Zucchini, also known as a courgette, is a type of summer squash. Green or yellow in color, and shaped like a cucumber, this nutritious vegetable provides vitamin A, folate, potassium and manganese, plus antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Like all vegetables, they have plenty of fiber.
Choose smooth, firm zucchini, and if you’re growing them yourself, don’t let them grow too large, as they become fibrous. You can store them in the refrigerator for several days, but use them before they start to soften and the skins become pitted.
Most famous, perhaps, in the classic French recipe, Ratatouille, zucchini are extremely versatile. They can be consumed raw, as sticks for dipping in hummus or salsa for example, or they can be sliced thickly for veggie kebabs or stews, sliced thinly and lightly fried with herbs, cubed and included in a stir-fry or even split in half, stuffed and baked in the oven. Adding them to muffins or baking zucchini bread is a great way to get young children to eat some vegetables unknowingly!
The following two recipes are reprinted from www.nutritionmd.org with permission
Zucchini Corn Fritters
Makes 16 fritters
Serve these golden fritters with Chili Beans or with Ratatouille.
1 1/3 cups fortified soy- or rice milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium zucchini
1 cup fresh, frozen, or canned corn
1 vegetable oil spray
Combine non-dairy milk and vinegar. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Chop or grate zucchini (you should have about 1 cup), then add to cornmeal mixture. Add non-dairy milk mixture and corn. Stir to mix.
Lightly spray a non-stick griddle or skillet with vegetable oil and heat until a drop of water dances on the surface. Pour on small amounts of batter and cook until edges are dry, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn with a spatula and cook second side until golden brown, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.
Makes 10 1-cup servings
Ratatouille is a perfect dish for late summer and early autumn when tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are at their peak. Serve with bread or pasta and a crisp green salad.
1/2 cup water
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large eggplant, diced
1 – 2 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 medium zucchini, sliced
Heat the water in a large pot and add onions and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
Stir in eggplant, tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Cover and simmer, stirring frequently, until eggplant is just tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes.
Stir in bell pepper and zucchini. Cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
The following recipe is from The Veg-Feasting Cookbook, by Vegetarians of Washington.
Tacos de Chayote
Epazote is a pungent herb, available dried in Latin markets. It’s often added to bean dishes as much for its carminative (gas-reducing) properties as for its unique flavor. Chayote (pronounced chi-OH-tay) is a mild, pale green squash about the size of a pear.
12 small corn tortillas
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried epazote
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 medium zucchini, cubed
3 chayotes, seeded and cubed
½ cup raisins
Minced fresh cilantro
Heat the tortillas on a hot griddle to soften them, then wrap them in foil to keep warm and set them aside. In a medium bowl, combine the onion, garlic, epazote, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the tomatoes, and set aside. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the zucchini, chayotes and raisins. Sauté until the squash is just crisp-tender. Add the tomato mixture and sauté until heated through, being careful not to overcook the squash. It should have a slight crunch. Spoon the filling onto the warmed tortillas and sprinkle with the cilantro.