Zucchini is a nutritious fruit and one of the main ingredients in many recipes. You can use zucchini if you are trying to prepare a vegetarian or vegan version of your dish or if you’re trying to stay on a low-calorie or keto diet.
If you’re not fond of the taste of zucchini or you can’t find them out of season, there are lots of other options that you can explore if you’re trying to find a tasty zucchini substitute. Keep on reading to learn more about the delicious alternatives that you can use.
The best substitutes for zucchini
Zucchini or courgette is an edible fruit that is eaten raw as part of your salad or can be cooked, baked, grilled, or even fried. It’s often confused for a vegetable, just like tomatoes, but zucchini is actually the unripe fruit of the plant that goes by the same name.
Zucchini grows in warm weather and is a crucial ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine. There are different types of zucchini, and they come in all shapes and colors, but they all taste incredible, no matter how you choose to cook or serve them.
Since zucchini is so versatile, your local grocery store might run out of zucchini just when you’re trying to get some to prepare your favorite dish. Or maybe you or your guests are allergic to zucchini or want to try another taste in your recipe. This shouldn’t be a problem because there are other options that you can consider if you want to find another ingredient that provides the same zucchini texture.
Whether you’re trying to find a substitute for your salad, stew, frittata, casserole, or pasta, you can experiment with different ingredients to find the best alternative to zucchini. Here’s a list of tasty zucchini substitutes.
Eggplants, or aubergine, can be an interesting replacement for zucchini because it has the same texture, although eggplants tend to have more flavor. It’s the perfect zucchini substitute in lasagna because it doesn’t lose its shape or texture when sliced and baked.
There are several types of eggplants available, but Asian eggplants work best as a zucchini-like vegetable, especially because it looks almost the same.
You can use eggplants in your recipe if you’re preparing grilled veggies or a baked dish. However, eggplants tend to absorb more oil than zucchini, so if you’re frying your eggplants, you should use a smaller amount of oil.
When you can’t get zucchini for your recipe, you can replace it with pumpkin, which is a popular choice for the cold season. In fact, it’s easy to find in fall and winter, unlike zucchini.
Pumpkin can be cooked in multiple ways, but it works really well in recipes where you want to have a creamy and buttery texture, like stews. This winter squash is a nutritious addition to your recipe because it’s rich in vitamins.
We do not recommend cooking pumpkin for extended periods or at high temperatures, especially if your recipe is a baked or fried dish because this squash tends to become very soft.
If you have a recipe that calls for raw zucchini, you can use regular cucumbers instead. Use cucumbers if you’re preparing a salad or a dish that doesn’t require much cooking.
There are more than 100 varieties of cucumbers, but not all of them look or taste the same. The variety that most resembles zucchini is the regular variety, the one that is great for slicing and is mostly used in our cooking. The English variety can also work since it resembles dark-skinned zucchini.
Cucumber pairs well with the other veggies in your salad and have a refreshing taste that will definitely work for multiple recipes.
4. Yellow Squash
Yellow squash can be a perfect choice if you’re trying to find a zucchini-like vegetable because it has a similar taste and texture. It works for almost all the recipes that call for the use of zucchini.
The main difference between these two is in color, as zucchini tends to be deep green while summer squash is bright yellow. The other difference is in shape, as zucchini is straight while yellow squash is a little bit bulbous at the bottom and tapered at the top.
This variety of summer squash can be an excellent choice for every dish and even for salads because its soft flesh cooks at almost the same time as zucchini. You can prepare yellow squash boats, serve it with several types of proteins, or grill it because it’s just as versatile.
We recommend trying yellow squash as a zucchini replacement in a recipe that requires frying. It absorbs the same amount of oil and retains its texture and taste. It will also work if you’re trying to find a zucchini replacement in ratatouille or while making zoodles.
5. Sweet Potato
If you’re looking for a tasty and versatile zucchini substitute, you can try sweet potatoes. When cooked, sweet potatoes have a very close taste to zucchini, and they are also rich in healthy nutrients.
Although you probably use sweet potatoes to prepare delicious potato wedges, they will perfectly replace zucchini in vegetarian and vegan dishes. However, they won’t work for you if you’re following a low-carb diet.
Since they require a shorter cooking time, you can use sweet potatoes to replace grilled or sautéed zucchini. You can brush them with a little olive oil and add some salt and pepper, and you’ll have an amazing side dish next to your oven-roasted or grilled chicken or pork.
