Zucchini 2 ways: Simple salad and a sweet baked good using the summer squash

It’s peak squash season and if you’re in need of some simple ways to make the most of zucchini, Chef David Nayfeld has you covered.

Nayfeld, chef-owner of Che Fico in San Francisco, works with local farms and purveyors to carry top quality squash and shared his two recipes to make the most of the summer vegetable.

One savory option involves zero cooking and combines spicy Calabrian chili, honey and almonds to create a simple and elegant summer salad. And a sweet baked treat takes zucchini bread to the next level.

Summer Squash Salad

5 ounces medium zucchini or crookneck squash, sliced in 1/8-inch thick pieces
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon Juice
1/2 tablespoon Calabrian chili spread
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons mint leaves
2 tablespoons grated parmesan


Use a mandolin to slice the zucchini and squash along their length about ⅛ of an inch in thickness.

Take a generous pinch of kosher salt and sprinkle it evenly over the sliced squash; allow to sit for 10 minutes. The salt will pull water out of the zucchini slices, allowing them to become pliable.

In the meantime, make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, mix the honey into the lemon until it dissolves. Then stir in the chili spread and olive oil.

Take the salted zucchini and roll them into loops, arrange them on a plate at different angles- make it fun!

Spoon the vinaigrette evenly over the dish and sprinkle the toasted almonds around.

Garnish with the mint leaves.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

1/2 cup melted butter (plus extra, softened, for preparing pan)
2 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups Demerara sugar
2 whole eggs
1 cup shredded zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup dark chocolate disks (70% or darker)
1 cup toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar


Preheat oven to 375 F (with the convection setting if possible).

Prepare a 9-inch by 5-inch baking pan with softened butter.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.

In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until creamy and well incorporated. (About 30 seconds).

Add the melted butter to the eggs and sugar and whisk until well combined.

Add Zucchini to the egg mixture. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry with a rubber spatula until just combined.

Add the sour cream and chocolate in and mix just until combined.

Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the top.

Bake the bread for 65 minutes. Check the bread and if color is dark brown and the sides have pulled away from the edges, it is finished. If not, bake for an additional 5-10 minutes as needed.

Allow the bread to cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Recipes reprinted courtesy of Chef David Nayfeld.