Zucchini is a chameleon vegetable
Chameleon vegetable? Strange images may pop into your head but what I mean is that zucchini, or summer squash as it’s also known, is very versatile. It is very bland so it’s great to take on the flavor of any seasonings or sauces.
Picking and Preparing
Look for a firm, smooth-skinned cylinder, and check for mold if it is wrapped in plastic. Beware that there are genetically modified zucchinis, so make sure to shop for organic if you want to avoid GMOs.
Zucchini can be eaten raw, sauteed, stewed, or steamed. Don’t boil it as it will turn to mush. It can also be used as a way to add fiber and moisture to baked goods. Who doesn’t love a good zucchini bread or muffin! Zucchini cooks quickly and has a high water content, so some people prefer to sprinkle the shreds, slices or cubes with salt and let the water seep out and wring it with a towel before sauteeing, stewing, or steaming.
Recently it’s gained popularity among Paleo dieters as a low-carb grain-free replacement for noodles or pasta. If you don’t have a fancy vegetable spiralizer, you can just use a vegetable peeler to make thin strips then slice those strips as you like or leave them wide.
What can I say about taste? It takes on more flavor when it’s sauteed – a buttery flavor I’d say. But if you shred and eat it raw, it will go well with almost any salad dressing, or just salt, pepper, and lemon or lime juice, or my favorite, with a homemade dairy-free pesto!
One popular health benefit nowadays with obesity being a huge problem is that it is so low in calories and together with its versatility and mildness makes it a great stand-in for pasta as mentioned above or as a great way to get more fiber and less empty carbs.
Nutrition-wise, it’s high in vitamin C and pectin, which has been shown to benefit the arteries thus anyone concerned about cardiovascular health can feel good about eating it! Plus it’s a good source of potassium, and it’s high water content and natural electrolytes help regulate bowel movements. Other nutrients provided in decent amounts are B2, B6, and folate. B vitamins are essential for numerous metabolic processes and are important for hormonal health.
One of my favorite ways to eat zucchini and also one of the simplest is fritters. Simply shred some zucchini, either by hand or in a food processor, season it with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and mix it with a scrambled egg or two, then pour into a hot skillet coated with a tsp or Tbsp of coconut oil or rendered solid grass-fed or pastured animal fat (beef, duck, lard, etc). Give it a minute or two to get golden brown then flip for another minute or two or until there’s no more liquid egg seeping through the surface when pressed gently with a spatula. You can serve with guacamole, salsa, or pesto, or as is!
Here is my recipe for the other super-vegetable, Daikon. Enjoy!