Zucchini is incredibly versatile and healthy.
Its sweet and savory qualities make zucchini — which is part of the squash family — remarkably versatile, says Preeti Pusalkar, a certified clinical nutritionist at Hudson Medical Group in New York City.
“Not only is it great to consume as a vegetable, this magical cucumber can also transform into noodles and bread,” she says. Zucchini is low in carbohydrates and rich in vitamins and minerals, which makes it a terrific choice if you’re trying to lose weight. As an occasional treat, “fried zucchini is just as delicious, if not more, than french fries,” Pusalkar says.
Here are seven uses for zucchini:
1. Zucchini bread or cake
Thanks to the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of amateur bakers have tried their hand at baking bread, Pusalkar notes. Zucchini bread would be a healthier option. “It’s more nutrient-rich and low-carb,” she says. “It can be enjoyed for breakfast or as a mid-day snack.” There are plenty of recipes available online.
2. Zoodles (zucchini noodles)
Zoodles — zucchini noodles — are widely available in grocery stores and have become a popular option in recent years. “It is an excellent non-starchy substitute for pasta when made into zucchini noodles or zoodles,” says Anna Kippen, a registered dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic. “Zoodles can be lightly sautéed and used as an alternative in your favorite pasta dish. This is a perfect option for people who may be trying to limit their intake of refined carbohydrates. It also adds extra vitamins and vegetables to your diet.”
3. Grilled zucchini
For a quick and easy side dish, sprinkle spices on top of sliced zucchini and grill it. “I often cut zucchini in half lengthwise and fill each side with a mixture of sautéed carrots, onions, garlic and feta cheese for a savory appetizer that can be frozen or grilled,” Kippen says.
4. Roasted zucchini fries
“One of my all-time favorite zucchini sides is roasted zucchini fries topped with thyme, oregano, basil and a little bit of Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast,” Kippen says.
5. Zucchini lasagna
Thin vertical slices of zucchini can serve as a great substitute for regular lasagna noodles, Pusalkar says. These have fewer carbs than flour-based noodles, which is good if you’re trying to lose weight. “Be generous with the tomato sauce and ground meat so you can still get all the lasagna feels, and maybe substitute the mozzarella with some herb goat cheese if you’re also trying to avoid dairy.”
6. Curry zucchini
If you love Thai or Indian curry, you might try this easy to prepare dish, Pusalkar says. Cut fresh zucchini into tiny cubes and add to any coconut milk-based curry with Indian spices or Thai basil and fish sauce. Enjoy it with some basmati rice. You could add tofu or chickpeas for protein.
7. Zucchini hummus
Making hummus with zucchini isn’t difficult, says Denice Taylor, a registered dietitian at Texas Heath Arlington Memorial Hospital in Arlington, Texas. All you need is one medium-size zucchini, garlic, one can of chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil. Pour all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender to mix them into hummus. You can add carrots, cucumbers or celery. “Zucchini is a great way to add fiber and texture to recipes,” Taylor says.
To recap, here are seven uses for zucchini:
— Zucchini bread or cake.
— Zoodles (zucchini noodles).
— Grilled zucchini.
— Roasted zucchini fries.
— Zucchini lasagna.
— Curry zucchini.
— Zucchini hummus.
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