Food for Thought: The Zucchini Invasion

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‘Tis the season for this wonderful veggie, but if you’re like me and have a garden full of it, it can be a challenge to reinvent it into another culinary creation!

I have to say that the many health benefits of this abundant vegetable make it worth the trouble. It is low in calories, has a high water content that is great for staying hydrated in the heat of the summer, and it has a good deal of vitamin C to help reduce inflammation and keep you healthy!  

When possible, buy organic or locally grown and keep the skins on – they are full of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A when consumed, keeping your eyes healthy and bright! In addition to the skin, be sure to try the zucchini blossoms as well, which also have their fair share of beta carotene.

Zucchini has to be one of the most versatile vegetables with its unassuming flavor, taking on the seasonings of your choice. Let’s explore a few ways to prepare this garden favorite.

  • I like a simple grilled zucchini. I slice it and then place it into a grilling basket, lined with parchment paper. I drizzle it with olive oil, add a sprig of fresh rosemary (dried is fine too), a sprinkle of sea salt and then grill to the desired consistency (about 15 minutes).
  • My favorite has to be spiralized zucchini, which creates long strands that are very much like pasta. The zucchini noodles can be eaten raw, or lightly steamed and served with your favorite sauce. I make my own crockpotted marina with tomatoes and herbs from my garden. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can find them online for under $25. It is fun to do and kids just love to help!
  • Zucchini boats are a great option for the ones that hid in the garden and look more like a giant club. I cut them in half, the long way and scape out the overly large seeds. I bake them skin side up on a cookie sheet with a small amount of water until they are easily fork tender (about 30 minutes at 350) I make a quinoa/lentil (high protein) mix with some chili flavoring or a ginger gluten-free soy sauce mix and then stuff the zucchini boats. These can be made ahead and then re-heated with a drizzle of olive oil, a bit of crumbled cashew cheese (cashews ground with sea salt and a bit of garlic), or with your favorite asiago or parmesan cheese.

Make the most of this abundant veggie and enjoy all the wonderful health benefits! You may even consider the famous zucchini bread, but that’s for another day.

As seen on Haddam News Online.

Tami Reagor