Healthy Zucchini: Cooking Tips

Zucchini, Zucchini, Everywhere

Certain times of year, mainly late summer and early fall, see a surplus of zucchini, which gives cooks the problem of what to do with it, especially if you’re interested in making healthy zucchini dishes. Whether your own garden is overrun with the tight green summer squash, or you’ve had some foisted upon you by family, it helps if you know healthy things you can do with zucchini, Whatever you chose to do with it, don’t peel it. Most of the nutrients are in the skin (A 2 Z). Also, try not to overcook, as Zuchini contains luetin, which helps protect your vision (Mayo Clinic, 2009).

Freeze for Later Use

If you feel you’ll never be able to get through all the zucchini you have, you can freeze it for later use. To start, split a zucchini lengthwise (cut it in half through the equator if it is a particularly large one). The seeds are edible, but if you dislike them, you can scoop them out using a large spoon or ice-cream scoop. Then cut the zucchini up into whatever shapes you like (strips are popular). Line a plate with plastic wrap, put the zucchini on the plate, and stick in the freezer. Once the zucchini has frozen solid, transfer to a zip-top bag.

Mix Into Pasta Sauces

Zucchini can turn any tomato sauce into a vegetable tomato sauce. To do this, use about ¼ cup of half-inch zucchini pieces for every person you plan to serve. If you’re making sauce that requires onion, add your zucchini at the same time you do the onions. Otherwise, cook in a small amount of oil over medium-low heat for approximately 5 minutes before stirring into a finished sauce.

Make Soup

Zucchini posses a unique quality: it can make pureed soups taste creamy, without adding any cream. This is one of the few times you’ll want to peel your zucchini, unless you want the finished soup to be bright green. Peel and cut your zucchini into chunks, then boil or steam until soft. Place in a blender and blend with chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water, then use in place of cream in any “creamy” soup recipe. Or, if you like, zuchini can be the main ingredient in your soup. Zuchini works well paired with herbs such as basil.

Make Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread is a classic zucchini dish, but isn’t always the healthiest option. Fortunately, the Internet abounds with healthier versions of this old-fashioned recipe. The Mayo Clinic, as well as the Healthy Cooking section of Food Network, both offer recipes worth trying. For example, the Mayo Clinic recommends using egg whites, rather than full eggs, and adding some whole-grain flour to the recipe.

References

A 2 Z Nutrition Information; Zucchini Nutrition Facts; Accessed 8 September 2010, from https://health.learninginfo.org/nutrition-facts/zucchini.htm

Mayo Clinic: (2009); Recipe: Healthy Zucchini Bread. Accessed 8 September 2009, from

https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/zucchini-bread/NU00457