what to do with? Read this entertaining article to find out what Master Gardener Joy Johnson made with the large, round zucchini she received from a family member. Her clever recipe will inspire you!

What to Do With a Round Zucchini?

My brother-in-law stopped by for a visit on Monday. He handed me a round zucchini when he walked in the door with a big grin on his face. I didn’t know what it was at first. It was the size of a cantaloupe, dark green with dark orange stripes. I didn’t believe him when he said it was a zucchini. Have you ever been gifted with an interesting vegetable that you didn’t know what to do with? I gave my neighbor a kohlrabi last summer and she had the same look on her face that I gave my brother-in-law when I handed it to her.

I love to share my garden produce and I also enjoy trying new foods and veggies. I watched the large round zucchini for a couple of days as it sat on my counter staring back at me. It seemed friendly enough. I was scheduled to make dinner at my dad’s apartment on Thursday evening. I needed to come up with something I could make at his place that wouldn’t take too long, use too many dishes and utensils but would be healthy and tasty.

I grabbed the zucchini, a half-used package of Cotija cheese (that was left from when I made Chile Rellenos), a handful of dried parsley. I stopped at the grocery store and bought a package of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice (Red Beans & Rice flavor). That is something I’ve never used before. I usually make rice from scratch, but that takes time, and I knew I’d need something with a lot of flavors because zucchini is so mild. I also had a couple of slices of leftover ham. Now I just needed some side dishes to serve with the zucchini. I quickly made a lettuce salad and grabbed some leftover butternut squash. So, this was going to be a summer and winter squash supper!

Here's my improvised recipe for the large round zucchini.


1 large round zucchini

1 pack Uncle Bens Ready Rice, Red Beans & Rice flavor

1 handful of dried parsley

2 thick pieces of ham, diced

½ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled



  • Slice the top off the zucchini as if you are going to carve it like a Jack-o’-lantern.

  • Scoop out the seeds and stringy middle flesh and discard.

  • Scoop out a little more flesh so you have about a 2-cup hollow.

  • Cover the zucchini with its lid. Cook it in the microwave or oven until it just starts to get tender. It took mine 20 minutes in the oven, then 5 minutes in the microwave. If you bake it in the oven, put it in a pie plate and add water to the pie plate before putting it in to bake at 350 degrees.

  • Dice the extra zucchini flesh that you scooped out.

  • Cook the rice according to package directions, add the diced zucchini, the handful of dried parsley and the chopped ham. You may need to add 1/3 cup water or broth. You don’t want it soupy, but you need to cook the ham and the diced zucchini.

  • Remove the large round zucchini from the oven or microwave.

  • Scoop the cooked rice mixture into the zucchini, stir in the crumbled cheese, put the lid on it and heat it through in the microwave for about 3-5 minutes.

Eat and enjoy!

Photo credits: Joy Johnson (1,2)

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