Zucchini Pie Bars

Don’t freak out people, I promise you’ll love these. I pinky swear with caramel sauce on top!

Zucchini Pie Bars! Cooking zucchini like this makes it taste like apple pie!

Jordan is attending four birthday parties this month. FOUR. Everyone is turning 10 so all of them are tweens that love glitter, bling, and Justice For Girls.

Have you heard of Justice? It’s a clothing store for girls. It’s also where I just spent a mortgage payment on four birthday gifts. (Not really…but there were three digits involved in my purchase.)

For years I told myself that I’d never be one of those moms. You know, the ones that buy half their kids clothes at a store where a t-shirt costs $29. And then my daughter went to first grade and that was that. #firstworldproblems

I will admit that I only shop there with a coupon or when there is a clearance sale, unless I need birthday gifts. Which brings me back to today and my very tired credit card.

Luckily I can use some of my grocery budget to pay for the clothing bill. I haven’t had to buy zucchini in weeks and I’ve got about 10 pounds of it still in my refrigerator. California is all confused, it’s only June and my zucchini plant is pretty much finished producing.

At least I’m ahead of the game. I’ll have tons of recipes for you just in time for when your plant starts producing!

Zucchini Pie Bars with shortbread crust and crumble topping!

Now, if you’re still reading, I applaud you. I mean, you read the title of this post and stuck with it, even with the weirdness: Zucchini Pie Bars.

I know I say this a lot, but I’m going to say it again and I mean it 200%: this recipe was one of my favorites on this blog – ever. I had to immediately freeze them so I didn’t eat the entire pan with a fork. (Kind of like what I did with this.)

Did you know that when you cook zucchini in butter, cinnamon, and sugar, they taste like apples? It’s totally true, which is something I discovered two years ago. It’s like magic. And it uses up the zucchini that’s crowding your vegetable drawer.

Also? It makes these pie bars a vegetable. They are a totally acceptable side dish, IMO.

Zucchini Pie Bars that taste like apple pie topped with crumble!

Let’s break down the bars, okay?

Layer 1: a thick shortbread crust. I based this recipe off my Pear Crumble Bars from last year. Those were also one of my favorite recipes. The crust is a crumbly mixture of butter, flour, and sugar that gets pressed into a 9×9″ pan. It makes a nice thick crust, like you see here.

I like thick crusts and I cannot lie… (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Layer 2:  cooked zucchini that tastes like apples. Again, I pinky swear. Peel the zucchini with a vegetable peeler then dice it small. You can also take out the seeds if you want by cutting it in half longwise and scraping them out with a spoon. I partially cook the zucchini in butter, cinnamon, and sugar just until the edges are translucent. This assures that the final product is cooked through and not crunchy.

Layer 3: A crumble topping. There is nothing better than a crumble topping. THE END.

Zucchini Pie Bars! Cooking zucchini like this makes it taste like apple pie!
These are great on their own or smothered in ice cream and caramel sauce. Or just caramel sauce. Or just from the pan with a fork. #nojudgements

Did you make this recipe?

Zucchini Pie Bars

When you cook zucchini with cinnamon and sugar it tastes like apples, I promise! Make a crumble bar out of your excess zucchini and you'll think you're eating apple pie bars!


Ingredients:

For the Crust:



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


For the Filling:



  • 2 cups peeled and diced zucchini

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


For the Topping:



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup quick cook oats

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt



Directions:


  1. Line a 9x9” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray (for easy removal and cutting of bars). Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Prepare the crust by slowly mixing all the ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using hand mixer. The mixture will be crumbly and if you are using a hand mixer you may need to use your hands to break up any large chunks of butter. Press the crust in the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.

  3. Make the filling: Heat a frying pan over low heat. Melt the butter, then add the zucchini, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes until the zucchini just looks like it’s getting translucent around the edges. Drain and let sit until the crust is done.

  4. Make the topping while the zucchini is cooking: you can use the same bowl you used for the crust. Use a stand or a hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar. Add the flour, oats, and salt and mix slowly. The mixture will be somewhat crumbly.

  5. Right before the crust comes out of the oven, drain the zucchini again. Remove the hot crust from the oven. Sprinkle the zucchini carefully on top (make sure they are well drained first - do not add any of the extra liquid!), then sprinkle with the topping. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, until the top starts to get golden brown.

  6. Cool completely in pan before slicing into bars and serving. Serve with caramel sauce and/or ice cream or whipped cream.

  7. Store bars in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze them for up to one month.


Notes:

There is no need to take the seeds out of the zucchini but if you want to you can. Just cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon before dicing.


All images and text ©. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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48 comments

  1. This is such a timely post since I am receiving tons of zucchini in our CSA deliveries. If it tastes like apples, I am all for it!

  2. No convincing needed here, Dorothy! These are covered in crumble and look amazing. That’s all I need. Besides, zucchini is delicious. Confused, apparently, but delicious.
    It’s okay that you’re one of those moms. My mom held out and didn’t buy us the stuff everyone else was wearing. I got mocked a lot and have a lot of adult trauma. So there you go. You’re a great mom!

  3. A sweet zucchini recipe I haven’t seen before??? Awesome! I will def have to try this when our zucchini comes in 🙂

  4. These bars sound so interesting in a good way! My courgette plant hasn’t even got flowers yet so it is going to be quite a while until I get the veggies. I will definitely need to try these bars, they look delicious! 

