Zucchini, also known as courgette, is a summer squash that belongs in the Cucurbitaceae plant family, together with melons, cucumbers, and spaghetti squash. Zucchini is often considered to be a vegetable, however, botanically it is classified as a fruit. However, since zucchini contains quite a lot of health benefits, people have decided to include this squash in their meals – that’s why there are so many different ways on how to cook zucchini.
As previously mentioned, zucchini has a variety of benefits. It is rich in antioxidants – these are beneficial since they help in protecting the body from damage by free radicals. Also, carotenoids such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, are present in zucchini – these can be beneficial for the eyes, skin, and heart. Research has suggested that the skin of the plant contains the most antioxidants, more specifically the yellow zucchinis might contain more of them than the light green ones.
Some of the health benefits of zucchini include:
- Helps with digestion
- Lowers blood sugar levels
- Supports heart health
- Helps with eye health
- Helps with weight loss
- Promotes hair growth
- Improves thyroid and adrenal functions
- Hydrates the skin
- Helps in strengthening bones and teeth
How To Cook Zucchini – Zucchini Recipes You Should Know
There are many ways one can include zucchini on their meals. See some of them below.
1. Sauteed Zucchini (on the stove)
What you need for this recipe, as listed on Taste Of Home, is:
- 2 medium zucchini (cut into 1/4-inch slices)
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Saute the zucchini: What you should do is add oil and butter into a skillet over medium heat. Pile in the zucchini and stir occasionally until the veggies turn tender.
Afterward add the seasonings, the minced garlic, and pepper. Stir again for another minute and then remove from the heat. And now it’s ready to be served! Enjoy.
2. Cooked Zucchini (in the oven)
What you will need for this recipe is:
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano, salt, and pepper
- Parmesan cheese
What you should do is coat the zucchini in melted butter in a medium-sized bowl. Add the oregano, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat.
Afterward, arrange the zucchini on a greased baking sheet, meaning arrange a layer of zucchini rounds. Sprinkle them with parmesan cheese, you can add as much as you like.
Bake in 350°, uncovered, for about 35 to 40 minutes. When the dish is done the zucchini will turn golden brown. And if you want roasted zucchini, turn the oven to 425°.
3. Easy Roasted Zucchini
What you’re going to need for this recipe by Eating Well, is:
- 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
What you should do is preheat the oven to 500°F. Afterwards, cut the zucchini lengthwise into 1-inch pieces. Toss it with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Put the pieces of zucchini single layered in a baking sheet or large pan. Roast them until they begin to turn brown, meaning 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the pieces of zucchini and proceed with the roasting until they turn tender, meaning about 7 to 9 more minutes.
4. Zucchini Noodles
What you’re going to need for zucchini noodles also known as zoodles is:
- 1/2 teaspoons of salt
What you should do to make zucchini noodles is use a spiral vegetable slicer or peeler in order to cut the zucchini into long thin strands, lengthwise. You should make sure to stop when you reach the seeds in the middle since the seeds will make the noodles fall apart.
Place the sliced zucchini ‘noodles’ in a colander and toss with 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Let them drain for about 20 to 30 minutes and then remove the excess water gently.
5. Apple Zucchini Bread
Apple and zucchini seem to be a good mix according to this recipe by Taste Of Home. What you’re going to need is:
- 4 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 large eggs
- 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of shredded peeled apples
- 1-1/2 cups of chopped pecans
What you should do is combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Beat eggs in another bowl, add oil, sugars, and vanilla. Put the dry ingredients and then mix well. Stir in the zucchini, apples, -and pecans. Spoon into three greased 8×4-in. loaf pans. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes at 350°. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack so they can cool completely.
6. Steamed Zucchini
There is also the opportunity of steaming zucchini so we get the best taste out of this summer squash!
What you should do is cut zucchini into 1/2-inch-thick rings. Put them in a steamer basket along with a thinly sliced small onion. Put over 1 inch of water in a large pot set over high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until it turns tender.
Zucchini all the way! We hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we did!
You might also be interested in: Papaya – Health Benefits And How To Include It In Your Recipes.