As a mom of a “selective” eater (we aren’t allowed to say picky), I’m constantly looking for ways to be sneaky with how I get vegetables on the plate. My daughters are pretty adventurous and don’t balk at veggies. In fact, one will tell you she loves Brussels sprouts and my other used to get extra beets on her lunch tray. Yet all my children can agree that zucchini is just not their favorite – my son will agree to that about all vegetables.

So recently I found myself perplexed as to what to do with my fridge full of delicious squash. I know, I put myself in this unwinnable position but I couldn’t pass up the gorgeous courgettes at the farmers market. Seriously, if you ask my kids the one thing I’ve made that they all despise it’s my version of zucchini pancakes. My husband and I love them, but the kids can’t get past the green specks in what should have been just shredded potatoes and onions.

So as I stared into the refrigerator and wondered how I can make something that will get raves from the two that aren’t picky while somehow camouflaging it for my son, I turned to the experts. I found people who said puree it and put it in pasta sauce (pretty sneaky), but I needed a break from pasta. I heard from many people suggesting a “boat” of some kind and stuffing it with various flavored fillings like pizza and tacos. This sounds great, but I know seeing the actual zucchini shape will mean that the filling will be eaten and the boat will be left behind.  

So in the end, I sauteed it with some garlic and salt and pepper and I had myself a very nice vegetarian meal that night. I ate three on my own.  

While delicious, I didn’t want to give up. So I reached out to the best – other parents. There were so many incredible suggestions and things that I plan on making soon when my kids aren’t home and I can eat by myself with no interruptions. There were suggestions for grilling it, baking it, putting it into lasagna and even zucchini tots (but I think that will go the same way the pancakes went). The resounding suggestion, however, was to make zoodles.

“Zoodles are great!”

“They are my kids’ favorite!”

“No one is upset when I make zoodles!”

Here’s the thing. I’ve made zoodles. Zoodles are just zucchinis that have been cut with a specialized spiral cutter to make spaghetti-like noodles. I don’t think zoodles are supposed to really “trick” anyone into thinking they are eating spaghetti unless you’re dieting and desperate. In the end, my kids won’t eat zoodles. I’ve tried.  

So I consulted my cookbook shelf and found titles like “Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans and Other Good Things” and “The Classic Zucchini Cookbook.”  As you can see, this has been my conundrum for awhile now. Besides a ton of recipes for zucchini bread, I wasn’t impressed with the ideas – except one. It was a take on the zoodle-noodle without displaying the noodle. It was a recipe for American goulash and another for chili-mac. The chopped pieces of zucchini simply replace the elbow macaroni, genius! I made it. I was proud. I was feeling slightly triumphant. Well, my kids aren’t eating Keto, so they wanted to know where the heck the carbs were. Failed again! So I ask you, readers, what is your favorite zucchini recipe? Help a mom out!

Lisa Sweet writes about food for the Leavenworth Times. Contact her at