I’m hoping you are lucky enough to have access to home grown squash this summer. But even if you don’t have your own vegetable garden, you can enjoy fresh zucchini squash from your grocery store. It tastes best when it’s picked small to medium sized—no more than 7 inches long. Choose squash that is also firm and shiny. If you see baby summer squash that is just one to two inches long, try those too! They are really sweet and tender.
One cup of cooked plain zucchini is good for your waist line. It contains only 25 calories, has over 2 grams of fiber and contains potassium and vitamin C.
Stuff ‘em. Slice zucchini in half and scoop out seeds. Brown lean hamburger or turkey and drain. Then mix your favorite seasoning and vegetables in with the meat. Fill zucchini boats and top with low-fat cheese. Bake on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 350° F.
Zesty Zucchini Stir-Fry. Cut zucchini length-wise into quarter-inch slices. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Place directly on a hot grill and cook until fork-tender. Add onions, mushrooms, peppers, and squash for a dish that’s not only tasty but visually pleasing.
The Veggie Omelet. Sauté zucchini (of course), onions, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and all of your favorite vegetables in a pan. Add eggs or egg whites and a small amount (1/4 cup) of reduced-fat or low-fat cheese then lightly brown each side.
Nutrition-Packed Casseroles. Add zucchini to any casserole or lasagna. It’s an easy way to pump up the vegetables and pack in the nutrition.
Sauce … with Substance. Add puréed zucchini to 3/4 of a jar of pre-made spaghetti sauce. This will bulk up your sauce, add nutrients, and decrease the amount of sodium in the sauce while altering the taste very little!
Zucchini Burger. Grate zucchini and form into patties just as you would potato cakes. Use olive oil and lightly brown them on both sides.
Slice or Dice and Add to Pasta. Zucchini is a great match for pasta! Simply slice or dice, sauté with a little olive oil and garlic, then toss in with your favorite shape of cooked pasta.
Variety and Versatility. Zucchini works well as a side dish with most meats or can fill in for meat as a vegetarian- or vegan- friendly main dish.
Just Slice and Grill. Zucchini tastes great cooked on the grill! Cut thick slices so they won’t fall through the grill grates, lightly brush with olive oil, add a dash of salt then grill away!
Here’s a quick way I serve my freshly picked zucchini. It’s simple and delicious.
o 1 tablespoon olive oil
o 4 medium zucchini, sliced ¼-inch thick
o Pinch of salt and pepper
o ½ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add sliced zucchini and sauté, stirring every 2 minutes until tender and most slices are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover for 2 minutes until cheese is melted.
Nutrition Information per serving: 82 calories, 5 grams fat, 8 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, 204 mg sodium