  5. Totally looks like apple pie bars! I have heard that about zucchini that it takes on an apple flavor (but I think that with zuke in general, it’s such a chameleon it takes on almost whatever flavor you’re cooking it with). I’ve baked it with carrots, bananas, and gone savory with sweet potatoes and now I have to try this! If you say this is one of your fave recipes ever on your blog, I know it’s super special!

  6. I had no idea that zucchini tastes like apples when baked! I am a lover of zucchini bread and I cannot wait to try this! My plants are a little behind yours so I may have to wait awhile!!

  7. I’m sooo intrigued by these! I love zucchini bread and using it in any baked goods, and that crumbly top looks heavenly 🙂

  8. Okay, the zucchini even LOOKS like apples! Our zucchini plant has been producing out of control as well. I’ve just been making zucchini brownies but these sound like a great idea to try!

  9. Lucky for me, I don’t live anywhere near a Justice for Girls, or I’m sure I’d spend a fortune there, too. So Haley is adorned in Target and Old Navy. For now. Although? Also easy to spend a fortune on either place! I need no convincing with these bars – I LOVE zucchini in desserts. I mean, zucchini bread? Hello.

  10. I love using zucchini in place of apples!! And if you don’t tell them they won’t even know! I have to agree since using a veggie it totally counts as a side dish 😉

  11. YES! I can testify that you would not know this had zucchini in it if you hadn’t been told. They were great cold and absolutely wonderful warmed in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. My only problem is that I ran out of them way too fast!!! 🙂

  12. I’m intrigued!  I used the zucchini you gave me in a healthy-type bread, and it was delicious; this is definitely worth trying. I didn’t know that they could taste like apples!  As for Justice, I’m glad that we have now outgrown that store (finally!).  Their clearance wasn’t cheap; it just made it affordable.

  13. So intrigued and excited to try these bars out!! First of all, anything with a crumb topping or the word pie in it is already a winner in my book! And if I can get my boys to eat vegetables in their dessert too and love it….nothing beats that!

  14. I can’t wait to put this with the crust…..I’ve been doing it as a crisp!  And we call it Fwapple Crisp…..you know…..faux-apple!  Ha!

  15. These bars look so nice! Interesting filling!

  16. Ok, I’m gonna trust you on this one… If zucchinis taste like apples after I make this, I’m in for trouble!

  17. Drooling! I love zucchini in mostly everything. My boyfriend on the other hand is a little bit picky about squash. If I tell him that this dessert is apples, he’ll never know! 😉 Maybe he will figure it out…he’s pretty smart. But, if he enjoys zucchini breads, then I know he’ll like this dessert as well. 

  18. I 100 percent promise I would love these bars. Creative and yummy!

  19. Those pie bars really look amazing! I was a little hesitant when I saw there’s zucchini in them, but they look super delicious!! Pinned 🙂

  20. This recipe is totally intriguing! I love zucchini and zucchini bread, so you peaked my interest with this recipe… and then I read that it tastes like apples so now you have my complete attention. So I definitely have to try this recipe! 

  21. Brilliant use of zucchini! Can’t wait to get some so I can try this. Unfortunately, it snowed, like, on Mother’s Day here in Colorado, so we won’t be getting any zucchini any time soon from the garden. Boo.

  22. I bet these bars are amazing, definitely unique but I bet the texture/flavor is on point!

  23. Now I know exactly what to do with that ginormous zuke you gave me! Love these bars! Who would have thought?

  24. I’m officially interested. This recipe is cool. I knew you could disguise zucchini in bread and brownies but making it taste like apples?? I definitely have to try it!

  25. I feel like you do the best recipes with Zucchini! 

  26. zucchini pie bars?!!! oh my gawd, I LOVE these!!!

  27. I hate zucchini but maybe I will be okay with them if they are covered in carmel goodness. I should make these to say I actually ate a veggie. 🙂

  28. These are such a great idea! I’m glad you are using up some of those crazy big zucchinis! And though I don’t have a daughter, I have 2 nieces (10 and 8) and EVERYTHING is Justice! At least it makes gift shopping a no brainer. 🙂

  29. Just made these and my boys loved them! Looked and tasted just like apple crumble. Awesome recipe 🙂

  30. You recipe looks so delicious!!  Just thought you’d like to know I used it in a zucchini round up posted today!  

  31. These are in the oven and smell very yummy. However, next time I would double the zucchini mixture. Didn’t hardly have enough to cover the whole crust. It’s such a nice thick crust, and plenty of crumb topping, but not nearly enough “filling”. Can’t wait to try them though!

  32. They were just as yummy as I had expected! What a shocker for squash!

  33. I made this yesterday for our zucchini themed work bakeoff today. Was hoping to make the zucchini cinnamon scrolls, but ran out of time, so made this one with a caramel sauce instead. It was a super close competition, but he ended up winning with a zucchini mudcake with zucchini icecream. Still please with how it turned out — way better than I expected to be honest! — and I doubled the filling. Had so many positive comments. Brilliant way to use up extra zucchini….I just want to try all the other recipes now!!

  34. This looks delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  35. These zucchini pie bars look so amazing. I have never thought of using zucchini as a dessert, this must a for me and my family to try. I have just made zucchini fries as a healthy snack.

  36. Love this recipe. Making it right away. I live different ways to use my zukes and get tired of the same old recipes. Thank you!

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