Sexified Zucchini

August 11, 2010

When you hear the word “vegetable” you don’t exactly think “sexy,” do you? I mean, fruit is sexy. Ripe berries, bursting with juice.  A plump peach, floral and fragrant. Icy, refreshing hunks of melon.  Sexy.

Veggies? Not so much. Well, maybe a juicy slice of tomato…oh wait. Tomato is technically a fruit. One could argue for beets, based on color alone, but beets taste like shit, so they’re out of the running.

The poor veggie needs an image makeover. The veg gets about as much respect as that whackjob chick from The Hills.

Zucchini, in particular, is un-sexy. Nobody craves zucchini. Nobody waits, with bated breath, for zucchini season to roll around. Hell, zucchini doesn’t even get lunchbox cred like mini-carrots and celery. Do you think the other veggies let zucchini join in any Vegetable Games? I picture zucchini and brussel sprouts standing on the sidelines, morosely cursing their fate.

But no more. Zucchini redemption has arrived. This appetizer, featuring the humble green rod, is sex-a-licious. A quick turn on the grill, a rich, gooey filling, a kick of red pepper flakes and a snap of fresh basil turns zucchini into George Clooney.  It’s good lookin’, goes down easy, and with that tiny kick of spice, won’t be easily forgotten.

Serve this appetizer at your next shindig and watch the zucchini naysayers eat their words.

C’mon, you know you wanted another photo of these sexy beasties!

Grilled Zucchini Roll-Ups with Herbs and Cheese

slightly adapted from Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave

3 small zucchini (about 1/2 pound each), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices*

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 1/2 ounces fresh goat cheese, softened

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 ounces baby spinach leaves (2 cups lightly packed)

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves

Preheat a grill pan over medium heat.

Discard the outermost slices of zucchini and brush the rest with oil on both sides. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Grill until tender, about 4 minutes per side. You can make the grilled zucchini a day ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, parsley, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and a dash of salt and pepper, mashing them together with a fork. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Put 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese mixture about 1/2 inch from the end of a zucchini slice. Top with a few spinach leaves and a sprig or two of basil. Roll up and place seam side down on a platter. Repeat with the rest of the zucchini slices. You can make these up to a day before you are ready to serve them and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.

*If you are as untalented as I am at slicing zucchini this thinly, you might want to pick up a few extra. Just sayin.’

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Phoo-d August 11, 2010 at 4:52 am

Anything that can liven up zucchini sounds like a winning recipe in my book! It is still taking over our garden and turning into the not so jolly green giant in my fridge. Love the idea of rolling it with goat cheese!


ck August 11, 2010 at 5:09 am

Truth: I’ve always feared goat cheese. Not sure why, but I tucked away with my anxiety towards cheeses of the bleu persuasion and never considered it again. Until today. I don’t know, KitchWitch, I might just give it a try. (Being the lone fan of zucchini and all.)


Christine LaRocque August 11, 2010 at 6:22 am

My love affair with goat cheese started only a few short years ago. Like you I feared it! (I still fear the bleu persuasion to be honest).


jessica August 11, 2010 at 6:43 am

CK – goat cheese is heavenly! So good in salads, with strawberries, smeared on anything crunchy, as a hot dip with marinara – I could go and on. It is worth your time, friend.


Erica@PinesLakeRedhead August 11, 2010 at 5:26 am

Your photos make it look like sushi. If I can convince my kids it’s sushi, they’ll eat it. Go figure, they love sushi but not zucchini.


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon August 11, 2010 at 5:38 am

Mmmmm. I’ve got a lovely round of goat cheese in my fridge. Perhaps I should introduce it to some zucchini?


SuziCate August 11, 2010 at 5:57 am

grill charred zuchiini sporting itself around goat cheese and herbs…I call that sexy!


The Girl August 11, 2010 at 6:06 am

Hell that actually DOES sound sexy. And couldn’t be timed better as our neighbours have left out an honesty box with some courgettes (can’t help it, I’m English!) from their allotment in for people to take and post 50p through the letterbox.

Also haven’t been on here in ages, have just been reading in Google Reader so have only just seen the new layout. Now THIS is sexy…


Chiara August 11, 2010 at 6:17 am

Alright, I might be a weirdo… I do crave zucchini and I do wait for zucchini season with bated breath =)
I love zucchini pretty much in any way you can possibly make them… so this new recipe made me real happy since it brings together zucchini and goat cheese, which I also love!


Christine LaRocque August 11, 2010 at 6:22 am

Oh my God (I say that a lot around here), I am literally panting. I LOVE zucchini. This just takes my love to a whole new level. Or at least I think it will when I try it.

And beets….don’t you ‘dis the beets. Okay, I really only like them pickled. They remind me of my granny.


girlichef August 11, 2010 at 6:25 am

Awww yeah…totally sexy ;) But uh….in my opinion, beets are totally hot!


gigi August 11, 2010 at 6:30 am

This looks terrif. If I didn’t already have plans to make my zucchini into a soup this week, I’d try this for sure. I live for goat cheese!


Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday August 11, 2010 at 6:44 am

Yeah, so I have 2 GIANT zucchini in my veggie crisper. They’re too big to be phallic so there’s definitely nothing sexy about them. An involtini is a good idea. I might try this and substitute a white bean puree for the cheese since I can’t eat dairy.


Winn August 11, 2010 at 7:10 am

Only you could make zucchini sexy… or liken it to George Clooney. You just earned major respect points from me. ;)


Justine August 11, 2010 at 7:18 am

You had me at SEXified. And goat cheese. Hello?! It’s one of my daughter’s faves so we always have zukes in the house. And while I love it simply grilled or stir-fried, I have a feeling this will be my new go-to – that is when I’m not too lazy…which is often the case. Sigh…

Veggie, protein, dairy in one. What’s not to love?


M @ Betty Crapper August 11, 2010 at 7:20 am

I love Ellie Krieger and have “The Food you Crave.” I’ve skipped over that recipe precisely because zucchini is so blah. You make me want to try it in a few months when zucchini is back in season around here.


The Curious Cat August 11, 2010 at 7:50 am

We call these courgettes at home – and with goats cheese they are a winning combo – I like to hollow them out slightly and put curried onions mixed with the courgette pulp inside them with goats cheese and mint and bake them – delicious!! This sounds yum…will have to try! Love the way you presented this in your writing too! :) xxx


Evan @swEEts August 11, 2010 at 7:53 am

Before I left for work we decided what we were going to have for dinner tonight..zucchini was already included and now.. well now, we’re going to be having sexy zucchini.. ha love it! And thanks for the cake compliments :)


Maria August 11, 2010 at 7:58 am

I LOVE zucchini! I am a tad hestitant about the goat cheese, though. Might have get over the insecurity and give this one a try.

Totally get the beets things too, BTW. I cannot stand the sight (or smell) of them…


Rachel @ MWF Seeking BFF August 11, 2010 at 8:46 am

I think you’re right. This veggie is hot. It’s the oozing cheese. Wait, that sounds so wrong…


Stephane August 11, 2010 at 8:50 am

Hey, would you be interested in another recipe for zucchini–this one from Alice Waters? It’s kind of an portly cousin with acne compared with this hunka-hunka-burnin’ love, but it’s really delicious and quick.


Camille Bright-Smith August 11, 2010 at 8:52 am

OMG. I am so turned on right now!!!


Jane August 11, 2010 at 8:55 am

You just featured one of my absolute, hands down, yummy and yes, sexy recipes ever! My family gets a bit sick of this by the end of summer (the time of year I’m most likely to serve this to them every single week) but they are sooooo yummy! They’re good warm. They’re good cold. They’re just good!


rebecca @ altared spaces August 11, 2010 at 9:33 am

You’re right. Anything with a flavored soft cheese gets my vote. I make a zuchinni crusted pizza that is pretty yummy. I actually do yearn (just a smidge) for this veggie.


Belinda Munoz + The Halfway Point August 11, 2010 at 10:11 am

Kitch, I’m a little sad that you don’t like beets because a beet salad is one of my favorite first courses. But, calling zucchini “humble green rod”, well, evokes confidence and that’s always sexy. I love everything in this roll-up. Especially the red pepper flakes. Yum!


Anne@lifeinpencil August 11, 2010 at 10:14 am

yep…that zucchini is sex on a plate. I thought I was all snazzy for making zucchini boats with goat cheese the other day, but now I realize I’m just a poser. These look delicious.


Jen August 11, 2010 at 10:15 am

I LOVE how you sexed up zucchini. It totally deserved some good lovin’. ;)


Corinne August 11, 2010 at 11:19 am

I have three little zucchini just hanging out in my fridge right now…


K Odell August 11, 2010 at 11:57 am

omg- zuchini is SO sexy- look at the shape! seriously, if you were inspecting a zuchini in front of a sex starved 24 yr old male, he’s be just pouring dirty thoughts from his psyche.

But, I actually have been craving zuchini- and love goat cheese, and AM going to the grocery store today (I was planning on buying zuchini already) so I guess I’ll be making this with the corn fritters and shrimp tonight.


JennyMac August 11, 2010 at 12:23 pm

This looks (and sounds) absolutely perfect!


siren August 11, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Okay, but seriously, there is no other vegetable quite as symbolic of the phallus as the 3 lb zucchinis churning out of my garden

they make my husband a *wee* bit uncomfortable as I proudly display them with a smile


Eva @ Eva Evolving August 12, 2010 at 11:18 am

Isn’t this the truth?! Hilarious!


Stacia August 11, 2010 at 12:54 pm

This makes me want to ask a zuke out on a date. Just to get a piece of his cheese … Wait, um, that didn’t come out quite right.


