The zucchini, or courgette, is a summer squash with a mild flavor that works well in both savory and sweet recipes. Today we're talking about all the benefits of zucchini, from nutrition to its popularity in baking.
While often thought of as a vegetable, the zucchini is technically a fruit. It's a variety of summer squash, harvested young while the skin and flesh are still soft.
Not to be confused with a cucumber (read my post on zucchini vs cucumber), zucchini has a mild, earthy flavor that blends well with sweet and savory dishes. While you can eat zucchini raw, it is usually cooked into soups, casseroles, and breads.
Since zucchini is very low in calories, it makes a popular addition to recipes like zucchini bread, because high calorie ingredients like egg and oil can be reduced slightly.
Potentially the biggest benefit of all - zucchini are generally very inexpensive. Whether at your local grocery store, farmer's market, or from a local backyard gardener, zucchini is a low-cost vegetable year round.
It grows quickly, taking only days for a single fruit to be ready for harvest. This is why many gardeners offer to give zucchini away for free - they are abundant in the summer months.
There are 17 calories in 100 grams of zucchini.
Zucchini is a great source of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
For more information: WebMD - Health Benefits of Zucchini
Zucchini uses in cooking
Because zucchini has a mild, "green" flavor, it blends well into a variety of meals and side dishes. Not only that, but it can help bulk up a meal with extra nutrition (without the added calories). This is a big reason for the rise in popularity of zucchini noodles, or "zoodles".
Dinner recipes made with zucchini
Cubed zucchini can be cooked into soups, stews, and casseroles. Or, make a batch of zucchini boats for dinner, like taco zucchini boats, as a lower carb alternative to your regular taco night.
- Slow cooker turkey vegetable chili
- Creamy chicken vegetable soup
- Chicken bacon ranch zucchini boats
- Cheesy beef zucchini casserole
Roasted zucchini side dishes
Sliced zucchini can also be roasted in the oven, either by itself or mixed with other veggies, for a quick, low calorie side dish for your next meal.
Zucchini uses in baking
Zucchini may be most popular for its uses in baking. Because of its mild flavor, zucchini pairs well with all sorts of flavors, like cinnamon, chocolate, and citrus.
Not only that, but shredded zucchini adds moisture, structure, and a little extra nutrition to your baked goods. The addition of zucchini allows you to reduce other (more caloric) ingredients slightly, like eggs and oil. It's just like adding banana or applesauce to a cake or bread recipe.
Zucchini bread recipes:
- Applesauce zucchini bread
- Snickerdoodle zucchini bread
- Pumpkin zucchini bread
- Cranberry orange zucchini bread
Other zucchini baking recipes:
- Zucchini spice cake with cream cheese frosting
- Zucchini chocolate chip cookies
- Chocolate zucchini snack cake
- MedicalNewsToday - Zucchini: benefits and how to prepare and enjoy it
- WebMD - Health Benefits of Zucchini
- King Arthur Flour - Baking with Zucchini