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How to use zucchini and summer squash in so many ways

It may not seem like zucchini is anything but exciting. But its strength is a chameleon-like ability to blend seamlessly into many dishes. There is so much more to zucchini and the whole summer squash family than baking endless loaves of bread and zucchini muffins.

Zucchini and the like are the little black dresses – make those little green dresses – summer vegetables. You can show off the squash as the star of the meal or hide it in a stew or cake. It’s as easy to eat and love as it is to grow.

“Like most vegetables, zucchini are low in carbohydrates and cholesterol and low in total and saturated fat,” she added in an email. “Plus, zucchini contains carotenoids like lutein, which help support skin health by providing a level of sun protection (but still wear your sunscreen).”

Whether you eat zucchini sticks, scalloped patties, or twisty crooknecks, all varieties of summer squash have similar nutritional value. However, Dudash notes that yellow squash has a lot more seeds than zucchini, which gives it a slightly higher fiber content.

Yes you can eat it raw

Sliced ​​squash salads are perhaps the easiest way to enjoy this vegetable in all its forms. Use a mandolin or a hand vegetable cutter to make thin slices of zucchini or other squash, then garnish them with dressing.

Health-conscious eaters may want to skip the bandage, but Dudash recommends adding it. “Try to pair fat with your zucchini, as it helps stimulate the absorption of fat soluble nutrients, including lutein,” she said. “Drizzle with olive oil, pair it with Parmesan, and so on.”

How to use zucchini and summer squash in so many ways
Zucchini carpaccio is one way to do it. This vegetarian riff of the traditional Italian beef carpaccio is often garnished with olive oil, parmesan shavings and herbs like mint, parsley or basil. However, the sky is the limit when it comes to toppings, and you can make this dish completely vegan or as a base for a full vegetable salad.

There is also a slight vitamin benefit to eating raw zucchini. “When you cook zucchini, they release a lot of water, which reduces the water content of the vegetable. Water soluble nutrients, like vitamins B and C, will be higher in raw zucchini because they escape the released water. Dudash said.

Eat it cooked

How to use zucchini and summer squash in so many ways
Donuts are a proven way to get even the most difficult-to-eat veggies – after all, who can argue with a crispy bite? These seared zucchini fritters can be adjusted to include other grated veggies, like sweet potatoes or winter squash, and don’t need a lot of oil to get the job done.
Stuffed zucchini boats are another easily adaptable dish that can adapt to the cuisine of any culture. Dudash takes inspiration from his Lebanese grandmother’s traditional stuffed koosa recipe by using a mixture of ground beef, quinoa and dill, and simmering or cooking them in a tomato sauce. They can also be made taco style to replace your regular tortillas for Taco Tuesday.

Sipping zoodles

How to use zucchini and summer squash in so many ways

Cooks in a hurry can always buy fresh or frozen packaged zoodles at the store, but with so many fresh in season zucchini, why not try making your own?

Inexpensive vegetable noodle gadgets are widely available online and in household goods stores, but you can also use a versatile julienne slicer to make thin strands of zucchini noodles that melt in cooked sauces and casseroles. in the oven.

Use your fresh squash ribbons in zucchini alfredo, a lighter version of Italian cheesy comfort food, or mixed with marinara and meatballs. Or use zoodles as a replacement for ramen noodles in coconut curry soup or a vegan version of cold peanut noodles.
How to use zucchini and summer squash in so many ways

You can also freeze your homemade zoodles to serve after the squash is out of season. Spiral the zucchini, then gently squeeze them and blot any excess moisture with a non-sponge kitchen towel.

Freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag and store for up to three months. Drop the frozen zoodles directly into boiling water or thaw them in your refrigerator bag before using them, draining any extra liquid that may come out of the zoodles when thawed.

Make it into candy

How to use zucchini and summer squash in so many ways

With its neutral flavor, zucchini has long been the vegetable of choice for parents trying to add a little more vitamins to their family’s desserts. Whether mixed with nuts and spices, chocolate or citrus, summer squash can adapt to any sweet costume.

How to use zucchini and summer squash in so many ways
Zucchini brownies are a standard for sneaky old vegetables, as the rich, chewy texture makes a perfect foil for squash. To make it even more foolproof, puree zucchini, as recommended in this recipe, instead of grating them.
For those times when you don’t mind letting others know you’re cooking with zucchini, a classic quick bread or cake is the way to go. The crunchy lemon frosting on this Zucchini Bundt Cake turns it from an everyday snack to something you’d be proud to serve at a party. For a spicy take on the classic zucchini bread, a zucchini, cardamom and pistachio bread will make every lunchtime coffee break feel like a vacation.
Finally, why not have zucchini for breakfast? Zucchini bread-inspired baked oatmeal is a weekend brunch that could easily help you get through most of your day.

Casey barber is a food writer, illustrator and photographer; the author of “Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” and “Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Branded Treats”; and editor of the site Good. Food. Stories.


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