Patti’s Healthy Eating Tip: Zucchini

Zucchini

Zucchini is a summer squash in the  Cucurbitaceae  plant family, alongside melons, spaghetti squash, and cucumbers. Although zucchini is often considered a vegetable, it is botanically classified as a fruit. It occurs in several varieties, which range in color from deep yellow to dark green. Below is a favorite zucchini salad of mine. I made it this weekend as a side to our barbecue meal!

 

According to the USDA , 1 cup of cooked zucchini provides:
  • Calories: 17
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: less than 1 gram
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Vitamin A: 40% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Manganese: 16% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 14% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 13% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 10% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 9% of the RDI
  • Folate: 8% of the RDI
  • Copper: 8% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 7% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 7% of the RDI
  • Thiamine: 5% of the RDI
High in Antioxidants, contains soluble and insoluble fiber which contribute to better digestion, and high in water content. Zucchini is incredibly versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked.Healthline.com has a great list of ways to incorporate into your diet.
  • Add it raw to salads.
  • Stew it with other summer fruits and vegetables to make ratatouille.
  • Stuff with rice, lentils, or other vegetables, then bake it.
  • For a mild stir-fry, add olive oil and sauté it.
  • Boil it, then blend it into soups.
  • Serve it as a side, grilled or sautéed with a little garlic and oil.
  • Try it breaded and fried.
  • Spiralize it into spaghetti- or linguine-like noodles or slice it to replace lasagna sheets.
  • Bake it into breads, pancakes, muffins, or cakes.

Zucchini Salad

YIELD: Makes 6 servings
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 pounds medium zucchini, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Small wedge of Parmesan cheese
PREPARATION:
  • Whisk oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and crushed red pepper in small bowl to blend. Set dressing aside.
  • Using vegetable peeler or V-slicer and working from top to bottom of each zucchini, slice zucchini into ribbons (about 1/16 inch thick). Place ribbons in large bowl.
  • Add basil and nuts, then dressing; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Using vegetable peeler, shave strips from Parmesan wedge over salad.

 

About the Author

Patti Miller is a Registered Dietitian having completed her B.S. in Food, Nutrition and Dietetics as well as a dietetic internship. Patti’s professional background includes clinical nutrition support within hospitals and inpatient facilities as well as outpatient counseling and home care visits. Patti works as a consultant for BaySport providing one-on-one counseling. She has consulted with private fitness clients and provided nutritional assessments for a healthy, ready-to-cook meal preparation service.  She belongs to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and California Dietetics Association. Patti enjoys spending her free time with her husband and two sons and enjoys weight training, golf, games and travel.

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