In Mexico, zucchini or calabza are generally served mixed into soups or stews or used as a filling for quesadillas. In Italy, zucchini are usually breaded or pan-fried and the zucchini flowers are also widely utilized. In France, zucchini is an essential ingredient in the famous ratatouille, which is a stew of summer fruits and vegetables or also an AWESOME movie! ;-) In Turkey, they generally use zucchini to make "zucchini pancakes" that are traditionally served with yogurt. In Greece, zucchini is usually fried or boiled but can also be stuffed with various minced meats. In Bulgaria, a popular dish is an oven-baked zucchini topped with eggs, yogurt, flour and dill. In Egypt, zucchini are cooked with tomato sauce, garlic and onions. Zucchini is low in calories and contains useful amounts of folate, Vitamin A, and potassium.
Below you will find some useful ways/ideas to utilize this summer veggie if you haven't already!
Cheesy Zucchini Rice
Mix 2 medium shredded zucchini and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (part-skim if you want to be more health conscious) into just cooked brown rice; the residual heat will steam the zucchini and melt the cheese, creating a healthy and tasty side dish. *Remember brown rice is ALWAYS a healthier alternative, but feel free to use white rice, jasmine rice, etc...*
Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Use a vegetable peeler to shave long, thin strips of zucchini (stop when you reach the seedy inner core). Toss with lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper for a bright-tasting, no-cook salad. *This happens to be one recipe that I'm absolutely obsessed with right now! HOW EASY!*
Zucchini with Pearl Pasta
Sauté diced zucchini (3 medium) in olive oil; toss with cooked pearl pasta (Israeli couscous) or whole-wheat orzo. Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a small handful of toasted pine nuts (optional).
Zucchini Oven Fries
Slice zucchini into 3-inch-by-1/2-inch sticks. Dip into beaten egg (or egg substitute), then into seasoned breadcrumbs. (I like to use Italian breadcrumbs.) Place on a baking sheet, spritz with cooking spray and bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, turning zucchini fries after 15 minutes.
Mac and Cheese with Zucchini
Mix shredded zucchini (2 medium) and 1 cup of cooked green peas into your best low-fat or regular macaroni and cheese recipe. This is a great way to sneak some healthy green veggies into this family favorite especially if you have children. (Hopefully they're not as picky as I was as a kid)!
Sauté diced zucchini and chopped onion in olive oil. Whisk 4 whole eggs, 2 egg whites, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Pour over vegetables; cook on the stove until eggs are almost set, then finish in the broiler so the frittata puffs and browns or if you're cooking leisurely and have more time finish the frittata in a 400 degree oven and cook more low and slow until the eggs have set and it begins to brown. *You can add any veggies and add-ins you like; I like spinach, tomatoes, Feta cheese, bacon/ham, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc...*
Zucchini Pasta Salad
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add 1 cup whole-wheat orzo. Cook according to package directions. With 5 minutes remaining, add 1 diced zucchini, 1 cup frozen shelled edamame and 1 cup fresh green beans (cut in 1-inch pieces). Continue cooking, then drain pasta and vegetables. Toss with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. *Feel free to add in any other favorite veggies and you can also use your own personal favorite dressing as well. Makes an AWESOME 4th of July side dish!*
Zucchini in a brownie? Absolutely! This low fat brownie recipe includes grated zucchini, applesauce and banana for a nutrient-packed chocolatey treat. Low fat brownie recipe.
‘Hidden’ Zucchini Spaghetti
Grate 2 medium zucchini and squeeze out moisture; stir into your favorite healthy store-bought spaghetti sauce as it’s heating, to add an extra serving of veggies. Toss sauce with whole-wheat spaghetti. *Or as a low-carb alternative use the grated zucchini as your "noodles" and skip the spaghetti in the entire recipe for a healthy alternative.*
What roundup of zucchini recipes would be complete without a quick bread? With the addition of whole-grain oats, pineapple, dried apricots and flax meal, this recipe makes a terrific on-the-go breakfast, and they freeze well. Zucchini Muffins
*BONUS ZUCCHINI RECIPE!!!*
Add 2 medium grated zucchini to your favorite hummus recipe and blend well. Check out my most recent blog post that has an easy hummus recipe and some different variations/ideas. Hummus Time