Serving Up Zucchini

Zucchini, also known as courgetti, is a summer squash. There are several varieties available, ranging in color from dark green to deep yellow. Zucchini is about 95% water per volume which contributes to its low-calorie count. One cup of cooked zucchini has just about 20 calories. Zucchini provides a variety of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds.

Every part of the summer squash is edible, even the zucchini blossom. Zucchini does not need to be peeled and the seeds are fine to eat. Both the skin and the seeds contribute to the nutrition profile of the vegetable.

Zucchini can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Zucchini can be sliced, diced, spiralized, or shredded. It can be grilled, stir fried, air fried, roasted or baked. The options are endless. Delicious and versatile, why not incorporate zucchini into your daily menu?

Grill: To cook zucchini on the grill, slice the squash into ½-inch-thick pieces. Place zucchini in a bowl, add a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning. Place the zucchini on a grill pan or wrap in aluminum foil. Grill zucchini over medium-low heat for three to four minutes per side. Or, try this Grilled Vegetable recipe complete with a delicious garlic balsamic dressing. This low-calorie side dish complements any meat, fish, or poultry dish.

Make Zoodles: Use a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler to slice zucchini into thin, zucchini noodles. Enjoy zoodles in a cold salad or heat up in a pan with olive oil and use as a pasta substitute. This Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Avocado Pesto recipe is a home run in both health and flavor. Make it super easy and purchase spiralized zucchini in the produce department at McCaffrey’s Food Market.

Make a Salad: Zucchini is a great addition or a healthy base for any vegetable, pasta, or grain salad. Slice zucchini in half-moons, chop, quarter, julienne, grate or spiralize. This Squash and Tomato Salad is an easy side dish recipe that is both light and refreshing, perfect for a summer meal.

Include in a Kabob:  Serve these tangy Sweet and Sour Chicken Kebabs at your next cookout. Marinate the kebabs in the delicious sweet-and-sour marinade the night before so they will be ready to go when the grill is fired up.

Create a Soup: This light Cold Zucchini Soup can be made up to three days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. For a vegetarian option, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Make Zucchini Chips: Slice 3 small zucchini and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, stir to coat. Add ½ cup breadcrumbs to zucchini and gently toss. Put zucchini coins on a cooking sheet and sprinkle 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano over zucchini. Cook in oven preheated to 350°F for about 15 minutes, until zucchini is tender and cheese is browned. These chips will surely become a staple in your house this summer!

Shred: Use shredded zucchini in baked goods: Zucchini bread, muffins, and snack cakes are delicious. This squash adds subtle flavor, a punch of nutrition and delectable moisture to the baked goods. These Chocolate Zucchini Muffins are a wonderful on-the-go breakfast or snack. Make a double batch and individually wrap and freeze them for up to three weeks.

Stuff It: Slice zucchini in half and scoop out seeds. Brown lean hamburger or ground turkey and drain. Mix in your favorite seasonings and vegetables in with the meat. Or, use beans to make a vegetable based option. Fill zucchini boats and top with low-fat cheese. Bake on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 350°F. Or, if looking for a speedy low-carb meal option try this Mediterranean Chicken and Zucchini recipe. If pinched for time, use rotisserie chicken for a quick prep.

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