The zucchini is treated as a vegetable in a culinary context. Botanically, the zucchini is a fruit, being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower. The word zucchini is Italian in origin. It comes from "zucca," the Italian word for squash. Zucchini can be dark or light green. A related hybrid, the golden zucchini, is a deep yellow or orange color. The flower of the zucchini plant is also edible.
Zucchini has approximately just 25 calories, is low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol and is a great source of dietary fiber. A zucchini has more potassium than a banana. Other nutrients found in zucchini include the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
Fun Fact: The world’s largest zucchini on record was 69 1/2 inches long, and weighed 65 lbs!
Adapted from: Wikipedia.com and TheFoodChannel.com
We made some simple and delicious dishes with our zucchini that we wanted to share. We prepared Couscous Zucchini Boats, Raw Zucchini Noodles, Zucchini Banana Bread and No Bake Zucchini Bites. Recipes are included below.
Couscous Zucchini Boats
Recipe from www.Food.com
4 zucchini (medium)
1 onion (small, finely chopped)
1 garlic clove (minced)
2 tsps olive oil
1 cup whole wheat couscous (cooked) (Substituting quinoa would be really great too!)
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tbsp fresh parsley (minced)
salt (to taste)
cracked black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Heat a large pot of water to simmering and add whole zucchini. Cook until just soft, for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove them from the water and set aside until cool enough to handle.
3. Meanwhile, in a skillet, sauté onions in oil until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so.
4. Slice the cooled squash in half lengthwise and scrape the pulp into a mixing bowl. Reserve the shells.
5. Combine the squash flesh, onions/garlic, tomatoes, couscous and seasonings.
6. Carefully spoon the mixture evenly into the squash shells, mounding slightly.
7. Place on a greased baking sheet.
8. Bake for 10 minutes or until piping hot.
By: Lisa Cheplak
One of my favorite ways to have zucchini is Raw zucchini “noodles” with tomato sauce. I use a Spirooli Slicer (see photo below) to cut the zucchini into noodles (always fun for my son to help with!) Then I top the "noodles" with tomato sauce. For a quick tomato sauce, take a large can of organic tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes are always best), garlic and herbs(parsley, oregano, basil) and blend all together in a blender. Heat if desired. Add sauce to the “noodles”, top with sun dried tomatoes and walnuts (pine nuts would be great too). If you don’t have a Spirooli you can use shredded or julienned zucchini, (but I love having a Spirooli!)
Recipe by: Isa Chandra
1 large very ripe banana
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup canola oil, or substitute ¼ cup more applesauce
¾ cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup grated zucchini*
*Note: Many zucchini breads call for you to drain the zucchini prior to baking. This recipe uses the moisture from the zucchini in the bread, instead of adding any additional liquid, which will save you the step of draining the zucchini.
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used ½ whole wheat flour and 1/2 white flour)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8x4 metal bread pan.
1. In a mixing bowl, mash the banana well, until no large chunks are left. Add the applesauce, canola oil (if using), sugar, and vanilla and use a strong fork to mix well. Mix in the grated zucchini.
2. Sift in 1 cup of the flour, the cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt. Mix to combine. Add the walnuts, raisins and final 1/2 cup of flour, and mix just until no visible flour is left.
3. Transfer batter to the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick or knife. If it needs more time, turn heat down to 325 F and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Slice and serve!
No-Bake Zucchini Bread Granola Bites
Recipe By: Cookin Canuck
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/3 cups sliced almonds, chopped
1 tbsp chia seeds
3/4 cup almond butter
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp agave nectar or honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (packed) grated zucchini
- In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds and chia seeds.
- Stir in the almond butter, agave nectar and cinnamon until well combined.
- Place the grated zucchini on a sheet of paper towel and squeeze out the excess liquid. Add the zucchini to the oat mixture.
- Using 1-1/2 tablespoons (packed) of the mixture for each bite, roll the mixture into bite-sized balls. Using a medium-sized cookie scoop makes this process easier. Also, spray your hands with cooking spray to stop the mixture from sticking.
- Place the granola bites on a baking sheet, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve.
- Store the remaining granola bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.