Did you know that one of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet is also one of the tastiest? That’s right, squash! Or “zucchini” as we call them here in the States. Not only do they make a great addition to our dinner table or a fantastic side salad, but they are also one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet too.
If you’ve ever eaten a sweet vegetable such as squash, you know it’s something that’s not exactly “mainstream”. Well, now it makes sense. This is probably why so many people plant that zucchini in their gardens. Other reasons to love zucchini — They have much more water content than other vegetables and can be eaten either savory or sweet.
They have a very sweet, subtle flavor, unlike other vegetables like cauliflower, which can be quite strong. This is why many people choose squash or zucchini over cauliflower or broccoli for a healthy vegetable recipe. Another reason to love zucchini is that they are low in calories and high in nutrients. Low in calories because they have a very low water content, high in nutrients because they are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, have good fiber content and are a source of iron.
So how do you cook with zucchini? You can use them to make a delicious main dish or make a delicious dessert with a bit of sweet peppers, cheese, or cheese blended into the sauce. You can puree the zucchini with cream cheese and basil olive oil sauce for a delicious and easy-to-make pasta sauce. You could also puree the zucchini and a cherry tomato and then add chopped fresh basil leaves to it for a delicious and easy-to-make strawberry-rhubarb soup.
You can make a tasty vegetable soup by pureeing one small zuke, chopped onion, 2 cloves of garlic, a few pinches of sea salt, and a small can or bottle of tomato paste. Then slowly boil the ingredients over medium heat until the onions are soft. You can serve this soup with crackers for an easy pick me up.
Another excellent way to enjoy zucchini is to puree the squash, add some chopped basil, some sea salt, and either grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Then, heat up a delicious marinara sauce and top with shredded Italian bread crumbs. For a spicy take on the classic tomato soup, you can add chopped tomatoes, chopped red pepper, and either chopped garlic clove sea salt, or some ground pepper. If you like creamy pasta, you can puree the zuke, add some milk, and let the noodles cook while you sprinkle the milk over the top. If your noodles come to a boil, you can add chopped mushrooms, sea salt, or fresh pepper, and toss into the pot.
Another wonderful way to enjoy the goodness of zucchini is to use it in the making of a pizza sauce. You can combine zucchini with a red or green bell pepper, add a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, some oregano, and any other pepper of your choice. Spread the mixture onto the base of a perogy (made from whole wheat dough), and bake in the oven until the crust is golden brown and the toppings are bubbly. Now for the fun part! Throw in your vegetables, and scatter a bit of parmesan cheese over top to give it a nice velvety texture.
If you have some larger pieces of med zucchini that you would like to use, wrap them individually in aluminum foil and bake in the oven until the foil gets crispy. When you remove it from the oven, discard the parchment paper but leave the stems on the veggies. You can also roast cut-up zucchini that has been finely chopped and placed in a zip lock bag for an hour or two to prepare for adding to a new sauce. You can serve this as a pizza alternative with shredded mozzarella, or you can make a delicious soup by adding a sliced zucchini to a pot of water with a couple of onions, a few bay leaves, and some fresh bouillon, a few drops of Rosemary, and a few bay leaf.