You can use sweet potatoes to prepare bread, frittata, and salads. Cook your sweet potatoes a little bit more, and you will have a creamy stew or soup.
This might be a bit surprising, but carrots can actually replace zucchini in multiple recipes. You might think about substituting zucchini for carrots when you’re preparing a summer salad.
You can actually slice carrots and add them to your soup or even a bread recipe that calls for zucchini as the main ingredient. Just chop your carrots and use them instead, and you won’t notice much difference in the taste or texture of your dish.
The only downside of using carrots is that the colors are completely different, so if the appearance of your dish is a key element, this substitute is probably not for you.
If you’re not fond of zucchini’s taste, you can enjoy the same creaminess in your baked dishes by adding mushrooms. Mushrooms have an earthy umami flavor, so they will add more depth to your stews.
Hearty mushrooms can be seasoned to change their flavor. So, they’re among the most versatile ingredients in any dish.
8. Patty Pan Squash
Patty pan squash is an acceptable zucchini alternative in baking recipes because it delivers the same taste and texture as zucchini. It comes in different varieties, and all of them can be used to replace your zucchini in several recipes.
You can eat patty pan squash raw in your salads or even fry it with the rest of the ingredients of your dish. Having a texture similar to zucchini, won’t affect the consistency of your dishes.
9. Chayote Squash
Chayote squash is very common in Latin cuisine and is an interesting replacement if you run out of zucchini or want to try a new taste in your recipe.
Replace the green fruit with chayote in a side dish of sautéed zucchini, as chayote squash tastes pretty much the same. It has a rather firm texture, so it will also work when you’re preparing a salad.
You can also use chayote squash to make zoodles if you’re on a low-carb diet because its firm texture works perfectly for spiralizing.
Apple sounds like an unusual substitute for zucchini, but it actually works in several baked recipes. Once sliced and baked, apples will have the same texture as zucchini, and they won’t retain much sweetness.
If you’re on a low-calorie diet, trying to enrich your diet with more nutrients, or are allergic to zucchini, you can substitute them for apples that taste the same. Unlike zucchini, apples can be found all year round.
We don’t recommend using raw apples in salads because their taste is different from that of zucchini. But if you’re making bread or a baked dish, they will work fine.
Celery is a great replacement for zucchini in soups and stews. Although it has a different texture from zucchini, when chopped and added to a soup, it will be the perfect addition, thanks to its bright color.
Moreover, celery has a strong, delicious flavor that will immediately elevate the taste of your recipes. The difference in flavor will work for you if you’re preparing a recipe that calls for zucchini, but you’re not that fond of its taste.
Just like celery, parsley can be an excellent substitute for zucchini if you don’t like its taste. Parsley has a clean earthy taste and can add a new flavor to your stew or soup if you want to add a healthy vegetable.
The best thing about parsley is that it really fits anywhere, in fact, it’s a substitute for many vegetables and herbs, including oregano. It’s hard to find a recipe that wouldn’t benefit from chopped parsley, and even though its taste is not overpowering, it does enhance the dish well enough to make you feel the difference.
13. Green Peppers
Green peppers can replace stuffed zucchinis. They have a different texture and flavor, so they work if you don’t like zucchinis. They have a slightly grassy flavor, so they can also be used in salads and raw dishes.
Their thick walls can tolerate more cooking, so they will be crunchier when used in a baked dish.
How to choose a zucchini substitute
As you can see, there are lots of amazing zucchini substitutes, so you can find several options if you run out of zucchini or want to try a different taste in your recipes.
If you’re preparing a salad or want to replace raw zucchini, you can use cucumbers, carrots, or summer squash.
For baked dishes, ratatouille, and lasagna, you can use eggplants. If you want your baked dishes to taste creamy and rich, you can replace zucchini with sweet potatoes.
You can use chayote squash or summer squash to make zoodles if you don’t like zucchini because they will retain their shape when cooked. For fried dishes and frittatas, we recommend using sweet potatoes and patty pan squash.
For soup and stews, you can use sweet potatoes, celery, parsley, and pumpkin. Although apples have a different taste than zucchini, they will work for you if you’re preparing zucchini bread. For bread, you can also use carrots or sweet potatoes.
If you don’t like the taste of zucchinis, you can replace them with mushrooms or green peppers, which you can also stuff.
Since cooking is all about creativity, we recommend that you try the different zucchini alternatives to find the best one for your recipe.