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Healthy Eats and Repeat

Highlighting Food, Recipes, and Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle
zucchini 2

Zucchini Overflow

For any gardeners who have more zucchini than you can count, no need to ditch them with your friends, family, and neighbors. Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable that you can use to its full potential this season.

Nutritionally, 1 cup of chopped zucchini contains around 20 calories, 4g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, and is a source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A and potassium. Like other veggies, zucchini are not a significant source of fat, protein, or sodium.

  • Buy: Choose zucchini that are small to medium in size. Large zucchini can be eaten, but be aware they may be tougher. Look for zucchini that are firm to the touch with a deep green skin. Avoid zucchini that have insect damage or soft spots or bruises.
  • Store: Place zucchini unwashed in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days. The longer they are stored, zucchini may start to soften and wrinkle.
  • Prepare: Wash zucchini and cut into desired sized pieces for your recipe. Zucchini is a very mild vegetable so you can add it to recipes (for extra vegetable nutrition) without changing the flavor of your dish.
  • Eat: Baked goods (breads, muffins, etc.) often come to mind when trying to use up zucchini. You can go even further!

Look at recipes that include zucchini in soups and stews (add in the last 15-30 minutes of cooking to prevent zucchini from becoming too soft), pasta dishes, and stir fries.

Large zucchini may have large, hard-to-eat seeds and tougher flesh. These are great to use in baking and stuffing (zucchini boats have a fun presentation).

Ever thought to pickle zucchini? Try this Pickled Bread-And-Butter Zucchini recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

With a spiral slicer, you can make zucchini noodles. These are a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate alternative to pasta.

Grilled Zucchini-Tomato Cheese (Serves 4)

Make use of late-spring and early-summer produce in this twist on a grilled tomato and cheese sandwich.

1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise or softened cream cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

1 medium zucchini
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
4 slices part-skim mozzarella cheese
8 slices bread or roll, preferably whole-grain
softened butter or oil

1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.
3. Wash and cut both ends off zucchini. With a vegetable peeler, peel zucchini into wide ribbons.
4. To assemble sandwiches, spread mayonnaise mixture evenly on 4 slices of bread. Top with zucchini ribbons, tomato slices, and cheese. Top sandwiches with remaining bread slices.
5. Spread a small amount of softened butter on both sides of each sandwich. Add to skillet and cook 2-3 minutes or until lightly brown. Flip sandwiches and grill on second side about 2 minutes or until lightly brown and cheese is melted.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 280 calories, 13g fat, 540mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 13g protein

Recipe presented at "Kirby's Kitchen" in 2014

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