If tomatoes are truly considered fruit, there’s no question that zucchini (a.k.a. green squash) is the most versatile summertime vegetable out there. It ranges in beautiful shades of dark green, has a flexible texture and carries a subtle flavor. And what makes it cooler than a cucumber: no matter where you get it from, it’s pretty consistent with the features mentioned above. Today I’m sharing all the easy, wonderful ways you can add zucchini to your summer meals, snacks and appetizers.
Whoever thought of turning zucchini into noodles was a genius, because as much as I love real pasta—or any starchy carbs for that matter— they don’t particularly love me. And if we’re being honest, when I started gradually replacing spaghetti for “zoodles,” I realized that it’s the sauce and other add-ins that make the dish so delicious. I mean, we’ve all eaten cooked noodles on their own… nothing exciting, right? There are lots of gadgets on the market to form zoodles, but the one I use costs only $10 and works like a pencil sharpener. Order it from Bed Bath & Beyond here.
I have seen chef after chef on Food Network rave about how grilling fruits and veggies can bring out flavors you didn’t even know existed. Proof: Giada de Laurentiis has a recipe for Grilled Lettuces in her “Giada’s Family Dinners” cookbook (which I own and highly recommend). If you’re luckier than me and have a grill, brush zucchini wedges or slices with olive oil and sprinkle on your favorite spices. Feeling fancy? Brush it with a homemade or store-bought marinade instead.
When I’m feeling particularly lazy, I love that I can just chop up some zucchini with whatever I have on hand—potatoes, onions, even corn on the cob—and throw it in the oven while I do chores around the apartment. Click here to get a complete rundown on roasting.
For a nutritious boost, you can shred/grate zucchini into things you normally eat on the reg. From muffins and pancakes to meatballs, burritos, salads and more, even the pickiest eaters will barely notice. In fact, one of our good family friends has a recipe for chocolate zucchini cake, and the first time we tried it, she challenged us to guess her secret healthy ingredient. We were so shocked when she told us that we inspected our slices for flecks of green!
Much like the zoodles thing above, I often use a vegetable/potato peeler to create long, thin slices for lasagna or enchiladas when I’m trying to limit my carb intake. Again, the key here is to pat the slices as dry as you can with paper towel. Sometimes I’ll make mini wraps out of them with hummus or mayo, lunchmeat and cheese. If you don’t mind the risk of your creation slightly falling apart, you can overlap two to four slices to increase the width 🙂
Ugh, now I’m getting hungry… let me know what you think in the comments! Happy Sunday, everyone!
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