Gardens are bursting with zucchini towards the end of summer, and it’s always fun to find new ways to use it up in delicious zucchini recipes.
Sadly, zucchini isn’t a top superfood, it’s relatively low in vitamins and minerals — however, it does happen to be low in calories and high in water content which makes it a great vegetable for weight loss. If you’re looking to trim fat and sugar from your favorite comfort food meals, adding zucchini is the ideal way to increase portion size without doubling or tripling calories.
Here are 20 versatile ways to enjoy juicy zucchini, so take advantage of your garden bounty or visit your local farmer’s market.
1. “Faux” Cucumber Salad. Love cool cucumber salad? This recipe mimics that cucumber just by shaving the zucchini into thin strips. Using a sharp potato peeler, remove the zucchini skin and discard or use for compost. Continue to “peel” thin strips of zucchini and add it to a large bowl. Toss with the juice of 1 lemon, along with a handful of chopped dill or basil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss well. Refrigerate and serve after the salad is chilled, about 1 hour.
2. Spicy Zucchini and Beans. Take 1 link of dried chorizo. Chop it and add it to a small sauce pan. Place over low heat and cook 1 to 2 minutes until the chorizo starts to crisp and release its fat. Add 1 medium zucchini (thinly sliced or cubed). Cook 1 to 2 minutes until the zucchini softens. Add 2 cups (drained) black beans or chickpeas. Top with a spritz of fresh lime or fresh chopped cilantro.
3. Zucchini Kale Salad. Combing kale with zucchini adds 200% more nutrition to your dish, because kale is an uber-superfood. Take 1 10-ounce bunch of kale. Wash it well and roll in paper towel to dry. Thinly slice the kale and place in a large bowl along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add 1 thinly sliced or grated zucchini and toss well. Refrigerate overnight covered, then serve immediately. Top with toasted nuts or grated Parmesan.
4. Zucchini Pesto. Add zucchini to your favorite pesto recipe. Most pesto recipes call for 2 cups packed, fresh basil leaves. Sub in 1 cup of grated zucchini.
5. Want to make moister meatballs? Add 1 cup of freshly grated zucchini to 1 pound of ground sirloin or turkey.
6. Make a simple low-cal side dish — zucchini with sage.
7. Make zucchini noodles in place of white pasta. Grate zucchini with the shredder attachment on a Japanese Mandoline. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add zucchini and cook 1 minute until it begins to soften. Add 1/2 cup of your favorite marinara and toss well. Top with shaved Parmesan and serve immediately.
8. Serve homemade zucchini bread — the perfect hostess gift or cook-out dessert.
9. Cook up these easy, tasty zucchini fritters that you can also serve cold or room temperature.
10. Looking for a fun cocktail-friendly appetizer? Bake up these easy zucchini bites and serve with chilled Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Rosé.
11. Satisfy a sweet tooth with these double chocolate zucchini brownies that also make a lovely hostess gift or a welcome addition to your next cookout.
12. Make a mean lean burger with lean cuts of meat like ground chicken, turkey, and sirloin. Simply add grated zucchini to make it moister.
14. Craving rich tasting lasagna? Bake this low-carb treat that uses zucchini in place of noodles.
15. Zucchini Salad with lemon and ricotta makes a fast, no-cook side dish.
16. Puree 1 small zucchini with 1 ripe avocado and a tablespoon each of olive oil and red wine vinegar for a refreshing gazpacho. Add a pinch of salt or your favorite seasoning.
17. Cook sliced zucchini with onions and peppers. Use as filling for cheese or bean quesadillas or to top your sandwiches instead of mayo.
18. Add zucchini to this easy stir-fry. Zucchini cooks quickly, so add it during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
19. Top a frozen pizza with thinly sliced zucchini and bake away! Or make your own homemade pizza to top with thinly sliced, garden-fresh zucchini.
20. Make skinny breaded zucchini with easy marinara sauce.
- Add zucchini to increase portion size without doubling or tripling calories: http://bit.ly/16M0Ns3 — Click to tweet »
- 20 Delicious & Creative Ways to Use Zucchini: http://bit.ly/16M0Ns3 — Click to tweet »
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with these double chocolate #zucchini brownies: http://bit.ly/16M0Ns3 — Click to tweet »