Futureblackmail August 11, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Anything stuffed with cheese has to be good, right?


Mary Lee August 11, 2010 at 2:25 pm

This looks MAHVELOUS, Dahling!

Truly! I am always amazed at how much grilling makes zucchini taste so wonderful… and with goat cheese. . . YOWSAH!!! This is worth getting the mandolin out for!


Lyndsey August 11, 2010 at 3:53 pm

You did a good job on “sexifying” a lowly veggie! Love goat cheese! I actually love zucchini…but feel the same way about beets (do like the color of beets though). I am making these for my next book club! Thanks!


Cheryl @ Mommypants August 11, 2010 at 3:56 pm

OMG. That goat cheese? Almost makes me get over my absolute distaste for that slimy vegetable. Almost.


Liz August 11, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Okay. I won’t tell you what I thought of when I read “sex” and “zucchini”….tee hee.


subWOW August 11, 2010 at 5:38 pm

You are so sneaky! You lured me in with the word SEX and then you try to feed me healthy food!

I do often wonder about the ridges on zucchinis…

Fine. I am sorry. This is why nobody takes me seriously… *mumble mumble*


Heather August 11, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Damn Kitch! You totally got me drooling over here! Not so sure about the goat cheese – it scares me a little… But that picture looks so amazing! Perhaps if I just closed my eyes when I added the cheese I would never know:) Way to give Zucchini a good rap!


Aging Mommy August 11, 2010 at 6:44 pm

When I was pregnant the things I really missed were goats cheese, blue and soft cheeses and my glass of wine when we went out to dinner. This sounds fabulous. I think you need to invite your loyal followers over for a night of decadence and good food. We can bring the wine if you just cook some of these delights for us!


Alexandra August 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm

You know I’m making this , right?


Kelly August 11, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Yum! Can I skip a step and just eat my softened goat cheese and basil on top of chunks of zucchini?


Naptimewriting August 11, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Seriously, Kitch? You think zuccini aren’t sexy enough as they are? You’re the one who called them green rods; not me. Only prob with zukes and their relation to George Clooney is the little thorny hair things up and down the shaft. Seriously. Ow.
Also? I’m with Kelly. If I slice and grill and wrap something, I’m gonna take a bite and it’s gonna be a freaking mess. Zuke coins with piped coat cheese and a basil leaf atop? Please may I take the easy way out?


Bryan August 12, 2010 at 2:34 am

Wow you did make the sexy! I have always liked my grilled Zuks! Goat cheese and basil would sexy it up these sound great.


TKW August 12, 2010 at 6:06 am

You guys are making me laugh! Naughty little minxes, you are!

Stephane, I’d love the zucchini recipe! Bring it on!

Kelly and Nap–I think grilled zucchini disks with the goat cheese and basil is an inspired idea! They would be less messy to eat…see how smart you cookies are.

Goat cheese fearers–the cheese dude behind the counter at the supermarket is your friend! Ask them to direct you to a very mild-flavored variety and you shouldn’t have too much to fear! If you try it, let me know how your foray into the world of goat cheese went!


bonnie August 12, 2010 at 6:56 am

I almost used my zucchini for this sexy little dish but was was too tired…….. = ) Thus, the scrambled eggs!!



Emily August 12, 2010 at 7:08 am

Oh man, your article cracked me up – so clever! I happen to be a fan of zucchini… I don’t think zucchini should be left out of the Vegetable Games. Brussels sprouts, though, are another story. I could live without those suckers!

This recipe looks awesome. I am sure you have noticed over the summer I have experimented with various things to grill… once it cools down enough to start grilling again, I am going to try this!


Maureen@IslandRoar August 12, 2010 at 7:52 am

Zucchini as sexy; I think you’re starting a whole new trend. These look so good!


Sherri August 12, 2010 at 8:05 am

Ok – to me zucchini is already sexy (and, I am so sorry – did not realize that it might be like the girl no one asks to dance – will ask far more often now ;-) – love it – and.. LOVE goat cheese more … I have a brunch to go to this weekend (two actually – and I usually never have anywhere to go), so… might try this (one is a “bring something to contribute” for sure)… Perfect timing, TKW! Another good idea… (you are “on it” ).


soccermom August 12, 2010 at 8:09 am

Damn those look awesome. I LOVE Zucchini !


Contemporary Troubadour August 12, 2010 at 9:30 am

Sexed up veggies will always win my heart. I will refrain from saying anything naughtier this time so the Diet Coke stays where it belongs, Kitch ;)


Eva @ Eva Evolving August 12, 2010 at 11:22 am

We’ve definitely entered the “What the hell should I do with MORE zucchini?!” part of summer. Adding this recipe to my arsenal. Last weekend I won the battle: Eva 2, Zucchini 0. Tried a new recipe for zucchini bread (pretty good) and a surprisingly good zucchini casserole with red pepper aioli. Try it, you’ll like it!


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